Opportunities and More at ISU

February 12, 2012 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

Hello!  I’m Victoria Pershick, another student blogger.  My major is in Web Development, a division of Information Systems.  This will be my last semester at ISU, and so I’m now looking for a full-time opportunity involving web programming.

My next blog entries after this will be about farther-reaching IT developments, but for now I think I should tell you about ways that you can experiment with IT and possibly benefit in the near future on ISU’s campus.  Opportunities go beyond this, of course – I mainly design software and web pages, but there are also points of interest in electronics, mechanical engineering, telecommunications, and more.

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TRAVEL

Ever wanted to live in another country?  ISU has technology-oriented programs in Budapest, Hungary and in Shanghai, China.  There are other opportunities offered by outside organizations, too.  (There are more listings by country available here).

I spent this last Fall Semester in Budapest working for Nokia Siemens Networks.  It’s a brand-new program facilitated through ISU’s School of Information Technology and Eötvös Loránd University.  I was one of the two first interns to go, and that was my first major work experience.  I was part of a team of four university students (the other three that worked with me were Hungarian university students), and our project was to improve an internal task management system.  I also took a few classes and attended some scientific lectures in English.  Later during my stay, I even met a co-founder of “Prezi,” a company that developed a new innovative presentation tool; I might explain more about that in a future blog.  It’s a development that came out of Hungary, and their studio is in Budapest.  Assuming we maintain student interest each semester, we’ll keep sending undergraduate students over and improving the program.

More generally, if you plan to go abroad, college is probably the best time.  It’s a time of exploration when you’re not required to have a full-time job or other such responsibilities.  You might even discover something else you like – you might have the opportunity to learn a new language, for example.

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SCHOLARSHIP

There’s a very significant scholarship available through the National Science Foundation, for those in a Computer Science or Information Systems major, or those who are majoring in Math with a minor in C.S. or I.S.  More details are here.

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CODE RIGHT NOW, IF YOU DARE

Of course, the main reason I stayed in my major was that I found it interesting.  You can always look at some instructions and try coding instantly by going to tutorial sites, the most comprehensive of which is W3Schools.  They have step-by-step lessons as well as a “sandbox” or “playground” feature where you can try to code small pieces in HTML, JavaScript and other languages.

Netbeans is a “development environment” in which you can edit web applications – much like editing a Word document, you can create .html files and more, and then hit the Run button to open the created files in a browser like Firefox or Internet Explorer.  It’s fun to play with and free to download, and there are tutorials available on many programming languages.

HTML5Rocks is another site with tutorials.  In brief, HTML5 is a relatively new version of HTML with a few innovative twists like an <audio> tag and a <video> tag.  I don’t know much about it yet, but I’ve been meaning to look at it in more depth.

This is a mashup that ISU alum Greg Jopa made using HTML5.  If you feel adventurous, you can download the source code and look at it – it’s there for you to look at.  Or try the demo and see if you can play Gary Numan’s “Cars” : )  There’s not enough room allowed in the demo to play the entire riff, I was mildly disappointed.

At any rate, you can see how information is readily available, and you can succeed with it if you have the patience to examine it.  The guidance of a teacher certainly helps, but web programming is somewhat unique because quite a bit of knowledge happens to be available for free (the geekier word for it is “open-source”).  After some experimenting, I thought that decoding these things was rather interesting.  It’s not always easy, but with practice, you might have fun figuring it out.  And clearly, knowledge is power – some of the highest-paying jobs go to people with the skills to engineer solutions for information-related problems.  If you find that you have an interest in this as a field of study, our department website is here.

Please share a comment if you want to – our goal is to create an open discussion, and I’m curious what most people outside my major think about computer-related fields.

Thanks, and I’ll see you later.

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