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My Manchester Story

Joe Swartz

by Mam Samba | Jun 06, 2019

Joe Swartz, from Waterloo, Ind. is a senior majoring in mathematics and software engineering.  He shares his knowledge of software engineering and the projects he’s been able to work on.

“How did you become interested in software engineering?”

“I took a math elective my first year called Scientific Computing, and in the class we used some basic programming skills such as loops and ‘if statements,’ and I became fascinated with problem solving using computers. As a result, I took the Foundations of Computer Science courses and fell in love with software engineering.”

“What are loops and ‘if statements?’”

“A loop is basically a way to run a certain set of commands until a given condition is satisfied. An ‘if statement’ is kind of like a trap door –  if a certain condition is met, the commands inside will run or the program skips over the commands.”

Is there an area of software engineering in which you have a special interest?”

“I really like backend development because that is the meat of any program – it’s really everything that controls the buttons you click and what not.”

“What kind of projects have you been able to do with your major?”

“As of now, I have been a part of two projects that are actually going to be used outside of receiving a grade. One was for a Facebook Messenger bot that may be used by the Manchester marketing department to assist in handling questions that people send in via [Facebook] Messenger. For that project, I was a part of the development team and was able to learn a lot. The other is a grading system that will be used by Robin Mitchell, assistant professor of computer sciences, to assist him in grading projects from his foundations courses. I was the ‘scrum master’ for this one, and had many enjoyable, long nights trying to get our program to work.”

“What is a ‘scrum master’?”

“A scrum master is the leader in ‘agile scrum,’ and they are in charge of running the meetings, keeping the team on track and communicating with the customer or who we’re creating the product for.”

“Why did you choose MU?”

“One of my best friends from high school had applied here and talked me into doing the same. Long story short, I ended up coming on a football visit and fell in love with the campus.  I grew up in a small town, so North Manchester felt like home, and the population here is small enough that it felt like I’d be able to find my place among the MU family.”

“What is your favorite Manchester memory?”

“Hands down the Otho Winger Experience. I love seeing a different, rock ‘n roll side of my professors.”