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The Beginning of the End

Me at a delicious food court in Charlotte, NC called Optimist Hall
Me at a delicious food court in Charlotte, NC called Optimist Hall

Today marks the beginning of my last semester here at Oregon State University. It’s definitely a feeling of mixed emotions. Everything really came and went so fast the past year and a half. This blog will focus on my random shower thoughts and more importantly, my capstone design project.

A little about me; I’m from Tallahassee, Florida and attended Purdue University. From there I graduated in December 2019 with a B.S. in civil engineering. I really enjoyed the challenge of Purdue, the concepts, theory, and research really interested me. The day to day life of a civil engineer however… not so much.

I knew, probably for a while, it wasn’t what I was truly passionate about. I decided to take some programming classes my senior year because I had a hunch I would like it, and of course I ended up loving it. I realized coding was something I could see myself doing for my career, and something I could see myself enjoying most importantly.

That’s what lead me to Oregon State. I was graduated, I had a big boy job and bills to pay in a new city. I needed a way to continue working, but also earn another degree. Oregon State was perfect for me in that regard. So I started here in May 2020.

Since then, everything came fast. I completed 2 quarters before landing an internship with Walmart Labs. I was also a TA for our data structures course. Last quarter, Fall of 2021, was possibly the most challenging yet. I was taking 2 hard courses, but also spent every other second preparing for interviews I had with companies like Facebook, Roblox, Google, and Microsoft.

Going into software engineering certainly can be a grind if you want it to be. It takes a lot out of you if you want to work for a top company. I chose to max myself out in that way. I wanted to, because one day I want to have a family and provide for them the best I can. I also know that once I am settled into a new role, I can take the foot off the gas a bit. Right now I’m fortunate to be in a spot to where I can push myself.

I’m taking 3 courses to finish as I have a offer in hand, meaning I must finish these to start. It will be a tough quarter, and honestly I would love to take one class at a time if I could, I really do think that’s the best way to soak the material.

I’m lucky to have found a group, and right now we have our sights set on developing a mobile app; preferably a game. I’m excited because this will allow me to learn new technologies, and end up with a pretty solid resume item.

As a software engineer, I definitely have a lot to learn and I think Capstone will be a great step forward for learning some cool new technologies.

Other than that, I am truly excited about what the future holds. I am very thankful that Oregon State exists, it really changed my life and allowed me to pursue my dreams. If this was just 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have this option. I will have more blogs to come, some focused on free thoughts, and others specifically for the Capstone project. Excited to share with whomever is reading!

New Tools

Hello again! It hasn’t been too long since I last posted. So far our project has been moving along nicely. We finalized our project plan, so we have a clear idea of what steps we we have to complete the project going forward. We ironed out some details like what exactly we specifically need to do in each phase of the project. As we go along I’m sure it will be even further refined.

We also are learning new tools like the Flutter SDK and Dart programming language. These are the main tools we will need to code the project. It is always fun to have the opportunity to learn new technologies, and that’s why I love this field. One day I would like to create an app on my own to generate some revenue if I can come up with a good idea. That’s the tricky part.

I also was lucky to be the best man at my friends wedding. He has been my best friend for a long time. I also forgot to mention, I had my birthday recently! I’m 25 now. Point being, it’s definitely a strange time in terms of relationships for my age group. Seeing some friends getting married, and having kids is so new, and still have my other friends who have no intention to get married or have kids anytime soon.

I’m somewhere in the middle. Of course transitioning careers leaves little time for dating, but I do like the idea of settling down in the next few years. I feel like I’ve just been going to so many places. I went to school in Indiana, had an internship in a different state every Summer. Studied abroad one semester, moved to Charlotte for my first job. Laid off 3 weeks in due to COVID. Moved back home to Florida, then moved back to Charlotte crazily enough for another job. Then once I fully committed to changing careers, my lease expired; I’m now in Florida again for a few months, before I finally choose somewhere to start again.

It’s really been a complete whirlwind in that regard, so I’m looking forward to actually having plans to stay in one place long term and meet some good friends. I’ve also officially wrapped up interview season. It’s truly been “the grind” preparing for them. Many, many hours spent doing leetcode and studying algorithms. In a sick way I’ve come to enjoy it in a sense, they can really act as a nice brain teaser.

Within the next 2-3 weeks I will officially know where I’m headed… it will either be the Bay Area, Salt Lake City, Seattle, or Portland. All really great options, and all very far from home. Being far from home has never been too much of a problem, but this is definitely the farthest I will have lived from Florida. I’m excited though! It’s always a new adventure and a fresh beginning. You can be whoever you want to be.

I also do want to emphasize my appreciation for this program. I’ve said it before, but say 10 years ago I wouldn’t have had these opportunities because online degrees weren’t really a thing. I wouldn’t be able to change careers, because going back in person and quitting my job wasn’t really an option. It was so hard studying and working, but it’s almost over and I’m thankful for the experience.

Making Progress

Hello again everyone, or rather, to the one TA who is forced to read my blog (Muahahah). Hope you have been doing well since the last one. Since the last update a few things have happened.

My group and I started to formulate our plan to attack the project. We decided we would definitely like to start coding earlier than required. We laid out our team requirements, and so now we have a solid foundation.

Our next meeting, which coincidentally is today, will be going over our UI preliminary design. I decided to take it upon myself to use this neat software called UXPin. It was a super cool way to do some sketches of what our app could look like.

Here is an example of what I came up with for the opening screen

Our app will be a scavenger hunt-esque app, which allows people to get out of the house and go on cool adventures. The hunts will be created by other users, so overall it should be a fun time.

As far as life goes, I did have the exciting news of receiving an offer from Qualtrics, with the location being in Provo, Utah, south of Salt Lake City. I am very happy with it! Next week I should hear back about whether I passed the hiring committee at Google, and I will be doing the final round interviews at Microsoft.

It’s crazy because as an outsider it may seem like I’m doing something special. But to be honest with you, I’ve just been fairly above average in my classes, nothing really that special about me. A lot of it is luck, but I also found you get more lucky when you work harder. There’s nothing that really separates me from other great students besides just preparing for interviews!

It’s an exciting time for me, I would be happy to go over my experiences to those who are interested when it’s all said and done. I’m just anxious to really find out where I will definitely end up, and just to get to that point. I love OSU, but also we have already done full degrees previously, so school has really mentally gone to the end for me. I’m ready to be an engineer. Oh also, it’s getting cold again.