After being enrolled in OSU Computer Science classes for about a year and a half I decided it was time to apply for my first internship. Little did I know that the search for an internship would be a difficult process.
The first step in applying for an internship was preparing my application materials. Re-working my resume to highlight technical skills and experience was challenging, but being able to receive help from OSU resources made the process a lot less painful. In addition to the resume overhaul, it was necessary to create a portfolio to showcase my personal projects. It took a number of iterations to create a portfolio that I was proud of, but once those two critical pieces were in place I was ready to start sending out applications.
This was the part that I underestimated the most. My first internship required me to send out over one hundred and fifty applications. For the vast majority of these applications I received zero response. The companies that did respond usually followed a similar pattern: send an online coding assessment, have a followup interview, finish with a panel interview with the hiring team. My confidence was slowly fading away as my email inbox became flooded with rejections, however I finally had a breakthrough with an offer from a local semiconductor manufacturing company. I’ll never forget talking with the hiring manager, and how excited I was for the opportunity. It was this internship that ultimately opened doors to future positions.
Prior to studying computer science and searching for a career as a software engineer, I had a previous life in the environmental field. I’ve always felt a deep connection with nature. My passion for outdoor recreation grew into an interest in natural resource conservation, which ultimately blossomed into an academic pursuit in environmental science.
So why the abrupt change in career fields? Well, technology has always been a driving force in how I have collected/analyzed data within the environmental field. How we collected information related to endangered bird populations, mapped geographic changes over time, and helped stakeholders visualize where funds would be spent were all examples of how we leveraged technology as environmental scientists. It seemed clear that taking advantage of learning new technological skills would help advance my career and open doors moving forward.
I still remember the conversations I had with my mom and my girlfriend about making this career change. It’s fun to reminisce about how nervous I was about making the change, yet how supportive my friends and family were. Knowing what I know now about this journey I can honestly say that this was one of the best decisions I have ever had!
I started my journey into the world of Computer Science in 2018. Throughout this journey I have experienced many positive moments that I never thought I could have accomplished. Recently, the crux of this whole computer science adventure came to fruition when I started working as a Full Stack Software Engineer. To say that I was excited would be a massive understatement.
However, these accomplishments did not just happen overnight. Like many of my classmates, I spent countless nights staying up late to work on assignments, sacrificed weekends to make sure my personal portfolio was presentable, and practically ripped my hair out trying to debug programs. Throughout the endless struggles I learned an important lesson: There will always be new technologies to learn, so don’t stress too much. Just focus on the fundamentals and my hard work will pay off in the long run.