In this week’s 5 Question Friday blog, we talk with James Underwood, a Computer Science major, a Desktop Support Assistant at the UC, and President of the Warhawk Karate Club here at UW-Whitewater. We learn a little about him and what he provides to the campus as a Desktop Support Assistant. Be sure to comment on his blog to tell him hi or ask questions!
1. You already have an Associates Degree in Computer Science and are COMPTIA A + certified from Blackhawk Tech, why did you decide to attend UW-Whitewater for Computer Science?
Well for many professions in the computer science industry just having a bachelors degree is a huge advantage over other candidates who do not have a degree, which can easily be the case and a large number of technology enthusiasts are self taught. But initially when I got out of high school I didnt actually know what I want to for a career so I decided to go to technical college for a bit to see if I would would actually like any bits of the computer science field. After a bit I decided that CompSci really was for me and I set out to get some certifications from CompTia which function as a great way to show others what you know. My A+ certification show that I am qualified for base level troubleshooting, installation, maintenance, and security in the IT field. It basically functions to show employers that am certified to have abroad range of abilities and at the very least a basic understanding of system.
2. What has been the biggest adjustment you had to make transitioning from an Associate Degree to a 4-year degree?
The largest adjustment I’ve had to make is all my of classes from black hawk tech were independently paced. I could go in for an hour or for 8 and just get work done. I was really nice to basically make my own schedule but since I didnt really have due dates for assignments or exam days it didn’t really give me drive to get things done other than to finish. Also living in the dorms and using campus facilities is an adventure in its’ own. At whitewater, and I’m just about every other campus, each professor has a unique teaching style which can make the class simple to difficult or just make the material easier or harder to understand.
3. How do the skills that you are learning as Desktop Support Assistant in the UC prepare you for a career?
Well a large part of my job now is the black board system. What i’m going now to creating programs for automation of the setup and maintenance of the touch screen cash registers for campus. When I’m done the whole system of setting up a cash register will be completely automated instead of having a person set each one up saving hours of time. This is giving me plenty of practice for being a systems admin where I would create scripts to automate server applications and events (such as scheduling backs ups or user account creation etc…)
4. What types of jobs can students apply for with a Computer Science degree and what job do you want to specialize in and why?
The nice thing about computer science is there are so many things one can do with the degree. Since the major has classes in math, programming, networking, a person with a computer science degree could become a software developer, software engineer, Web developer, Systems Administrator, Network engineer, Network administrator, even a Computer System Analyst. It all really goes to where the person’s preferences lie. I chose Computer Science as I am very interested in programming and writing scripts so what I would like to obtain a career in would be a systems administrator, but I’m sure I will be starting off small and working my way up.
5. In what ways do the skills you’re developing as a UC employee help with being the President Warhawk Karate Club?
Well being president of WKC is a little bit different. It’s a lot of meeting attendance, filling out paperwork, and making sure the club follows campus rules. However it’s a great way to make friends and help others learn a martial art. I’d like to say that it helps build a friendly community which would relate directly with my work in the UC, as a UC employee has a certain level of expectation to be friendly and professional and to aid into creating a nice community. Being WKC president also helps me gain professional confidence; having to attend professional budget meetings to even club sports renewal meetings. I have to be able to be a face for the club so it’s on me to properly fill out paper work and attend these meetings to keep the club around.