Joshua Medernach, a 2016 graduate of LSU, says he first realized his ability to understand computers and programming in high school, and he pursued computer science in college. He came to LSU to finish his degree after two years at the University of New Orleans. Although his time at LSU was relatively short, Medernach left with extensive computer science knowledge, two internships under his belt, a large portfolio and a job with his dream employer.
We spoke with Medernach to find out more about his time at LSU and his plans for the future.
The LSU Computer Science Experience
After transferring to LSU, Medernach says, he felt he had more opportunities to grow in the computer science field. He says he saw a noticeable difference in the amount of teamwork assignments. Some students dread such tasks, but Medernach said the high amount of team assignments forced people to learn teamwork, which is critical in the workforce.
He also made connections with his professors, citing Dr. Evangelos Triantaphyllou as a friend and mentor. Through Triantaphyllou’s guidance and encouragement, Medernach is looking into pursuing a master’s in computer science and an MBA. He says other teachers were able to show him new ideas and views of computer science through their classes. Dr. Brygg Ullmer, for example, taught Interface Design and Technology (CSC 4243), which Medernach says expanded his views on human-and-computer interaction.
The Big Idea
Challenged by a professor to dream up a new use for technology, Medernach and a group of students came up with an idea to make parking on campus less stressful. “The idea was that LSU would build automated parking garage towers in its parking lots,” Medernach says. “Students would essentially leave their vehicles with a robotic valet.”
The group developed a prototype that would allow students to confirm the storage and retrieval of their cars, all from their phones. “Our hope is that one day both the automated parking garage and our app are realized at the University,” Medernach says.
The Next Adventure
Through rigorous coursework, personal projects and networking, Medernach earned his next adventure after college.
Medernach said he got his job offer at midnight on Thanksgiving Day. He only got three hours of sleep because he couldn’t wait for his family to wake up and hear that he was offered a job with General Electric’s Digital Software Development Leadership Program.
His new position requires him to move to San Francisco to join this exclusive program, which only takes in about 80 GE employees each year. The program’s purpose is to foster leadership qualities in GE’s employees, especially software engineers. Medernach says he’s ecstatic to be a part of GE’s culture, and believes this could be the place where he makes a difference for tech.
A Graduate’s Advice
After landing one of his dream jobs, Medernach says he knows what it takes to get the job you really want. He says internships and large portfolios of computer science projects are keys to showing potential employers your motivation and understanding of computer science. His advice for landing internships is “networking, networking, networking.” He suggests making connections with professors, advisers and anyone you can by attending events such as hackathons or career fairs.
He also says it is more than just portfolios that potential employers look at; for example, GE was looking for someone who would fit in with its culture and have leadership qualities. After preparing three months for the application, he says, he knew he had to showcase his leadership skills if he wanted the job, so he made sure to prioritize those skills on his resume and in his interviews.
With the right preparation comes confidence, which Medernach says is crucial for landing the job.
Learn more about how Joshua is Coding It Up.