Projects, Focus, and the Future is Scary

University of Advancing Technology entrance

There are only four weeks until my fifth semester at UAT is complete. Five down, two to go and I will be graduating with a degree in Advancing Computer Science and a degree in Human-Computer Interaction. It's scary to think how fast I've gotten here and how close the end is. I've talked with a few of my friends and even teachers about what I should do next, and the Master's program for Computer Science might be my next journey. In high school I never would have imagined that I would graduate college - especially with good grades - and never, ever would I imagine I was in the position to consider a graduate program. It is really awesome, though, that I found a place like UAT to inspire me to care about learning and surrounding myself every day with computer science.

As students progress through their major, many find it important to have a focus within what they do. Artists find they want to focus in 2D or 3D, characters or assets, and other art styles that I can't even pretend to know of. Programmers have that same variety in the field. Languages, data structures, databases, and UI or back-end are all variations that programmers of different sorts have an affinity for and focus in. I have seen myself drawn to specific areas in computer science that, I feel, is the time to get serious about those areas now.


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I have seen myself drawn to three areas in computer science - Programming, Theory, and Design. Those themselves are extremely broad. For example, what kind of programming and what language? This question is easier than the others. I find myself really interested in C++, Wolfram, and Processing. I enjoy C++ for its power and theory. Wolfram, I believe, is going to take over with its "smart code" which allows people to program a map of California, recall all recordings of earthquakes from X to Y and graph that onto the map within just a few lines, for example. Processing is an "art" language that is a Javascript-like language to program some pretty novel and cool designs that are interactive.

Theory is probably my favorite aspect of computer science. It uses one of the most useful languages - human language - to explain, question, and hypothesize problems and solutions in processing. How should we approach this process? What is the best method for sorting this data? How do we prevent processes from locking or starving? Is this practical and efficient? There is never one answer, and there is definitely no one solution. Theory classes have given me such different tools to approaching how I think about something, and even solutions I didn't know existed. This topic gets me extremely excited.

Design in programming has also been a huge focus of mine. I didn't really care too much other than "I like the way this looks" or "I don't like the way this looks" up until last semester when I had the opportunity to be interviewed by the team at SourceLair for some changes they were going to be implementing into their IDE. Over Skype, I was instructed how to get to the preview of the new tools and then told not to touch a thing. From just the main page I was told to tell them everything I expected to be there, what was on the page I did not expect to be there, and things that were on the page I didn't know. After explaining, I told them what the next thing I would do as a user. My answer was "Create new project." Before being able to click that button I was asked "What do you expect the next page to be? What options do you expect to have there? ...and so on." This type of interview of some new features really opened my eyes to how programmers and designers have to think about when building for someone. I've never thought about this type of approach to design until I spoke with them. I also highly recommend their services as one of the best online IDEs with a linux terminal.

I have been working on a lot of projects over this semester, and they will be almost ready to talk about very soon. I hope to have those posted here next week! Most of them are short-term projects, but one night at 3am I had an idea that might have me in for the long haul.

Posted on Apr 1, 2017 1:38:46 PM by Gage Roland in Blogs

Gage Roland

Written by Gage Roland

Majoring in Computer Science and Human Computer Interaction. Originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


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