Graduation and My Future
On April 25th, 2014, I graduated with a computer science degree from the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at Brigham Young University (BYU).
In June I will begin my employment at Epic Systems (medical software, not the Unreal Engine for games). Epic starts their employees on the first Monday of the month. I have chosen to start in June because I would like some time at home to relax before joining the working world.
Utah Valley, which is where BYU is located, is becoming a major tech startup region. Although there are a lot of jobs in the Utah Valley, I would prefer to live elsewhere. The mountains on the eastern side of the valley trap pollution and dust, and it is a desert so it is not all that green. My interests in distributed / large systems fit better with more established companies that reside elsewhere, so it’s time to move on!
Brigham Young University is a wonderful university with a serious CS program. The professors at BYU are effective teachers and are competitively paid. The staff at BYU are always happy to help students. Students are well-prepared to solve problems and interview successfully. Overall, I feel that the time I spent studying computer science at BYU was well invested.
BYU also provides a well-rounded education. Some colleges, like Neumont, focus solely on software development so that their students can graduate sooner. While in high school, I thought this option was quite appealing. However, I now feel that the general education requirements have given me a better appreciation of the world around me. For example, the most memorable classes had the following titles:
- History of Creativity from Pre-History to 1500 AD
- Technologies, religion, government
- Western Humanities from 1500 AD to Present
- Music, art, philosophy
- Human Geography
- Cultural, technological, disease, and language influences; population migration based on geographical features
- Introduction to Film
- Techniques applied in film from cinematography to set design, script writing, and so on.
Sure, there were other courses which didn’t make this list, but I’m pleased with my experiences in those courses as well. General education courses have improved my ability to appreciate and understand information outside of my specialty, and have prompted me to think about problems in more depth. I believe I would have missed important experiences without exposure to these courses.
Future in Wisconsin
In June I will start working for Epic Systems. As of now, I do not know which team I will join. In a few weeks I’ll talk with my recruiter about my interests and where I may fit best. After another week, my mentor will contact me and I will find out which team I will start off with.
Epic currently deals with VB6, C#, and a proprietary database language called caché. Epic creates software applications for ambulatory, inpatient, and outpatient electronic medical records, and other healthcare-related functions. As an entry-level new grad employee, I have only a vague idea of what I’ll be doing, but I’m looking forward to finding out more. I hope to learn the processes behind maintaining long lived software–a topic that is hard to teach in an academic context. Learning how software changes when business requirements change (and there is already significant investment in the software for something else) will also be really interesting.
Epic Systems is a growing company. They are actively hiring hundreds of developers at a time, building new (themed) offices on campus to accomodate the new employees, and filling the offices with plenty of amazing art.
Epic provides a happiness-centric environment for developers. Every developer gets their own office, or, due to space limitations, share an office with one other. Every developer needs a mental break when solving complex problems. By merely walking out of the office door, any developer is immediately exposed to an abundance of art–which can help expand the mindset that has lead to the developer’s mental block.
Life in Wisconsin
Wisconsin is going to be cold. BYU was cold too; however, Wisconsin has a longer winter season and a greater range of temperatures. I’ve heard that they keep the roads clear of snow, so I shouldn’t have to worry too much about snow-related traffic problems.
One quality that Wisconsin has though, which I’m really looking forward to, is a lush green landscape–as well as the associated clean air. I do like some mild humidity, a green landscape, and clean air.
For now, Kentucky
Until I start in June, I’ll be here at my home in Kentucky. However, I’ll move in less than a month, so I need to decide on my living circumstances soon.
Now, not all of Kentucky looks like the above, but it represents what I feel comfortable with.