October 19, 2022
At the conclusion of the 2021-2022 academic year, students departed campus for jobs and internship opportunities across the globe. UNC Computer Science students are highly recruited by top tech companies, considered to be competitive candidates for a wide array of positions.
With the goal of growing their network and developing new skills, we asked UNC Computer Science students to reflect upon their job experiences. Many excellent students shared about what they have learned, as well as how these experiences guide them forward along their career path.
Emma Koslow (Majors: Computer Science & Communication Studies ‘23)
Position: Software Engineer Intern at Disney Streaming (The Walt Disney Company)
Day-to-day responsibilities: My typical day-to-day responsibilities are attending stand-up meetings to catch up with the team and writing code to create functions for the platform messaging team (i.e. sending emails and creating API calls to gather email data). I also often work with other engineers on the team in pair programming or to brainstorm ideas. Additionally, I test each function or code I write to make sure it’s working as it should.
Favorite part of the job: So far, it is for sure the team. My team at Disney is super kind and supportive. It’s clear they want to see me grow and learn in my career. One thing that is pretty cool is my platform messaging team actually is majority women engineers, which is pretty rare in tech. I also get to work in person in New York City, which has been super fun and different from past internships that have been remote.
How will this position help you to grow? How will it help you make decisions about your career path moving forward? So far, I feel like my position at Disney has helped me to see what I like about different industries. In the past I have worked mostly at software or tech companies/startups, so being at an entertainment company has been a very different environment. In addition to being a computer science major, I am also a communications major on the media and technology production track. Being at Disney has shown me that there are positions out there that allow me to use skills I have acquired in both my majors–without feeling like I need to sacrifice one field for the other.
Fariha Marzan (Major: Computer Science, Minor: Data Science & Religious Studies ‘23)
Position: Software Engineering Intern, Yapstone
Day-to-day responsibilities: I am working on a project that focuses on creating a platform for technical engineers to help customers without directly using the database. My day-to-day job responsibilities include attending stand-up meetings to update my progress in every sprint, work on my assigned task, keep my manager updated about any obstacles or completed tasks, and attend any informational meetings along with my teammates.
Favorite part of the job: My favorite part of the summer job experience thus far is being able to meet so many new people with different backgrounds that share the same intentions and ambition of learning new things. Yapstone’s diverse and open culture enabled me not only to explore how to build robust, scalable, and well-tested software in the real-world but also to make friends and network with more people who share the same passion.
How will this position help you to grow? How will it help you make decisions about your career path moving forward? I have always been passionate about exploring how to produce world-class products with the teamwork of programming in the real world. I am thrilled about Yapstone’s boundless opportunities with an outlet for real-world projects for me to learn and grow. Opportunities for training and development, company culture, prospective colleagues, supervisors, and mentors of Yapstone will play an immense role in helping me make decisions about my career path moving forward.
Most memorable experience: Since I am doing the internship virtually, I have not had a chance to meet my teammates in person and visit the company in California. Two of my teammates and I have made plans to visit there for a week in July to work in person and get to know each other. I have never been to the West Coast and am super excited to meet the crew!
Brynna Miller (Major: Computer Science, Minor: Information Science ‘24)
Position: Halo Cinematics Intern at Microsoft/Xbox Game Studios/343 industries
Day-to-day responsibilities: Throughout this summer, I’m working with other interns on an internal project for the Halo game.
Favorite part of the job: Microsoft and its culture! Networking and going to all the intern events has been so fun! They make it so easy to meet a vast amount of people from all over such a big company. Specifically, my team at 343i has been so welcoming and helpful as the other interns and I have been working through our project.
What is one thing you’ve learned that has surprised you? That I’m expected to ask questions and take time for myself! They don’t want me coding 24/7 all day everyday. Microsoft really promotes a work-life balance. It is highly encouraged to take time off for yourself throughout the day.
How will this position help you to grow? How will it help you make decisions about your career path moving forward? I’m on week 5 of 12 and I’ve already grown so much as an engineer and a program manager! Due to the nature of my project, I’ve gotten the opportunity to experience both and I’ve learned so much about the positions and practices from my manager and all my mentors! This summer definitely helped me solidify what I want to look for in a company in the future. Company culture is super important to wellness–wherever I end up, I definitely know what I want to see/what I expect within a company before I sign a contract with them.
What CS course has best prepared you for your job & why? COMP 283! The nature of the class has taught me how to be adaptable in practically any situation, especially when it comes to my work.
Memorable experiences outside of work? I’ve barely ever traveled outside of NC, so my move to Seattle, WA was such a huge change for me. Completely different climate and time zone! It’s been such a change to move to a city but I’ve absolutely loved all the new food and sights. Driving over Lake Washington everyday to work and falling asleep/waking up to the city view every morning has been some highlights for me for sure!
Cecilia Lee (Major: Computer Science & Information Science ‘23)
Position: Software Test Engineer Intern at Qualtrics
Day-to-day responsibilities: Attend key meetings, discuss requirements with STEs, refer to design documentation to develop my project, report bugs to SWEs.
Favorite part of the job: Learning new frameworks and debugging skills and making connections with my mentor and manager and other people in the office in-person.
What is one thing you’ve learned that has surprised you? I’m never working alone! There is always help and support from my team, other teams, and interns if I am stuck.
What CS course has best prepared you for your job & why? COMP 301 – Foundations of Programming. This class taught me how to design my code and effectively collaborate when working with large projects of code.
Memorable experiences outside of work? Meeting new people in the city, getting close with the intern groups here, and also connecting with UNC students and alumni. Exploring the city + new food, and enjoying hiking and nature in Seattle!
Logan Stach (Computer Science ‘25)
Position: Software Engineer Intern at OMG (Object Management Group)
Day-to-day responsibilities: I am tasked with helping the technical director at OMG refactor a legacy codebase written in Perl. The overarching goals are to root out dead code in each script (i.e. remove unused functions and variables) along with writing a library script of all functions used across the script to eliminate repeated function declaration. These scripts do things like send out emails to all people registered for an event, assign people to registration lists, etc.
Favorite part of the job: Cleaning. I love it when a script that was originally 400 lines long is reduced to just 40.
What is one thing you’ve learned that has surprised you? How much people disregard clean code! There is dead code EVERYWHERE in this code base written by the original developer that he never bothered to fix. For maintainability, it’s incredibly important to write clean code.
How will this position help you to grow? How will it help you make decisions about your career path moving forward? This position confirmed for me that software engineering is what I want to do for the rest of my life. It’s my passion. And it helped me gain experience with scripting, something I haven’t done before and isn’t covered under UNC’s curriculum (to my knowledge).
What CS course has best prepared you for your job & why? COMP 283. Prof. Jack Snoeyink placed a lot of emphasis on clearly communicating your logic. While he does this for the purpose of teaching us how to read and write proofs, I found this important when communicating about how to solve problems in the workplace. This method of communication came up when I discussed with the technical director our refactoring target.
Memorable experiences outside of work? Meeting up with high school friends was my favorite part of this summer. They’re friends that I anticipate will stay with me for the rest of my life, and seeing them again was great.