What he does
Rob Mullen is a Software Developer at the eLearning division of eCollege in
Denver, CO. The eLearning division of eCollege designs builds and supports fully
online degree, certificate / diploma and professional development programs
throughout the country. As a programmer in the Technical Consulting department
of this division, he is responsible for building custom software solutions for
eCollege's educational partners that fall outside of the scope of the core
products that the company offers. Rob has been at this position for about one
year. Before starting this position, he gained 4 years of experience as a load
and performance tester in the Quality Assurance Department of eCollege. Prior to
that he was a Software Testing Consultant for Systest Labs in Denver, CO.
Math on the Job
Software development is all about problem solving, from design, to
implementation, to testing. The problem solving skills honed during my
undergraduate work in mathematics have proved to be invaluable, everyday I call
upon them to assist with a wide range of problems. Furthermore, in an industry
where many developers have non-math or computer science degrees, having a
technical degree is a nice advantage in the job market. In addition to general
problem solving skills, I perform statistical analysis of performance related
data as well as charting trends of defects, and time to estimate fixes compared
to actual time; all of which incorporate a variety of mathematical skills.
Rob majored in mathematics and computer science in college, receiving his B.A.
degree in 1998 from Rhode Island College. He obtained his Secondary Education
teaching certification in Mathematics as well, but during his student teaching
soon discovered that teaching was not where he belonged. "Teaching is a
difficult profession that needs to be approached with a serious mind. During my
student teaching I learned that education was not for me, so I turned to
computers as a natural extension of my affinity towards mathematics."
Advice for Students
Speak to professors about the various job opportunities and internships
that exist for persons of a technically oriented ilk. There are a
multitude of different avenues that you can pursue. The more that you
expose yourself to, the better off you will be in the long run.
Realize that a career is a living organism that is constantly changing
and evolving. Listen to yourself, do what you think is the right thing
Have a positive attitude, and no matter what the task at hand is, always
approach it with a focused mind.
Be sure to take courses in both pure and applied mathematics.