B.S. in Computer Science, 2012; Programmer
School of Education
April 1, 2013
“I have been programming since I was 10.”
I have been programming since I was 10, starting off with Visual Basic when I was in 4th grade. Later I moved on to C++, as well as some lesser-known game programming languages like 3D Rad and Dark BASIC. My dream was to create a videogame with my brother that would make us both millions so that we could skip school and presumably become Power Rangers. As it so happens, making a game takes more than two kids with a free summer.
As a result of my programming background, I wanted to attend a school with a strong computer science program. After several recommendations, I came to UC Irvine in 2008 as a Computer Science undergraduate. This was my first formal programming education experience – up until then, I had gotten all of my programming experience from online tutorials, the occasional skimmed book, code snippets, and messing around in the editor until the compiler finally gave up and compiled my code (it put up quite the fight). Learning at this school has been great, and I had the opportunity to learn standard programming techniques and algorithms for sorting and searching, data structures (the B+ tree is my favorite), and fun things like AI. It was during this time that I was hired by the then-Department of Education as a student programmer and technical support person, tasked with programming web-based portions of the teaching credential information system and the CASE afterschool information system.
Right now I am a programmer for the School of Education. It takes a lot of data and administrative work to manage a school, so I write tools that help with this task. These tools are often web-based applications, but can also be scripts that run behind the scenes to make data access and entry easier. These projects include applications that manage teaching events and credential programs, internal contracts and grant information, admissions information, student and teacher evaluations, afterschool program management, and other applications used by the school. I like to think that by saving the time that faculty and staff have to spend managing their data, in some small way I am helping the UC system, and therefore California, save money that can be used for other things it needs.
Not a day goes by without my programming something, whether it is for code, work, or fun. I am still pursuing videogames as a career opportunity although I have become flexible because I really enjoy all kinds of programming. I know that programming can be hard and not everyone sees it as clearly as some others, but I do really believe that people can learn it if they let themselves break it up into understandable pieces.
My short term plans are to continue working with the school to create tools and a robust and all-encompassing information system, but eventually I would like to work in a small game development studio that makes games that people can enjoy.