UTPB senior Daniel Fernandez has found internships are the way to go in discovering a career path.
Last year during his summer internship search, Fernandez came across Verde Mining, a bitcoin mining company owned by an independent energy investment firm based in Midland called Fortress Energy.
During his internship, Fernandez worked with senior software developers, used his computer science knowledge to code and contributed to applications, servers and the website.
He was hired on a part-time contract to work with Verde and they would like him to continue beyond his graduation in May, a news release said.
Formerly of Winnemucca, Nevada, he was awarded a Presidential Scholarship from UTPB. Before this experience, Fernandez worked at a grocery store and Walmart, the release said.
He said UTPB has changed his life enormously and equipped him with all the talents and skills needed for a complex role in computer science.
He’ll graduate in May with a bachelor’s in computer science on the software development tract.
Math always came easily to him and it’s something he enjoys. His senior year of high school when Fernandez was trying to figure out what he would prefer to do, he heard about computer science, but he didn’t know exactly what he would be learning.
“I heard you had to learn problem solving and there’s a good amount of math involved, so maybe I’ll just give it a shot. I think most college students do that as well, but I guess I just got lucky and I chose the right one because I enjoy it and I think I’m pretty good at it,” Fernandez said.
According to the SimpliLearn website, “Bitcoin mining is the process by which Bitcoin transactions are validated digitally on the Bitcoin network and added to the blockchain ledger. It is done by solving complex cryptographic hash puzzles to verify blocks of transactions that are updated on the decentralized blockchain ledger.”
Fernandez said he learned about internship opportunities for STEM degrees.
“There’s a lot of different sectors of computer science that I can go into. It’s really so much more than I ever thought six months ago,” Fernandez said.
He’s not sure what direction his career will take because there are so many possibilities.
“For right now, I’m just focused on strengthening my skills as a software developer and then hopefully just getting hired and getting even more experience,” Fernandez said.
He’d like to continue strengthening his skills and maybe two years out decide if he wants to go into artificial intelligence, stay a software developer, go into data analytics or game development.
“There’s a lot of things that I still have to kind of work out, but at least for a start I think Verde Mining set me on a good (path). It gave me a good foundation to move forward in my career,” Fernandez said.
He added that he would recommend “1 million percent” that students go for internships.
“There’s a lot out there if you look early enough (before) the summer gets started. There are a lot of companies that are hiring out there; big ones as well like Google. I know there’s a bit of hiring freezes out there for those, but I think they still have internships out there for Google, Meta; you have IBM; you have Adobe and even just local ones like the one I did; any of them as as long as they’re dealing with some sort of software that is actually deployed and is being used in one way it’ll be a really good experience that … will show you the industry side of building applications,” Fernandez said.
“When you’re in school you deal with the theory; you deal with problem solving and then you deal with the math that you might need. But there’s also a little bit that it doesn’t teach you, so anything like internships if you can go to Hackathon, absolutely. They’ll teach you; they’ll challenge you and they’ll make you get out of your comfort zone. I at least think that’s a good thing,” he added.
Although he said there was a shortage of computer science teachers at UTPB, there were concepts he learned about databases that are used for all applications and electives that are really good like introduction to game development.
“That goes exactly into what making a game is like, what you use … I’ve taken a web development class; same thing. It definitely goes into what it’s like developing websites … and there’s others, so I would say it was pretty good for how many teachers they have,” Fernandez said.
“Right now they’re definitely short staffed, but based on that I would say they’re doing a really good job. … They’re planning on improving their curriculum, getting more teachers on so it’s not just they’re sitting back letting the kids get their degrees. They’re moving forward trying to get more companies to go and look at the computer science majors,” Fernandez said.
He added that there is always something new to learn in software development.
“What I enjoy is that there are a lot of possibilities with software developing. You don’t have to just make websites. You don’t have to just make applications. You don’t have to just deal with operating systems. It’s up to you what you want to create and what you want to add to the field and what you want to just make in general,” Fernandez said.