Principia’s computer cience graduates have many opportunities for exciting, enjoyable, and well-paying jobs both after graduation and during internships. Most work openings are in the software and system design fields. Employers might be large, well-known corporations or small start-ups. Typical job titles are software developer, user help-desk technician, network administrator, database designer, software engineer, and system analyst. We advise our graduates to evaluate a job opportunity not only by how much they'll earn but also by how much they'll learn. In addition, some students choose to attend graduate school either immediately or later.
Here are a few computer science majors' comments on the value of their Principia degree:
James Aimonetti (C’04, computer science major)
The website for 2600Hz, the open-source communication software company where James Aimonetti works, describes him as their “senior software ninja,” though a more descriptive title might be “senior distributed systems engineer.”
The company writes communication-related software (think telephones, SMS, video conferencing, call centers, etc.) and manages a platform for running their services. The goal of the company is to make running a telephone company less expensive, easier to integrate into other software and services, and user-friendly for non-technical users.
“The foundation I gained as a Computer Science major at Principia College gave me a great understanding of the fundamentals and theory, and also how to learn more advanced concepts on my own. While we never covered VoIP (Voice over IP) or the attendant technologies involved specifically, my Principia education provided the framework from which to add those niche skills to my toolset,” says James.
James is one of the two primary architects behind the company’s flagship product, Kazoo (renamed recently from Whistle), which is the software that runs their hosted VoIP service.
“The desire to pick up Erlang and VoIP technologies and learn their inner workings was, in part, the continuation of what I received from my professors while at Prin. Professors Tom Fuller, Steve Shedd, and Ken Johnson covered a broad range of theory, as well as instructing students in technical writing, reading, and working with code, and how to work on a small team—these types of skills comprise at least 80% of a professional software developer’s day,” James says.
Steve Crump (C'06, computer science major, math minor)
Steve has built his career in the computer software development field on the foundation provided by his Principia College degree. “Every day I apply something I learned in my Principia computer science classes,” he shares. “I am constantly learning new computer languages, frameworks, and technologies on the job. The computer science professors and courses not only taught me programming fundamentals, but also how to feel comfortable learning new technologies, working on a team, communicating effectively, solving hard problems, and managing each phase of the software development lifecycle. I also appreciate the small class sizes and the individual attention professors give students at Prin. They foster a perfect learning environment and truly care about helping students succeed in the classroom and later in life.”
Steve keeps in touch with professors Ken Johnson, Steve Shedd, and Tom Fuller and says he appreciated how they helped prepare him for professional life. “Ken helped me with my resume and gave me tips during my job search. He even spoke with me for almost an hour on the phone before the interview with IBM and gave me the coaching and confidence I needed to get that first job,” Steve says.
After working for IBM, Steve now works for a small company that develops software for the Department of Defense in Washington, DC.
Katherine Farquhar (C’10, computer science major)
“Although I didn’t have any prior programming experience, Professor Ken Johnson convinced me to take an introductory computer science course during my first quarter at Principia. It turned out that I loved the creativity and problem solving that are an intrinsic part of programming! I had found my major.
One of the greatest things about Principia’s Computer Science Department is that the professors really care about helping you succeed—both in and out of the classroom. The courses are designed to teach not only specific technical skills but communication and a general knowledge of software engineering principles as well. Completing a very difficult senior-level class gave me the confidence to work through even the toughest problems.
It always amazes me how much I learned in four short years, not the least of which is ‘learning how to learn.’ The Academic and Career Advising office helped me find a great internship after my junior year with Market Leader, a company just outside of Seattle. After the summer, my boss praised my ability to learn! This internship eventually led to a permanent job offer after I graduated. I’m so grateful for the solid foundation my Principia coursework gave me, as well as the continued support I’ve received from my former professors.”
Ross Vincent (C’12, computer science major)
Ross particularly enjoyed both the Software Engineering and Database Management Systems courses at Principia, and he recently wrote to the computer science faculty, saying, “I’m proud to announce that I’m the new database administrator at Adventure Unlimited HQ in Denver. Thank you for all of your support during the four years I spent at Principia. Your instruction allowed me to take the position. The open team project at the end of Database Management Systems coupled with basic MySQL education throughout the semester prepared me for everything I do in Raiser’s Edge on a daily basis. Soon I hope to apply principles and conventions taught in the Software Engineering class to revamp our database, allowing it to run smoothly without loss of data for years to come.”
Paul Sanderude (C’12, computer science and business administration double major)
Paul interned at The Dow Chemical Company after his junior year at Principia. He brought so much to the internship that it led to a full-time job after graduation. He recently told us, “I just found out this morning my exact role at Dow, at least the team I will be on for my first year or two: I will be a member of the global SAP support and maintenance team. Looks like I'm not done with taking classes after all, since the company will be providing me with SAP training as soon as I start!”
Julianna Hensey (C’13 candidate, computer science major)
Julianna has developed excellent programming and teamwork skills during her first three years at Principia and excelled at her internship with a small Internet software company the summer before her senior year.
She recently wrote to us, “It is amazing to see how much of what I learned at Prin really is applicable to a career in software engineering. Working at Referly is something that I will never forget. The people are fun (there are only seven of us), the work is satisfying, and there is so much to learn. My superiors were surprised at my ability to learn and immediately implement three new programming languages in two weeks, a feat that I attribute to the strong foundation that you, the computer science faculty, have given me. Thank you for everything! I look forward to coming back for my final year and implementing the additional skills that I have learned this summer.”