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Alumni Profile: Alexis Dupree (Class of 2014)

April 6th, 2016 by Amelia

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Alexis Dupree graduated from Plymouth State in 2014 with a B.S. in Information Technology. She now works as a Workplace Planning and Guidance Consultant at Fidelity Investments. Since graduating, she has received two financial licenses.

Can you tell us a bit about what your typical workweek is like in your current job?

I currently work a normal shift (8:30pm-5pm) Monday and Tuesday, but work Wednesday through Friday late at night (1:30pm-10pm). The need for this is to be able to reach clients at different times. I work in a mostly inbound call center role. I take phone calls from participants in 401K plans managed by Fidelity. I am a fully licensed and registered representative so I provide guidance based around investments, retirement planning, and saving.

Tell us about some cool projects you’ve worked on since graduating.

The main project I have worked on is getting myself licensed with my financial licenses. Since graduating I have spent about a year studying and testing for these licenses, not much time for anything else haha.

How did Plymouth State help prepare you for your job?

PSU gave me the well-rounded knowledge to be able to take on the real job force. While I did not end up in the IT world, the IT degree was so well versed and gave me knowledge in many aspects in technology that it would have been useful in any path I went down.

What are some of your favorite memories of your experience at Plymouth State?

Some of my favorite memories from PSU are simply spending those late nights in the small computer science lounge in the 3rd floor of Memorial Hall. We would order pizza, joke around, laugh, yet bust out our work at the same time. Made the daunting task of programming more fun.

What other things do you do for fun in your free time?

Now that I have some free time back into my life after studying and gaining my financial licenses, I like to explore events and things to do around the area. I have always been an avid camper and like spending time outdoors, so once the warm weather comes back around I see myself getting outdoors every weekend. Unfortunately I missed out on most of that this summer with my time being spent indoors in the books.

What advice would you give to current CS/IT students?

My advice is to not be too stressed about what you are going to do in the future. I am a prime example of someone who utilized my degree in IT to become something I found a passion in outside of PSU that I was never exposed to. The great thing about a degree being mainly based in technology is that I see it being useful anywhere right now. Don’t think all we learn in school is what we have to do when we are out. I am now starting to become successful in the Financial Industry and I would never have been able to do that without my degree and drive that I gained from my experience at PSU.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Even though I changed my projected career path and diverted away from my degree, I still, to this day would not change a thing about what I studied at PSU.

Alumni Profile: Ryley Ameden (Class of 2014)

February 18th, 2016 by Amelia

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Ryley Ameden graduated from Plymouth State in 2014 with a B.S. in Information Technology and a minor in Business Administration. He currently works as a Website Developer at First Tracks Marketing Group.

Tell us about some cool projects you’ve worked on since graduating.

Some of my favorite projects that I have worked are:

SAU 15 school district was looking for a better way to manage and administer the websites for their district. The previous website setup was a mashup of google websites and some very old and difficult to use legacy software that they had been using for many years. SAU 15 was looking to rebuild their sites to be easy to use and to improve the process of updating content and adding information, updates, notices and events to all of their district sites. SAU 15 also had the challenge of multiple groups of admins that would be managing their own school sites so the new system needed to make it easy to control user access to each of the sites as well as make it easy to update the site platforms.

This was our second WordPress Multisite for a school district. We also implemented a similar solution for the Milford School District (SAU 40) the year prior. The WordPress Multisite environment makes it a snap for the school admins to add and remove users with a variety of editing capacities. Plus the school admin users can actually create entire new websites with just a few simple clicks, and they have used this flexibility to create additional sites for board information tracking and a few other specialty areas. Eventually the plan is to use this flexibility to provide any teacher within the school their own personal WordPress website for their class if they would like it. Best of all the websites are all on one network so when system updates become available ALL sites are updated at the same time from one place, makes managing the security and reliability of all these sites a breeze.

There are lots of other cool sites that I gotten to build, some are:

How did Plymouth State help prepare you for your job?

Plymouth gave me the foundation I need to succeed. Not only with the knowledge I attained but also life experience. Everyone at Plymouth wanted to see me (any student) succeed and is willing to go to any length to do that. The connections, friends, internships and guidance was second to none.

What are some of your favorite memories of your experience at Plymouth State?

Probably one of my favorite memories from my time at Plymouth took place at about 1am, no not what you’re thinking. It was crunch time for my Database class my group and I were working on wrapping up the final changes to our Rate-A-Mate project. A couple other friends stopped by to see how things were going and one of them left the outside door propped open. Needless to say that was a bad idea, sometime after 9 the silent alarm gets turned on and if a door is left open well the police start running. So here we are, 5 “nerds”, sitting in a computer lab at 1am and in walk two armed police guards.

It took a little convincing that we weren’t there to steal anything and really were just pulling all nighter to finish everything up.

What other things do you do for fun in your free time?

I like to go hiking, biking, hanging out with friends and well play video games.

What advice would you give to current CS/IT students?

Don’t settle for a job/degree you are not passionate about. A lot of people are pushing college graduates to get a job and pay the bills and grow up. Really that is terrible advice. Take your time, find the job YOU want and make sure you will wake up every morning enjoying what you are doing.

Alumni Profile: Danielle Gannon (Class of 2013)

November 16th, 2015 by Amelia

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Danielle Gannon graduated from Plymouth State in 2013 with a B.S. in Computer Science and a minor in General Mathematics. She now works as a Software Engineer for the Advanced Development Department at EFI Vutek.

Can you tell us a bit about what your typical workweek is like in your current job?

I stroll into work around 8:30am – 9ish. I usually have a boat load of emails from the Software Quality Assurance group that work third shift and test our software. After coming to life, I start where I left off on my most recent projects. Typically I’m working on 2-3 projects back to back. I spend a lot of time on my computer using mostly Excel, MySQL, C++, and Python. My job requires a lot of hands on work, which I love. We have many laboratories where I get to run million dollar, school bus sized printers. There are times where I spend all day at my desk and other times that I spend all week operating a printer. I tend to have an average of 2-3 meetings a week, sometimes more or less depending on project deadlines and release dates. In my two years working here I have had many business trips including Cincinnati, Dallas, Orlando, Houston, Atlanta, Denver, and Brussels, Belgium!

Tell us about some cool projects you’ve worked on since graduating.

I have the privilege to work in the Advanced Development Department, so ALL of the projects are cool! What I have been working on most recently is writing software that aligns these inkjet printers. When printing with an inkjet printer you need to have everything aligned properly in order to have ink lay down on paper in the exact location. And I’m not talking just mechanically aligned, there are values in the database that affect ink droplet timing, carriage speed, etc. The software I write uses an onboard camera that takes pictures of where the ink droplets land, and finds the error between where it landed and where it should have landed. Everything else after that is magic.

How did Plymouth State help prepare you for your job?

Plymouth was able to provide me with a solid background of programming and computer theory. The key to scoring the job is a great cover letter and resume, which I learned a lot about in the Career Explorations course.

What are some of your favorite memories of your experience at Plymouth State?

I love the atmosphere. PSU is beautiful in the fall and makes the commute worth while. I personally enjoyed spring time when the snow cleared up and it was time to celebrate the annual Spring Fling concert. Okay… winter was awesome too because Cannon Mountain is right up the road!

What other things do you do for fun in your free time?

I love snowboarding in the winter and riding my dirtbike in the summer. Now that I travel a lot for work, I have a passion for exploring new places.

What advice would you give to current CS/IT students?

Don’t let school take over your life. Find time to breathe and enjoy other hobbies. Once you graduate and get a full time job, you might not have the time! Also, keep your chin up when it’s time to find a job. I applied to my job a week before Christmas and didn’t get hired until the following March! Graduate college, get a full time job, and I promise you’ll be happy with your choice of a CS/IT degree.

Alumni Profile: Cara Stoner (Class of 2013)

August 18th, 2015 by Christian

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Cara Stoner graduated from Plymouth State in 2013 with a B.S. in Information Technology and a minor in Business Administration. She is currently working at Pegasystems as an Associate Solutions Architect.

Can you tell us a bit about what your typical workweek is like in your current job?

I work on a scrum team of 6 people. In the morning, we have a team meeting to sync up on everyone’s status. The rest of the day, we work in an Agile method of programming, cycling through design, programming, and testing various stories.

Tell us about some cool projects you’ve worked on since graduating.

The project I’m working for with my current team is improving the Marketing Application licensed by Pega which involves working with 4 other teams.

How did Plymouth State help prepare you for your job?

Plymouth gave me a solid base of programming knowledge to build on.

What are some of your favorite memories of your experience at Plymouth State?

Most of my favorite memories at PSU involve the friends I met there, just hanging out. My favorite academic memory is preparing for and presenting my Senior Project.

What other things do you do for fun in your free time?

In my free time I like to cook, to play video games, and to spend time outdoors.

What advice would you give to current CS/IT students?

I highly recommend getting an internship. It will do leaps and bounds for your resume. Also, try not to box yourself into a specific programming language, i.e. “I only want a position where I can code Java”. Being open to other languages broadens your opportunities when you’re looking for a job.

Alumni Profile: Kris Reynolds (Class of 2012)

April 2nd, 2015 by Amelia

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Kris Reynolds graduated from Plymouth State in 2012 with a B.S. in Computer Science and a minor in Mathematics. He went on to earn a M.S. in Computer Science at University of Southern California in 2015. Kris currently works as a senior software engineer/software integration and test lead at BAE Systems.

Can you tell us a bit about what your typical workweek is like in your current job?

My primary role is the Software Integration and Test Lead (SWIT Lead) for an Navy Anti-Ship Missile program. Most days I work closely with the Systems Engineering team to identify and solve problems within the code base. These issues are not usually crashing problems, usually they are differences or incorrect results from the algorithms used within the system. As a result I spend quite a bit of time pouring over gigabytes of data with people from the Systems team to identify patterns and work as a group to determine the best (or most cost effective) way to resolve the issue. The resolution can be a code change, but it might just be an update to configuration files.

My secondary role is as a developer on the same program. As a developer I am given a short description of a new feature or known problem. I typically work alone to design, develop, test, and integrate the new changes into the system.

Tell us about some cool projects you’ve worked on since graduating.

I have worked on a few different projects since graduation. The first of which was an R&D project for missile warning and hostile fire (bullet) detection system for navy aircraft. I worked with the Systems team and another SW Engineer on the algorithms that detected anomalies in the environment and determined if they were an actual threat. If it was a threat we needed to determine what kind of weapon it was, and where it was coming from. It was all done in a RTOS at an extremely high frame rate, so I learned a lot about keeping code clean, simple, and most of all efficient.

The second project was for a map server that was to be used in the field on an Air Force aircraft. The map server used Google Earth to provide a 3D globe with our custom controls for identifying and monitoring communication systems. I worked on the whole cycle from requirements through test and sell-off to the customer. We used JSF and JavaScript to provide our custom front end on top of GE. The entire server was written in Java.

The third project is the anti-ship missile project that I mentioned above.

How did Plymouth State help prepare you for your job?

Plymouth prepared me in two important ways. The first is the core fundamentals that you need as a software engineer. This such as best practices, OOP fundamentals, architecture, and operating systems have all been key to my success. My knowledge I gained at PSU in these topics were not all-encompassing, they barely scratched the surface. However what they did hit was enough to give a strong foundation that any software engineer needs.

The second way is the problem solving skills I developed while at PSU. Like I said, what I learned in school was not enough alone. However I also learned how to collaborate with other to solve hard problems (Physics, Software Engineering, Algorithms courses), or gaining the confidence to tackle obscure algorithms (Thank you Dr. Shen), or to be challenged to go do the research yourself (Dr. Marshall) are all key components to being successful in the workforce.

What are some of your favorite memories of your experience at Plymouth State?

It was awesome to be so close to the professors. I remember many times just hanging out in Memorial way after we needed to be there just talking shop with Dr. Roberson. This also allowed for a lot of great class experiences with professors like Dr. Roberson and Dr. Marshall, who pushed us to reason our way to answers instead of just attacking us with a million slides. The PSU programming team was great. I got to travel for competitions against other schools, and made some good friends along the way.

What other things do you do for fun in your free time?

I am a huge car guy. I love to work on my car or with friends adding customization and go-fast-bits. Since graduation I have had a Mazdaspeed3, a Scion FR-S, a Mazdaspeed6, and my latest is a Kia Optima with over 300hp. I am currently saving up for a vintage VW Beetle project. Since cars are such an expensive hobby I can’t do that all the time :-P. So I also spend a lot of nights and weekends fishing the rivers and ponds of NH, and surf fishing on the coast.

What advice would you give to current CS/IT students?

You can pass all of your classes and graduate on time doing the bare minimum. Don’t. The professors at PSU are great and want to help you succeed. The harder you push yourself the more you will learn. The more you understand in your chosen field the more fun it is, and the easier it will be for you to find success.

When you are done school you will not find an employer that is happy with an 80% solution. Treat your programming assignments like they are for a job, as if someone else will be using, reading, and modifying your code. That will pay dividends when you go for an interview and they ask for samples of your work. Once you have a job your coworkers will be VERY happy to work with someone who can write clean logical code. From what I have seen there are very few people that come out of school with this ability and mindset. I know I needed some adjustments!

Anything else you’d like to share?

Work hard in school, but make sure you have some fun. Once you are graduated and working full time it is a lot harder to enjoy a good thirsty Thursday.

Alumni Profile: Andrew Garozzo (Class of 2011)

February 21st, 2015 by Amelia

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Andrew Garozzo graduated from Plymouth State in 2011 with a B.S. in Information Technology and a minor in Business. He currently works as a Software Developer at IBM, Datapower Gateway.

Can you tell us a bit about what your typical workweek is like in your current job?
I’m part of a 3 employee team that handles a variety of tasks day to day…

  • System maintenance and uptime for over 700 hardware/virtual servers
    • we ensure that all systems are kept up to date through routine security patches
    • we reduce system downtime with monitoring services
    • we build new systems as request by development team
    • handle live backups to maintain minimal downtime and minimal data loss
  • Release Engineering
    • we maintain and administer our shared source control system where all 170 developers are working all over the globe
    • We build our product (for both testing and production), and provide it to customers through IBM channels
  • Automated testing
    • Our team designed and developed our automated test environment that test the Datapower product around the clock. We design, develop and maintain this code/infrastructure to ensure that testing of our product is safe and efficient.

The above are the 3 major tasks, although our team handles many more task regularly.

Tell us about some cool projects you’ve worked on since graduating.

I’ve been very lucky that since graduation (and even before when I was an intern) I was able to work with the Datapower division. Many of the projects I detail below were projects I was passionate about and was the lead (or only) employee designing and implementing the solution. Being able to work on projects that I am very passionate about, and seeing the positive results from my work is extremely gratifying.

Within the company, we utilize mysql for data we store for months or years at a time. My first project I pushed for was centered around backups and data loss in the event of failure. The company did have backups running, but the solution was slow and only ran once a day (so we could lose up to 24 hours of data if there was a failure), and restoration could take up to 24 hours to restore all the data. So I began researching, designing, and implementing “replication”. This allowed for our critical data to be immediately (within a second if network was online) replicated from our master server to both another server in the same building, and another across the country. Two years after this was implemented, this saved us. We had our master server fail, and within 5 min I had manually switched over to the backup server we had on-site and had 0 data loss (and only 5 min of downtime).

Within our team, we have developed (and still continue to develop) a home grown automated test environment that tests our product for unforeseen code issues during the development lifecycle. So if a developer is submitting new changes to the product, our environment will run a set of tests against the version of code the developer just submitted to ensure that their change didn’t break any functionality that was working previously. As the years have passed, the number of tests that environment runs has grown over 200% (and continuing to grow), so that it can take a 16+ hours to run all of the tests needed to ensure that our product is bug free. So last year I started looking into code efficiency to see if there were any places we could make the code faster. Through the process, I was able to speed up the time it took to do a full run by 30% (so if it took 16 hours to do the run prior to my changes, it would only take 11.2 hours after my efficiency work).

Along the same lines as the automated test environment that I mentioned above, I was able to make the same efficiency improvements to our automated scheduler. For each of the above automated test runs, we have a scheduler that starts these test automatically 24/7 with no need to manually start the test, the service will do it automatically anytime of the day or night. The initial scheduler that was used prior to me joining the team was becoming more a more outdated as time went on, and not scalable for the size of the environment we were testing. So I re-wrote the scheduler from the ground up, designing it to be scalable as our environment grew. At the same time I was able to add features that we did not have in the old scheduler. This re-write made our scheduler run 80% faster.

Two years ago, we had around 130 servers used for this automated testing (this has grown since). Being able to handle what servers are running what automated tests was becoming a difficult and tedious task. So I designed and implemented a web organizational tool that worked in tandem with the above scheduler. With this tool, you could bunch a number of servers, and a number of test types into the same group. The allowed us to bring the time it took to schedule a new server to run a certain number of tests from a 15 min process to a 30 second process.

The last project I wanted to mention was one that I actually started as a intern and implemented while an intern. When I was an intern, the team was trying to start documenting details about each server in the lab (so we knew what services were running on each server quickly). I offered up an idea of designing a website (with a database back-end) that we could store all the data that we wanted to track. The coworker I was working with at the time had reservations about designing this system due to the fact that we had a lot of projects we were working on, and he didn’t think we didn’t have time to implement as I was going back to college in a month. So he said we should go a different route (which in my mind was harder to manage and more difficult to access the data we needed). So that night (after hours) I designed and implemented a concept version of the webpage I wanted to implement (which had 75% of the functionality we wanted). I showed my coworker the next day, and he was extremely impressed. He gave me full control to finish developing my service and implement it for everyone to use. A week later we started using the service. Five years later, we are still using the service I designed, and there have been minimal improvements to the initial design. This project is probably one that I am most proud of, not because it was hard, or really time consuming. But it really proved that I was a hard worker and knew what I was doing to my coworkers. I was told later after I was hired full time, that this project was one of the reasons they pursued me to join full-time when I graduated. They could see that I was extremely passionate about what I was doing to the point that I worked work project outside business hours just to show off a vision of what I wanted to do to make the business better.

How did Plymouth State help prepare you for your job?

I am grateful to Plymouth for many reasons. For one the classes give you a great foundation for your own future growth. In the CS/IT field, you are constantly learning as technologies change or you want to utilize a service that has been around for years that you just never used before. The courses give you a great cross between book learning and actual hands-on experience with technologies you will use later in your work life. I want to thank all the teachers whose courses I was able to attend for helping give me the knowledge to further myself and my career and life.

For me though, my biggest preparation for life outside of college was the many jobs I held within the school system. I am a very hands on learner, so being able to implement the things I was learning in class into a real world application was an extremely knowledgeable endeavor.

During orientation the summer before my freshman year, I met JoAnn Guilmett. After five minutes of us talking, she offered me a job with the IT helpdesk in the Lamson Library. This job was essential to my future growth in the IT field, as it provided me hands on experience with current technologies. I was able to further grow my communication skills everyday. I still use many of the skills I learned at the help desk everyday as I talk with IBM customers and fellow employees. JoAnn (and all the helpdesk managers I worked with), if you happen to read this, thank you for the opportunity to work with you and for what you were able to teach me.

Through the help desk, I met Colleen Kenny who was managing student workers that cleaned/setup and sold old computer hardware. She offered me a job working on the surplus team rebuilding and reconfiguring computers to sell to customers. This position offered me two opportunities. First, I was able to work hands on with computer hardware of all types. As a system administrator this knowledge has helped be tremendously in tricky hardware situations, and gave me the opportunity to really learn a lot about the pieces within a computer system and how they work together. Second, the office was located in the same hallway as the rest of the Plymouth IT department. This meant I got to talk to all the different departments on a regular basis and meet everyone from all the different teams. Colleen, if you happen to ready this, thank you for the opportunity you provided me working with you and the surplus department.

This surplus departments networking opportunity lead into my final position within Plymouth State as a student worker, the Infrastructure Network Team. Lindsey Coyle and Chris Drever were the two that I worked closely with. I assisted Chris in many of his day to day tasks, and soon started taking on some projects on my own. This position taught me to take initiative in your job, even if you don’t know the answer immediately to the problem. There were many tasks that I was able to accomplish on my own, some of which I didn’t know the answer to when starting. But with persistence and research, I could find the answer. From a technology perspective, knowing more about the technology behind infrastructure networks has helped tremendously with my position at IBM. Whereas today I don’t work within network infrastructures very much, the knowledge I gained from my position with the team provided me the ability to easily and effectively convey any issues to IBM’s networking team, and have the issue fixed quickly. Lindsey and Chris, if you happen to read this, thank you for everything you taught me and for allowing me to work beside you and learn as much as I could.

What are some of your favorite memories of your experience at Plymouth State?

From a class/school/job perspective all the teachers were extremely helpful, and knowledgeable in the information they were teaching. They helped when I needed it, and could always point out where I could find the answer. The jobs I held were extremely beneficial to my future growth, and all the people I worked with were always willing to help me grow.

Outside of school, things such as…
– Livermore falls
– Cannon/Tenney/etc… skiing every winter (I may have hiked Cannon Mt a couple times when the weather was so bad they closed the lifts)
– Capture the flag in the middle of campus
– Biking the jumps behind Langdon
– Skateboarding across campus
– trying to beat the help desk record on how fast I could get from Lamson to Hyde
– Buffalo chicken calzone (ok now I am getting hungry)
– Video Game LAN parties (I may have attended two (36 hour long) video game LANs in Mass while at PSU with a dozen of my friends who are also PSU Alumni)
– Meeting my future wife (we’ll be 4 years married in April)
– Red Sox winning the World Series
– Hiking the numerous trails all over the white mountains
– Programming competition, although I majored in IT (which doesn’t focus heavily on programming), I still placed 3rd the CS programming competition (I’ll be honest I was only there for the free pizza, but it was still a blast)

What other things do you do for fun in your free time?

I still do many of the activities in the above list, but more often, I think this is a given for most CS/IT students my age, but video games are a good way I pass the time (too much time sometimes). But that being said, I work indoors 99% of the time (and this time of year I get to the office, and the sun is just coming up, and I leave and the sun is already going down) so any chance that it is good weather outside, I’m headed out!

I’ve also dabbled in some programming outside of work (nothing displayed publicly). Most recent being I designed my own motion capture webcam using and old android phone and my PC (connected on the same network). Program was designed to capture a picture every time it detected movement (sensitivity was configurable). It was fun and kept me occupied for awhile.

What advice would you give to current CS/IT students?

Internships, internships, internships. Without my internship I wouldn’t be where I am today. I like to think of an internship as a test drive, you and your employer both are testing to see if you’d be a good fit within the department. You’re testing to see if you’d like the position, and like doing the work for the company. Your employer is looking to see how good of a worker you are, and if you can continue to bring value to the company. So treat your internship with as much attention and time as you can, as there is a good chance that if you work hard enough, that internship can turn into a career. And even if the company can’t hire you directly when you graduate, if your coworkers really like your work ethic, then they will reach out to people they know with their high recommendations for you, which will only increase your chances of finding a job post-graduation.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Simply enjoy being in college. Although classes can add a lot of stress (and be beneficial to your job growth), the things you do outside of class will be just as memorable, and can be some of the most fun memories you can have. Do what you love and you’ll never be unhappy.

Computer Architecture Students Demo Final Projects

December 10th, 2014 by Christian
Computer architecture students demo their final projects.

Computer architecture students demo their final projects.

This week computer science students met in the Systems Lab to demonstrate their final projects to department students and faculty. After working through a series of training labs on the Arduino developer boards, each student developed a proposal for their own unique final project idea. With the support of the department students acquired the needed components and set off developing their idea into a completed project.

This fall students developed a wide range of projects. For a closer look at some of the student projects, check out the gallery below.

Alumni Profile: Nick Ortakales (Class Of 2010)

November 16th, 2014 by Amelia

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Nick Ortakales graduated from Plymouth State in 2010 with a B.S. in Computer Science and a minor in Mathematics. He currently works at as a Software Development Engineer 2.

Can you tell us a bit about what your typical workweek is like in your current job?

A typical day at Amazon:
Get in the office at 10:00AM
Browse The Verge, Reddit, etc
Daily standup meeting at 11:30AM
Either go out for lunch, or bring lunch back to the office and play board games until 1:00PM
Work on sprint tasks from 1:00PM to 7:00PM
Half an hour of ping pong is thrown in there somewhere
Go home at 7:00PM

The juicy stuff is this though: In the 5-6 hours per day that I actually work on sprint tasks, I am doing any number of things that range from writing new features or bug fixes in Java for our back-end services, coding in Mason (it’s horrible and Amazon is getting rid of it) for our front-end pages, running database queries or looking at graphs and metrics to gather numbers, designing something (a new API or new web service) to solve a business need or planning for our next sprint. I’m sure I missed a lot here, there is actually a lot of variety in what I work on day to day. We also have a lot of happy hours (beer in the office!) and nerf gun wars.

Tell us about some cool projects you’ve worked on since graduating.

I’ve worked on so many cool things Amazon. I don’t think this is necessarily the coolest, but it certainly had a big impact and was very well received by other developers here. It was an internal tool that would parse the log files from the Seller Central website (the portal for 3rd party sellers to sell on and aggregate all of the page rendering failures by page and type. Before my tool was created, we would get reports that our page failed to render X number of times per day. My tool produced a report saying our page failed for X reason Y number of times per day (for example, service ABC throwing an exception would differentiate from service XYZ throwing an exception, etc), and scaled for every page and failure type. It was then very easy for us to prioritize fixing the bugs that were causing the most page load failures.

How did Plymouth State help prepare you for your job?

CS Fundamentals, Programming in Java, Data Structures and Algorithms, and Client/Server Programming were absolutely crucial. Those four classes alone taught me the necessary skills for my job. The class I wish I had paid more attention to was Software Engineering. Aside from specific classes, Plymouth just prepared me for life in general and set me up for success.

What are some of your favorite memories of your experience at Plymouth State?

Late nights in the “Lair” (senior computer lounge in Memorial) with good friends and plenty of soda to fuel our programming and crazy antics.

What other things do you do for fun in your free time?

Comic books, video games, movies, TV shows, board games, typical nerd stuff. I’m also part of a local MINI Cooper club which does events all throughout the year.

What advice would you give to current CS/IT students?

Be passionate about what you do. Take your assignments and make them fun. Make what interests you (I made video games every chance I got). Pay attention in those classes I mentioned earlier, they are super crucial. You may learn mostly Java, but the concepts apply to every language. Never stop learning.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Don’t be afraid to look far from home for awesome job opportunities. I was reluctant to move across the country (moving away from everything I know, friends, family, etc), but it turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made.

New Board Game Lunch Event Hosted Weekly in Department

October 13th, 2014 by Christian
Students playing board games

Kyle Burke and several students at his weekly board game lunch

As the Computer Science and Technology Department continues to develop new social events for students, this fall semester Kyle Burke began hosting a weekly Board Game Lunch upstairs in one of the department’s Systems Lab. Both students and department faculty were invited to come and participate.

Each week students play a variety of games including Booleo, Castle Panic, Blokus, Tsuro, Tetris Link, Hanabi, and many more. These games are based on different mathematical principles and concepts important to CS and IT students and also help to develop algorithmic-thinking skills. There are also many cooperative games designed to develop a sense of teamwork between the players. When asked why he liked running a weekly game lunch Kyle said “It’s great to be able to talk to my students and colleagues in a non-coursework setting. I also really like being able to discuss the strategies that go into these games.”

For more details about when and where to attend the weekly game lunch head over to Kyle’s Board Game Lunch page.

Computer Science and Technology Welcomes New Faculty Member Kyle Burke

September 5th, 2014 by Christian
Dr. Kyle G Burke

Assistant Professor Dr. Kyle G. Burke

This fall the Computer Science and Technology Department is pleased to welcome new Assistant Professor of Computer Science Dr. Kyle G. Burke. Kyle received his Ph.D. from Boston University and has also taught at Wittenberg University and Colby College. He specializes in theoretical computer science but is learning more about software design. He keeps a blog about combinatorial game theory. He loves teaching programming classes and playing board games. Each week, he runs a departmental game lunch.

Welcome to Plymouth State Kyle! What are you most excited about for the upcoming school year?

I’m definitely excited to meet a host of Plymouth students and see what sort of cool things they’re interested in. On top of that, I’m excited to teach Data Structures for the first time! I’ve got some neat ideas for that course.

What do you enjoy most and find most challenging about teaching?

It’s excellent to witness students “get it” and see them grasp the material and it’s importance. It’s even better when they get it so well they ask you a question that goes beyond the course material. It’s always worth it to find the answer to those questions if you don’t already know them! The most challenging thing is trying to fit everything in to a course. You want to describe material, go over good examples, discuss homework and projects, and still have time for exams. It’s tricky to choose what things don’t make the cut.

Tell us a little about your research interests.

I have lots of experience with abstract board games: trying to find winning strategies and determining when it’s computationally too hard to do so. More recently I’ve been interested in software design and applying good design principles to solve parallel programming problems. I’m very happy that both of these can find their way into undergraduate courses!

Contact Us

Computer Science & Technology Department

Memorial Hall 202
Department Chair:
Zhizhang Shen

Phone 603-535-2533
FAX 603-535-2282

Mailing Address
17 High Street
MSC 41
Plymouth, NH 03264

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