Category Archives: Computer Science

Preparing for Summer Co-op

Weston Martin

Weston Martin,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 30 March 2014 – As summer gets closer and the semester comes to an end, the stress of finals and final projects builds up. At times it can seem overwhelming but by the grace of God I seem to be keeping my head above the immense pile of work I have. One of the things that helps keep me motivated is looking at the bigger picture. If I focus on the amount of work I have and the little time I have to do it I can become discouraged, but if I look past the terror of finals week I start to see the purpose behind my efforts I am much more relaxed and productive. For me, one of the lights at the end of the tunnel is my upcoming co-op.

A co-op is kind of like an internship that focuses more on hands-on experience and training in your field. They are typically longer than an internship and are always paid. This summer I have been blessed with the opportunity to co-op at a company called Ariel Corporation. Ariel is the world’s largest manufacturer of separable reciprocating gas compressors. Although gas compressors are mostly dealt with by mechanical engineers, the nice thing about a computer science degree is that you are needed anywhere and everywhere. Ariel has some web services that I will be working with and possibly other areas as well. I am not entirely sure what all I will be doing, but I know that whatever I end up doing I will gain a lot of great experience and have a lot of fun doing it. (Not to mention getting paid to do it too!)

Computer Science Career Preparation

Weston Martin

Weston Martin,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 24 February 2014 – One of the things I love about the computer science field is that the opportunities for careers seem almost endless. In recent years, the need for computer science majors has skyrocketed. This is very good news for anyone seeking a degree in CS (and many other engineering majors) because lots of need means lots of jobs.

Although it is very nice to not have to struggle with the thought of “am I even going to get a job after I graduate,” I still have the question of “how do I make sure I don’t hate my job?” Even if you love computer science you could potentially get a job you don’t like. If your interest is in developing new software then you don’t want to get stuck as a database administrator, and if your interest is in operating systems then you may not want to get stuck developing websites. So, how do you make sure you get the job you want?

The answer to that question is a two-part answer: you need to make yourself stand out and you need to pursue your interests. Luckily Ohio University and the Russ College are dedicated to partnering with students to help make these happen.

First, OU offers free (and paid) tutoring, and extra help sessions for difficult classes to make sure you have the resources to do well in your classes. This is crucial because one great way to make yourself stand out is to have a high GPA. However, although a good GPA is almost essential, what really makes you stand out from other students is experience. That means co-ops, internships, and/or undergraduate research.

Not only do these get you experience, they also help you pursue different interests without making long term commitments. This is where the Russ College offers a lot of assistance. They get companies to visit for career fairs specific to the college of engineering and they have staff members who are devoted to helping you get the co-op or internship that you desire. Then with your high GPA and your loads of experience, you will be a shoo-in for whatever job you desire.

Starting Spring Semester

Rachel Fryan

Rachel Fryan,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 14 January 2014 – This week marks the first week of our new semester. It is definitely a weird semester for me since most of my friends will be graduating. I am technically a senior, but I picked up another major the fall of my freshman year so I will be here an extra year.

As with many other college kids, I enjoy the first week of classes, due to the light work load that comes with it. As a freshman, you often go to your class, the teacher takes attendance, goes over the syllabus and you leave, but as an upperclassman, they typically get into material right away because there’s not a day to spare. I also like this week because I like a change of scenery with a completely different schedule.

I am excited for this semester to start. I am in some very interesting classes that will hopefully further round out my CS knowledge. Before we know it, summer will be here and no more school! Only 15 weeks to go!

Preparing for Finals Week

Rachel Fryan

Rachel Fryan,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 8 December 2013 – I can’t believe it’s finally here but another semester has flown by. Although it’s good news that the semester is done, and we will be on break soon, finals week is standing in our way. I have three in-class finals and two projects, so my schedule shouldn’t be too bad. However, I would rather do five projects and zero in-class exams, but that’s just my preference.

My favorite study spot during finals week is the ARC. The only problem is it is everyone else’s favorite as well. The key to getting a study room is getting there early, which few people are there to do.

One of my finals is for my CS capstone class and we actually built an app. How it worked was everyone received a real life client and they then built an application that would help them. My group built an app to teach kids to learn and practice fractions. We built it using Lua code, which is a cross-platform language, which means you can build it in both iOS and Android. Even though it took many late nights and all semester, I’m pretty happy with our outcome!

Options for Stress Relief

Weston Martin

Weston Martin,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 25 November 2013 – As a student in the Russ College of Engineering, it is important to find a way to blow off some steam and relieve stress. One way to do that is to get involved! Although engineering and technology majors require a lot of time and effort, there is still plenty of time to get involved in non-engineering related organizations on campus. This is great because even though I love computer science, all the work can be stressful if that’s all I’m doing. That’s why I chose to get involved!

One of the groups I am involved with on campus is a student Christian organization called Cru. Through Cru, I help lead a bible study on for guys living on West Green. They also have weekly meetings that are kind of like a church service geared towards college students. I love Cru because it allows me to meet other people who are outside of my major and who share in my faith. Getting involved with organizations like Cru or other non-engineering groups is great for engineering students because it gives us a chance to focus on something other than class.

Another way I relieve stress is by working out. Working out helps me take my mind off of schoolwork. Also, studies show that students who work out tend to do better in class. Lucky for me, Ping Center (the recreation center) is free for all students and comes complete with weight rooms, basketball courts, racquetball courts, an indoor track, cardio machines and even a rock climbing wall!

Sometimes Ping Center even holds triathlons or other organized competitions that students can sign up for. I have yet to participate in one but I hope to compete in a triathlon the next time they have one. If you’re like me and working out is one of the ways you relieve stress, I think you’ll find that OU has a lot to offer people who like to be active.