In the three years after he graduated, Anton consulted for Google and led a startup company that arranges unique tours and experiences.
While technology innovators are often stereotyped as not needing college—both Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg dropped out before graduating—Stephen Bloch, Ph.D., an associate professor of mathematics and computer science at Adelphi, argues that most benefit from completing an undergraduate computer science degree.
“For people who are very good on the tech side but also really driven by the entrepreneurship, dropping out might be the best route for them to go,” Dr. Bloch says. “On the other hand, it’s easier to get original ideas if you have a lot of exposure to the ideas that others have already come up with. Then you don’t keep inventing the same ideas that have already been tried and failed. For the people who are going to be primarily on the tech side, and not founding their own companies, they’re going to benefit from as much technical background as they can get. There are bad ways to solve problems and better ways to solve problems. You can short-circuit a lot of bad ideas by learning from other people’s experiences.”
Anton Soradoi ’10, agrees.
“A big impact on me was Dr. Bloch’s course on the UNIX operating system,” the Estonian native says. “We really went under the skin of how things work in a computer. I remember thinking I could program anything after that.” Mr. Soradoi says the solid grounding in the fundamentals has set him up for a career that can go in many different directions. In the three short years since he graduated, he’s consulted for Google and now leads technology development at 1000 Passions, a startup company that arranges unique tours and experiences for anyone who’s interested, for example, tagging sharks in Florida or designing perfume in New York. He’s also working on a game for the Android phone that he started developing while at Adelphi and hopes to finish one day.
At 1000 Passions, Mr. Soradoi handles anything to do with technology at the company, from developing the website to improving performance and coming up with new ways for users to interact with the site, to managing the servers and providing the technology perspective at business strategy meetings. Mr. Soradoi says he enjoys working in technology because, “It never gets boring.”“It’s not the same job over and over again. And I love to create something completely new that didn’t exist before.”
Dr. Bloch says the majority of students sign up for computer science because they want to become video game programmers. “Most won’t,” he says, “but conveniently enough, a lot of the stuff you need to program a video game is also useful in programming a word processor or a browser or a database program.” Programming is simply teaching a computer how to make decisions, Dr. Bloch explains. “A computer that can’t make decisions is just a calculator,” he explains. “But if we give them a program, they can make decisions without us supervising. They can run on their own, decide when they’re done and decide which of three different things to do without being told every step of the way.”
The catch is that it’s not always obvious what you need to tell the computer to get it to do what you want to do.
“If you’re someone who’s going to give up easily when you can’t get something to work immediately, computer programming is not for you,” says current computer science major Hannah Groves ’14. “However, if you’re the type of person who doesn’t sleep until they fix whatever’s wrong, that’s the kind of mindset you need with computers. Because sometimes it’s something as silly as you’re missing a semicolon at the end of the line. And nothing’s worse than when you’re hitting the same error over and over and you realize you forgot to type the semicolon.”
At the same time, that’s part of what makes technology interesting, says Ms. Groves, who hopes to become a software developer at an Internet company after she graduates. “It’s rewarding when there’s something really complicated and you figure it out on your own. You just have to be willing to try the same problem from 12 different angles with 16 different methods.”
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