Daniel Bjorge, BS

Hometown:
Swansea, MA

Degree earned at WPI:
BS, Computer Science

Why did you choose to attend WPI?
It seemed the sort of atmosphere that I was looking for. It had a bunch of clubs doing exciting and esoteric things and was more interesting than the other schools I visited. There were Rubics Cube clubs, robotic clubs, people disassembling computers and lasers - laying parts all out on tables because they thought it was cool. I liked that.

I also liked the CS curriculum. WPI is really good about letting you choose the progression that you want in the courses. It is very much an atmosphere of “if you think you can do it, go for it.”

Finally, I thought the project system was an awesome idea. It seemed clear that most employers don’t really care as much about your grades or the courses you take, but about what you’ve actually done. This has proven a fairly accurate assessment.

Present position:
Software Development Engineer in Test at Microsoft

How do you feel your experiences at WPI prepared you for working in your field?
The theory is a useful prerequisite, but the practice is what gets you the job. Pretty much anyone graduating with a degree who has done reasonably well in classes, is going to have a sufficient enough understanding of theory for any entry level grad school or position. It is the practice that proves you’ve actually learned enough of the theory in order to do useful things. It is what anyone wanting to consider you for employment or grad school is going to be looking for – proof that you know the theory.

The experience in doing team-based stuff certainly has been useful here at Microsoft – being able to drive an issue forward is probably the biggest difference between a new hire and a senior developer - how well people are able to drive issues within and across several teams and beyond. Any experience towards that will help separate you from the pack.

The team work required in the project and course work at WPI really helps in this area. There was a course in software engineering in which I worked with a considerably larger team than we do with the IQP or MQP; this was very beneficial since there was more variety in the background, years, and knowledge of the students.

Groups or extracurricular activities you participate in at WPI:

  • Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) Club
  • Game Development Club (GDC)

Academic or professional awards you have received:

  • Game Development Club (GDC)
  • Charles O. Thompson Scholar, 2009
  • WPI Presidential Scholarship recipient, 2008-2010
  • Massachusetts Network communications council Tech. Scholarship recipient, 2008

Additional comments:
No one really cares what you can say that you can do – they care what you can prove you can do. WPI is better than most at giving you opportunities to prove you can do interesting things.

 
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