Programmed for a Bright Future
Coding is Justin Stevenson’s favorite challenge about his majors, computer science and information technology. It is a skill that involves problem-solving and being analytical in order to break things down and look at things from different angles, as well as plenty of curiosity and determination.
“It always helps to be logical,” Stevenson said of the coding process.
It took plenty of determination and problem solving to get Stevenson, a graduating senior,
to where he is today. It was five years ago that Stevenson realized that his job as a service manager at a bank was not his dream; he wanted more.
“My goal was to get a college degree, a great investment in the future,” Stevenson said.
Before attending La Salle, Stevenson earned his associate’s degree in computer science from the Community College of Philadelphia while working 40 to 50 hours per week at the bank.
“I used my associate’s degree in computer science to springboard into a four-year college,” Stevenson said.
He chose to transfer to La Salle because of the well-regarded undergraduate and graduate programs, and because of the small student-to-teacher ratio.
“The professors want to see you succeed and place a big emphasis on preparing for a career,” he said.
The Computer Science Department often holds roundtable sessions, where advisers and those working in the industry offer insight into the field, offer feedback on what a résumé should look like, conduct mock interviews, and offer advice about the Web sites students should be on and the content those sites should include.
“Those sessions really helped in preparing yourself and your image for the working world,” Stevenson said.
During his junior year, Stevenson got a full-time summer internship as a software developer with Vanguard in its pension department. As an intern, Stevenson worked on a project called Fast Test, an application that automates a file-transfer process.
“Now I am the person who supports the entire application, so if something goes wrong, I am the one to fix it,” Stevenson said.
At the end of the internship, Stevenson was offered a part-time position as a contractor to continue working for Vanguard. To accommodate his school schedule, the company gave him remote access so he could work from home.
A self-proclaimed Android guy, Stevenson’s dream job would be to work at Google as a software developer. In his senior computer science capstone course, he served as project manager and co-lead programmer for his group’s development of a student assignment calendar app for the Android operating system.
“I prefer Android over Apple because it is open source. You can play around with the operating systems and make any sorts of modifications or customizations,” he said.
Stevenson has been intrigued by programming ever since he got his first computer at age 13. Without his drive to succeed or passion for the field of computer science, Stevenson said he feels that maintaining a 4.0 GPA throughout his college career while working to pay his tuition would not have been possible.
“Getting to where I am today was always an uphill battle,” Stevenson said. “If it was someone who doesn’t have my drive or determination, they probably wouldn’t have made it. It wasn’t always the easiest thing.”
“Now that I am at the end of it, it’s good because I get to see how all my hard work paid off,”
-Ashley Kuhn, ’14