Originally from Columbia, Maryland, Michael is a Senior pursuing a major in Computer Science. When he's not studying, Michael likes to work on side projects and website development.


About Michael…

When did you know that you wanted to study Computer Science?

I knew from an early age that I wanted to be in CS. It all started when I learned a bit of HTML from my brother, and it snowballed from there.

What area of Computer Science are you most interested in?

I am absolutely in love with web development. When I was about fourteen, I somehow stumbled into an administrative position on a fairly large website. I eventually was granted access to the server and became a developer. I learned a lot from that, mainly just reading code and replicating methods to create new stuff.

Are you part of any labs, clubs or organizations on campus?

I am a part of the CWIT student board. (Center for Women and Information Technology. Yeah, guys are allowed in, too.) I will also be writing for the technology section of The Retriever Weekly.

Have you had any internships?

During the spring and summer of 2010, I was interning at Mindgrub LLC near campus as a web and flash developer. During the summer of 2011, I had an internship in Mountain View, California at Google. I will be heading back there this summer as well! There are plenty of opportunities out there.

What are your plans after graduation?

My current plan is to either maintain my internship at Google and try to turn it into a full time job, or start a company of my own with my brother (also a computer scientist, he graduated a few years ago and is doing contracting work now). I don’t plan on going to graduate school because I really enjoy working on products and projects, and I am able to obtain a position doing just that once I graduate.

What is your dream job?

My dream job is to have my own successful company making innovative web and mobile products. I have been working on a lot of my own projects, and a little bit with my brother, but I want to turn this hobby into a career.



What was your first impression of UMBC?

Coming in, I heard the same thing from everyone: UMBC is a boring campus and everyone is gone on the weekend. To my surprise, my first few weeks at UMBC were extremely fun and packed with meeting new people. There is always plenty of stuff going on around the campus, and a lot of people to meet.

Why did you choose UMBC?

I started at UMBC in the fall of 2009. Choosing UMBC was not a hard decision for me! In fact, I only applied to three schools: UMBC, College Park, and Towson. I only really applied to the other two as backups because I knew I wanted to be at UMBC. It is a close drive to go home (or have my parents take me out to dinner!) I also liked that it was a smaller campus so walking to class wouldn’t take forever!

What do you like about campus life?

I like that there are a lot of people to see at any given time. I made a lot of good friends Freshman year and we have been hanging out ever since. There are also always clubs and whatnot to get into which you can use to occupy your free time, or you can just hang around and have fun.

What was your first Computer Science course?

My first CS course was CMSC 201. It was a pretty big class. Unfortunately, I found that the majority of the content we covered I had already done prior, but I did learn a few things, and it was a good chance to start helping my classmates and friends. Since then, we’ve all had our ups and downs in classes and have had equal chances to help each other!

What was your favorite Computer Science course?

Good question. I really don’t know if I can decide. CMSC 313 was fun because we got to learn a lot of the really interesting lower level stuff in a computer. It becomes pretty mindblowing. However, I think Artificial Intelligence might take the cake just because of the amount of knowledge that class drops on you. It was really rough, and I mean REALLY ROUGH, but it was a great class and one of the most interesting topics I have come across in the field.

What do you like about the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (CSEE) Department?

Every teacher is approachable and understanding. If you attend class and make it a point to go to office hours, even just once or twice, the teachers will know your name and really help you out when you’re in trouble. You quickly watch the class sizes shrink and become much more personable. Also, since there are a lot of internships and research opportunities around, knowing the teachers can be really beneficial for suggestions and recommendations.

How would you describe the professors in the department?

Well, as in the previous question, very personable and reliable. Each one will really want to see you succeed if you put in the same effort they put in to teaching the class. It sounds corny, but it’s true.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

CS majors, don’t let programming just be a job, make it a hobby! The number one thing that has helped me do well has been to have a ton of side projects. Let your imagination wander, and when you have an idea, go for it! People love to see that you have your own stuff that you work on, because it shows that you are really dedicated to this field.

In general, stay on top of everything! Time gets scarce enough already, if you can plan ahead and make it easier for yourself, working now will make future you thrilled!