News & Stories
Ryan Segall
August 15, 2023

Computer Science Major Scores on the Court and in the Job Market

At the beginning of his final semester at Berry, Ryan Segall ’23 received an email recruiting him to apply for a position as a software developer with Epic Systems, a company in Wisconsin near his hometown. Looking back on his college career, he reflects on why he came to Berry and how formative experiences led to a seamless transition to the job market. 

As a homeschool graduate and independent learner, Ryan knew he wanted to study computer science. Originally, he chose to attend a larger college where he received a scholarship to play basketball. After a few semesters, however, he transferred to Berry. Ryan says, “I knew the basketball coaches, and the more I learned about Berry, I was drawn to the small community and tailored learning experience.”  

Ryan also commented that one of the best things about the computer science major is the mentoring style of Associate Professor of Computer Science Nadeem Hamid. “I tend to focus more on the practical elements of computer science,” says Ryan. “Dr. Hamid’s focus is on the abstract and the theoretical concepts of computer science. He challenged me to understand the why and helped me see that the process matters.”  

He loves how Berry’s small classes allow for a customizable approach to learning. When students have questions, there is time to dive deeply. For example, when Ryan could not figure out how to execute a web development idea, one of his professors responded, “Let’s research this together.” He says moments like this made learning at Berry feel more like graduate-level work, as it was experimental and geared to his interests.  

Students’ ability to apply real-world skills to projects also made an impression. For example, in one class, students were asked to build a computer from scratch. Ryan explains, “This project taught me how computers process what we are writing. Building a computer also gave me broad problem-solving abilities that help me break problems down into smaller pieces.”  

Work opportunities reinforced Ryan’s preparation for a professional environment. He started working with the popular Berry Information Technology Students program (known as BITS) but moved up to serve as an enrollment operations analyst. Still, his favorite campus job at Berry was serving as the teaching assistant for a computer science introductory course. Ryan also got a taste of programming projects on a larger scale through a software engineering internship with Guidewire Software. 

Though juggling a demanding schedule as a scholar-athlete, Ryan acquired transferable skills that will last throughout his career. “Being a part of the basketball team taught me a lot about communication, and I believe it impacted my success in interviews,” he says. “My coaches helped me become a stronger communicator in stressful situations.”  

Ryan offers this advice to future students: “In the past few years, I’ve learned that you only have so much energy to devote to all of your tasks. Sometimes the reality is you must evaluate what is the most important thing to do and accept that you’re going to put more of your energy toward that priority for a bit.”

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