When Maranda Reynolds, alumna of the computer science program, accepted her first job as a software developer at Intuitive Web Solutions (IWS), she had no formal technical training in the field. She was also struggling with what major would be right the fit for her at Missouri State.
“I was always interested in science, and when I graduated from high school I had no idea what I wanted to do,” said Reynolds. “I was also interested in computing, but I always thought it was for people who were really smart or people who already had some background in computer science. That is definitely not the case, and I came to the department fresh with only a little bit of programming experience from my job.”
Reynolds’ brother had graduated from the computer science program just a few years before she entered the program, but Reynolds was reluctant to follow in his footsteps. “He was always a computer guy from the start — that is probably why I thought it wasn’t for me. But I got into it, and it was in small enough bite-size pieces that I could keep going and do well.”
As she progressed through computer science courses, she also began to see her career advance. “It was a really in depth study of the science of computing, which I liked,” said Reynolds. “It is helpful to know what is going on at a deeper level to be able to do your job better.” It was not long before Reynolds began to move into a leadership role at IWS.
Upper level courses in the computer science program prepared Reynolds to work with clients by encouraging teamwork and helping her to better communicate her ideas. Clear communication is key, according to Reynolds, since programming is a mystery to most clients. “You have to be smart and stay on the same page, otherwise you are going to have to redo everything, and that is not an efficient way to work.”
Reynolds has advice for females who are interested in computer science. “Go for it! Now that the field of computer science has gotten off of its feet, the jobs in the field are excellent. Most software companies have small, unconventional work environments that are flexible, challenging, and pay well. If you have a penchant for math or physics, then you may be good at computer science as well."
Reynolds graduated from the computer science program in May 2011 and continues to work as a software engineer at IWS, but hopes to get into management in the future. She has not ruled out going back to school to pursue a post-graduate degree and possibly teaching computer science, math or physics at a university.