Taking her first steps into the ever-changing tech industry, Gail Foster ’17 recently accepted a position with IBM. Utilizing the skills she learned as a computer science major, Foster is now an application development and testing specialist in the company’s office in Cumberland, Md.
“When I was a first-year, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in the tech industry with my degree,” Foster says. “However, from my many different computer science courses, I realized that the [Computer Science Department] program is set up in a way to give students the opportunity to dabble in many different parts of computer science.”
Following a training period, Foster will work on projects commissioned for the public sector as well as with IBM Watson, the artificial intelligence supercomputer. Foster credits HWS classes such as “Artificial Intelligence” and “Software Development” for helping prepare her for the start of her new career.
“There’s always so much to learn in the tech industry; things are constantly changing,” Foster says. “The skills that I’m learning at IBM will not only help me in my career here, but I will also be able to take what I learn with me elsewhere in the field.”
Foster also believes her experiences including studying abroad in Maastricht, Netherlands, participating on the equestrian team, and working at HWS IT services distinguished her from other applicants during the hiring process.
“I had the advantage of an interdisciplinary education at a liberal arts school. HWS fostered my creative side through my background in music and in creative writing and has transferred to my work,” says Foster, who minored in English and mathematics. “I also was able to work with people of all different backgrounds, which has been essential.”
As part of the IBM team, Foster will have access to 40 hours of professional development courses, which Foster says will only further enhance her knowledge of the ever-changing tech industry.
“We discussed IBM Watson in class and now I’ll be working with that technology–things have come full-circle.”