“I was always interested in science,” said Maranda Reynolds. “I was also interested in computing, but I thought it was for people who already had a lot of background in computer science. I came to the department with only a little bit of programming experience, though, and found out that’s not the case.”
Reynolds’ brother had graduated from the computer science program just a few years before she enrolled at Missouri State, and she was reluctant to follow in his footsteps. “He was 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 pieces that I could quickly build knowledge and do well.”
As she progressed through computer science courses, she also began to see how her career might advance. “I gained very in-depth skills, which I liked,” said Reynolds. “When you know what is going on at a deeper level, you can do your job better.”
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 many clients find programming mysterious. “You have to make sure your clients are on the same page with you; otherwise you are going to have to redo everything, which isn’t an efficient way to work.”
Reynolds has advice for other women who are interested in her field. “Go for it! The jobs are excellent. Many 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. I didn’t know that I was the kind of person who would enjoy it, and I ending up loving my major and my career.”