Featured Student: Nick Tan

Featured Students

Bio

Major: Computer Science and Mathematics

Minor: Economics
Hometown: Malaysia
Main interests: Building (fun) things, cooking and creating new recipes, biking

Website: nicktej.com

What’s your favorite thing about CS (or math) at LC?

The community! Before I came to LC, I was planning on majoring in Economics. But, when I took my first CS class during my sophomore year, I fell in love with the department and the people, and the rest is history. I have enjoyed all the moments, from office hours to struggling through code and math, from competitions to just shooting the sh*t with friends (and prof. Jeff).

What has been your favorite course at LC?

Software Development! Honestly, it’s one of the most useful classes at LC. I got thrown into a team with 5 other students to build an application within a semester. The project was to solve the problem of allocating first year students into their mandatory E&D classes. Briefly, we used a modified Hungarian algorithm that ingested a CSV file with student information, allocated the students into their classes using different weights and metrics, and returned the results via a new CSV file. We managed to reduce the work time of the client from 1 week to 1 minute! By the end of the project, I learned to work within a team, to disagree and commit, and greatly improved my coding abilities.

How do you foresee yourself using the CS skills you developed at LC in the future?

I am planning to have a career in software engineering, well at least for the foreseeable future! I’m sure some of the skills I’ve learned at LC will be useful, especially problem-solving. Beyond that, I’m very certain I’ll continue to be excited about technology and its impact on humanity.

What project or experience (in computing) are you most proud of?

My text-to-speech converter hosted on AWS! During the summer, I biked to and from my workplace in downtown Portland on a daily basis, listening to podcasts and audiobooks. One day, while I was having lunch with other interns, I had a sudden idea to build my own text-to-speech converter to create audiobooks. So for the next couple weeks, I spent my evenings and weekends learning the different services necessary for the project, designing the architecture, and finally coding it. It took a 2-3 weeks before it finally worked! If you want to learn more about it, go to nicktej.com/projects.html

What’s some advice you have for other computationally minded students?

Learn to teach yourself! No seriously, if there’s one thing LC has taught me, it is how to teach myself via personal projects, Udemy courses, meetups, etc. There’s only so much you can get from a liberal arts education, and the rest is up to you to motivate yourself to become a better programmer, a better person. So, be curious, be very dedicated, and maybe have a little bit of luck. 

What’s your favorite programming language?

Java, but I try to be language agnostic.

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