Zachary Broderick, MS

Hometown: Hooksett, NH

Degree earned at WPI: MS, Computer Science

Degrees earned from other institutions: BS, Computer Science, Brandeis University

Why did you choose to attend WPI?
After doing my undergrad at a liberal arts college, I wanted my graduate education to be at a very technology-focused institution with an emphasis on knowledge application rather than strictly on theory. I wanted to stay in New England; WPI is one of the top tech schools in the area, and I had heard good things about it. Plus, it was one of the few institutions that had funding available for master’s students, which was very important to me.

Present job title and employer:
Upon graduating, I was immediately hired by Microsoft and have since left to join a startup called Shareaholic as a software engineer. Both jobs were/are directly related to my computer science degree.

How do you feel your experiences at WPI prepared you for working in your field?
WPI has prepared me well for my career in industry. My time there working on various projects and taking valuable classes allowed me to strengthen my software engineering skills. Working with students and teachers as part of the NSA's GK-12/PIMSE fellowship got me out of the lab/classroom and into the real world, interacting with non-technical people using our software. It taught me to better communicate my knowledge and skills with the outside world.

Working in the ASSISTments lab was a lot like working at a small startup and helped me transition very easily from MS to Shareaholic. The cutting-edge tools and frameworks I used at WPI are being utilized right now in the work I'm doing.

How has WPI’s philosophy of Theory and Practice, and working with teams, prepared you for facing real-world challenges in the workplace?
Applying skills to projects and working in teams is the definition of "real-world" industry, which is the path I chose after completing graduate school. The practice gives you the hands-on experience, while the theory gives you the extra edge when it comes to solving those particularly tough, unsolved problems that come up on a daily basis at a cutting-edge startup. Both are necessary for a well-rounded and effective software engineer, and give WPI graduates a leg up on the competition.

Groups or extracurricular activities you participated in at WPI:

  • ASSISTments
  • Lunchtime soccer
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