Computer science students learn how to apply their skills outside the classroom


Though it’s impossible to live in an urban area and avoid technology, many people do little to no investigation into creation of that technology. Here in Boise, one of our largest employers, Micron, works in myriad technological industries specifically with digital memory. For Boise State students finishing their degree in computer science, this is an exciting prospect. This semester, a senior design class built a game that was commissioned by the global quality department at Micron which will soon train an estimated 30,000-35,000 of their employees worldwide. 

“People from industry sponsor by saying ‘We need this project done,’ and students get to choose their topic, and then the teacher picks who fits best for the project, so we all got chosen,” said James Davison, one of the five students who worked on the game said. 

Davison, who worked on the project alongside Keaton Gillihan, Rhett Hancock, Cesar Loya, and Taylor Roberts, said that the game would be used to train Micron employees in quality control in many of their different departments. He mentioned that the global quality department realized there was much higher engagement with their information when it was made into a game. 

“They gave us the example of the New York Times online crossword puzzle, and were like ‘Here’s some inspiration for kind of what we’re going for,’ and then we asked them for the list of words, because we don’t necessarily know them, and then the format of the crossword we just built it into an app,” said Hancock. 

Amanda Moore, global quality communications specialist for Micron said that the game the students designed will play an important role in their department’s role in maintaining high quality and safe products across Micron’s huge network. 

“Our current tagline is ‘guardians of the brand,’ so we’re responsible for making sure that not quality issues escape to our customers,” said Moore. “The game that they built is going to help reinforce that messaging in a way that resonates with our whole audience.” 

Moore said that the game would be connected to a video of four leaders of major manufacturing environments and then the clues for the crossword would be taken directly from that video. She said this is to communicate the importance of rigor and discipline throughout Micron, and that making it into a game is more interactive. 

The students’ contributions to Micron is preparing them to integrate into the workforce easier by showing them what it’s like to work with a real company said the professor of the course, Shane Panter. 

“I work with companies, and we work together to get a project that’s small enough in scope to where students can finish them in one semester. Really, all the students are very talented, it’s not a matter of their skills, but it is a matter of time,” Panter said. 

Panter said that on top of giving students professional experience, it also exposes them to the stakes that a project has in the real world, such as the fact that sometimes roadblocks arise. Though the game for Micron may never have been stopped altogether, the students still got to experience what working for a technology company might mean in the near future. 

Classes such as the senior design class help Boise State students adjust to the impending possibility of joining the workforce in their field after graduation. By working with large and important companies, students gain first-hand knowledge about what it means to be an employee in these environments as well as ways they may be able to apply their hard-earned degrees in a way they enjoy. 


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