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10 Questions with a Computer Science Major: Mike Jasper

Meet Mike Jasper, a senior in the Computer Science department with one year left until graduation. He’s also a student worker here in the marketing department of Continuing Education, and an all-around computer wiz-kid. Mike is responsible for managing external websites and programming internal applications. I recently asked Mike some questions about his experience as a Computer Science student here at Weber State University.

  1. Why are you majoring in Computer Science?
    Computer programming is the one medium I know of that is a synthesis of both art and science. On an average day, I can work with color theory, mathematical algorithms for sorting, or end-user psychology.
  2. What is your greatest accomplishment so far as a Computer Science major?
    My greatest accomplishment so far is that I have stuck with it. There are many difficult classes, including higher level math, which have tempted me choose an easier path. However, I’m often enough reminded of my passion for programming and creating interesting solutions to problems and re-choose to keep going.
  3. Besides Continuing Education, are you currently making money elsewhere in the Computer Science field, even before graduating?
    Yes, I run a freelance website development business. Some of my clients are dentists, musicians, authors, and other local small business owners. Most students have careers in the industry before graduation.
  4. What are your career goals for the future?
    After completing my degree here are at Weber, I would like to further my education with a Master’s in CS. This will hopefully lead me to successful career in software engineering and project management.
  5. As a Computer Science major, what is your greatest strength?
    As a CS major, my greatest strength is my ability to think critically about a problem, and apply knowledge from many areas to create a solution. Both critical thinking skills and a continuing love of education are essential for a career in computer science.
  6. Have you been working on any interesting projects recently?
    Last semester I worked on an open source game engine. A game I created was featured on the website as an example.
  7. Are you a Mac or a PC?
    Most enterprise programming tools and environments run on Windows based PCs, and they are what I am used to. Oh, and, you know, they are cooler (As a side note, PC means any personal computer –  so Macs are PCs too. But I’m assuming you mean a Windows operating system)
  8. What makes the Computer Science department at Weber State University so great?
    Weber’s CS department does an excellent job of preparing its students for careers after graduation, while other universities in the state focus more on theoretical and academic applications. Most CS students are already employed while still in school because of the excellent education and professors at WSU.
  9. Do you have any good advice for someone considering Computer Science as a major?
    Learning to program will challenge your mind to think and operate in a way that it never has before. For some, this can be hard and downright frustrating. Just remember that as you stretch your mind, you are growing personally and enriching your capacity to learn in all other areas of your life. Like many of the sciences, CS can, at times, be monotonous and tedious work. However, seeing a functional and finished project will fill you with immense satisfaction and pride.
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Get To Know A Major: Computer Science

Computers are all the rage these days, aren’t they? You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t at least heard of Angry Birds, updated their Facebook status on a smart phone, or finished homework on a laptop computer down at the local coffee shop. So what better way to secure a solid career for yourself than to major in a field that won’t be going away any time soon?

According to Weber State University’s Computer Science website, “In 2010, the Wall Street Journal had computer-related careers occupying two of the top three positions in best jobs in America in terms of current demand, stress level and salary. Salaries are consistently in the top-10 ranges with ComputerWorld reporting 2010 base salaries at, for example, over $71,000 for programmer/analyst and over $88,000 for Software Engineer. Computer software engineers are among the occupations projected to grow the fastest and add the most new jobs over the 2008–18 decade, resulting in excellent job prospects. according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

A small disclaimer for some: there is a certain amount of math involved. But it looks like there’s also some really cool classes. Check these out: Introduction to Interactive Entertainment, Mobile Development for the iPhone, Computer Graphics, and Game Development. Sounds pretty fun, right?

5 Clues You Might Be A Computer Science Major:

  1. You’d rather deal with a computer bug than a real bug.
  2. You’ve embraced your nerdiness, but insist it’s the “cool” kind of nerd.
  3. You already know that this sentence is a <li> within an <ol>.
  4. You’re more comfortable writing code than you are writing sentences.
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Degrees / Programs Available:

  • Bachelor of Science (BS)—choose from one of three emphases:
  1. Software Engineering Emphasis
  2. Network Security and Administration Emphasis
  3. Customized Emphasis
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Computer Science
  • Departmental Honors in Computer Science
  • Minor, Teaching Minor, or Bachelor of Integrated Studies (BIS) in Computer Science
  • Game Development Certificate

Career Opportunities:

From weber.edu/cs: “The computer industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, and currently the job outlook for our graduates is very high. In the spring of 2006, Money Magazine rated occupations across the nation based on job demand, salary and stress level and ‘Software Engineers’ rated as #1. A wonderful resource for learning the current job situation and salary information for any field is http://www.bls.gov/oco/.”

Advising / Contact:

If you are considering a degree in Computer Science, contact Richard Fry, the department advisor. You can self-schedule an appointment at http://WSUComputerScience.clickbook.net, or call 801-626-7929 to make an appointment.

For more information about the Computer Science department, visit weber.edu/cs.

(Don’t know binary code? Convert it here.)

Get To Know A Major: Physics

More than just the study of falling fruit.

When you see an apple falling from the tree, does it make you ponder the wonders of science or do you just feel guilty about not eating any fruit today? For Isaac Newton, it was definitely the former (he was renown for his fruit consumption).

The Physics department at Weber State University is a great place to learn exactly why the apple falls the way it does (hint: it starts with a G). You’ll also learn about astronomy, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, optics, and other brain-boggling fields. Then, in the end, you’ll learn that (SPOILER ALERT) all these seemingly disparate fields are closely related to each other! Wow!

Indoor star gazing.

The best part about the Physics department? They have their own planetarium! (The Ott Planetarium is where the astronomy classes are taught, but they also offer free star shows to the public and make it available for reservations. More about the planetarium here.) Best classroom ever? Yep. So if you’re curious about the physical world around you, get your celestial body into a class and open your mind up to some really nerdy stuff (in a cool way).

5 Clues You Might Be A Physics Major:

 

1)   Raising kids taught you that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
2)   You spend your days trying to conserve energy and power.
3)   You constantly refer to your car as an “object in motion.”
4)   You understand that string theory has nothing to do with clothes.
5)   To you, we are all nothing more than beautifully choreographed dances of electrons and protons, skirting our way through the universe on heavenly beds of mathematics, as surely as Europa orbits Jupiter and ?Fa,b = –?Fa,b .

Degrees / Programs Available:

Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts (BS or BA)

  • Physics
  • Applied Physics
  • Physics Teaching
  • Physical Science Composite Teaching

Minor

  • Physics
  • Physics Teaching

Career Opportunities:

Physics majors can be accepted into industrial and technological fields such as aerospace, electronics, and software design. Plus, starting salaries range from $40,000 to $65,000, depending on the position.

Advising / Contact:

 

1) For the Physics Major/Minor or the Applied Physics Major

  • Advisor:  Dr. Brad Carroll, department chair
  • Contact info:  Room SL 202C, phone (801) 626–7921, e–mail: bcarroll@weber.edu

2) For the Physics Teaching Major/Minor or the Physical Science Composite Teaching Major

  • Advisor:  Dr. Adam Johnston
  • Contact info:  Room SL 207, phone (801) 626–7711, e–mail: ajohnston@weber.edu

For more information, visit the Physics Department website.

Get To Know A Major: Visual Arts

You know, not all schoolwork involves crunching numbers and pouring through dense textbooks every night. It can be fun, too. In the Department of Visual Arts (DOVA), you are encouraged to express yourself and harness your own creative problem–solving abilities. While in the art department, you’ll experience painting (Picasso never worried about paint on his clothes, why should you?), photography, drawing (but if naked bodies freak you out, stay far away from Figure Drawing), graphic design, art history, ceramics and many other disciplines.

The Department of Visual Arts (DOVA) is housed in a new, state–of–the–art (pun fully intended!) facility, is ran by experienced professors (all of whom are practicing artists), and provides a great opportunity to work hard, get creative, and release some of that pent up energy and frustration (thanks boss!).

5 Clues You Might Be An Art Major:

1)   You are the foremost expert in macaroni art.
2)   Thanks to the kids, your fridge is now an art gallery, and you are its curator.
3)   You reward yourself by watching Bob Ross on TV during the day.
4)   You wish scrap–booking could be a career.
5)   You marvel at the inherit beauty of a perfectly engineered tower of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, and are moved as warm tap water slowly and elegantly cascades from the crowning Sippy cup, down and around the abundance of mucky utensils, and into the pedestal–like cereal bowl which, though still half–full, glistens a pale pink, colored by the presence of soggy marshmallows… or something like that.

Degrees / Programs Available:

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA):

  • Art Teaching—provides a depth of knowledge for prospective art teachers
  • 2D Media—for artists interested in painting, drawing, or printmaking
  • 3D Media—for artists interested in ceramics, sculpture, or small metals/jewelry
  • Photography—provides technical and artistic expertise in both digital and analog imaging
  • Visual Communication—for artists interested in the graphic design profession

Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts (BS or BA)

  • Art Teaching Composite (requires a teaching minor)—for prospective teachers who feel they might need a greater breadth (as opposed to depth) of knowledge
  • General Art—a generalized education that focuses on foundations and provides more breadth of knowledge

For more information about Visual Arts degrees, visit the DOVA website below.

Career Opportunities:

Depending on your chosen program, visual art majors can be employed as self–sustaining artists, professional photographers, graphic and web designers, arts administrators, teachers, and many more.

Advising / Contact:

For those students interested in studying in the Department of Visual Arts, consult with Outreach Coordinator/Advisor Lydia Gravis at lydiagravis@weber.edu or (801) 626–7689.

Dova.weber.edu
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