My name is Justin Baumgartner and I am a rising senior at the University of South Carolina Honors College studying computer science. I am also a development intern for VC3, an IT company based in Columbia, SC that provides IT consulting and application development services.
When I first came to USC I had never programmed before and was studying pre-pharmacy. I only had a great admiration for technology and software. It wasn’t until my second semester of freshman year when, just for fun, I took my first computer science class and discovered my true calling. Everything about computer science was perfect: problem solving, a diverse job market, collaboration within teams, and working with technology. I quickly changed majors the following semester and never once looked back.
Classes alone were not enough to satisfy my interest in computer science, so I also got involved in undergraduate research within the computer science department. Working with Dr. Srihari Nelakuditi, I help develop innovative Android applications that we hope will change the way people interact with technology. I would highly recommend any student to become involved in research and to check out our (and my peers’) research.
Fast forward a couple of years and many more classes, I am now undergoing my first experience in the corporate world at Columbia’s own VC3. Partly from my experience with mobile applications, I was hired as an intern by VC3 to develop their mobile app for an upcoming product. This involves developing a product across all of the major platforms including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Windows 8. Because the mobile app is a new project, I have control over every aspect of the development process. From design to front-end to back-end, I have the opportunity to create the entire package. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the resources that have been provided to me at VC3. All of my co-workers are brilliant and, amazingly, even more generous. They have all guided me to become a better programmer, explained new concepts, and helped me through VC3’s enormous code base. Each day here truly has been a learning experience.
Once my internship is completed and I have finished my last year at USC, I am not sure what is next. I have considered getting my MBA or Master’s in Computer Science but have also considered heading straight into the corporate world. What I do know: I have loved my time here at VC3 and have learned skills that are simply impossible to acquire in a classroom setting. Similar to the ever-changing technology world, I have no idea what is coming next, but I cannot wait.