AT Friday: Sam Purcell

Being an AT Fellow

            In these blog posts, I usually write about tools programmers can use to help increase productivity, or give tips on how to learn better. I’d like to talk a little bit today about what I do here, why I love it, and why the AT Fellows approach is something that I really appreciate.

            I am a junior studying computer science. It’s a fantastically interesting, complex, and rewarding field, with endless opportunities and consistent advancement. However, the curriculum for the subject can sometimes be dry, or seem mired in theory that seems hopelessly academic.  AT Fellows has been a solution to those problems for me.

A day of work consists of designing, developing, and thinking carefully about web applications. Unfortunately, I can’t go into specific application details yet, but it’s the way that I am required to produce results – a way that seems realistic, grounded, and flexible – that makes me really love working here. I have written in all sorts of languages for this job – C for data migration automation; PHP and Node.js for backend solutions; MongoDB and MySQL for database solutions; and more HTML, CSS, JS, and subsets of those languages than I can think of right now. Not only is all of this really practical, but I have a context for it at all times, which is something often lacking in academia.

Of course, the job is not all about writing cool apps. We consistently evaluate how humans learn, and how we can use technology intelligently to facilitate better information uptake. I’ve gained a lot of insights about myself, my classes, and human behavior as a result of this job.

A fine mix of knowledge theory, good communication, and a ton of practical web programming make being an AT Fellow an amazing opportunity for me.

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