Feb. 16, 2023

‘Demand for NDSU students is incredibly strong’

NDSU junior Calvin Stepan is upbeat about his future, confident his studies in computer engineering will help him find success.

“I chose NDSU because it has a computer engineering program, which is not widespread in the Midwest,” said Stepan, who is from Woodbury, Minnesota. “Things just felt right at NDSU. When I came to campus, it felt like home.”

Stepan fell in love with computer programming and hardware when he took part in the FIRST Robotics competition during his high school years. NDSU’s computer engineering program provided “the perfect mix of software and hardware I was looking for.”

He gives high marks to his courses, department personnel and fellow students.

“My peers in the electrical and computer engineering department make all the difference. I have met some lifelong friends in class, and they turn dull days into bright ones,” he said. “The department faculty and staff are a hidden gem. They are great resources for students and eager to help.”

NDSU’s computer engineering program concentrates on computer hardware, software and hardware-software integration. Fundamental topics include embedded systems, computer architecture, digital systems, software engineering, computer networks and operating systems. A total of 128 credits are required to earn your Bachelor of Science degree.

It is the right program for students who want to work in such positions as embedded systems, software engineering, computer architecture, systems engineering, the internet of things and cyber security.

“I plan a career in embedded software engineering, which blends both hardware and software work. It includes writing programs, flashing them to microcontrollers and testing their output,” Stepan said. “NDSU offers an embedded systems course to better prepare me for this future role. 

A connection made at the NDSU Career Fair landed Stepan with a Cooperative Education Program placement at Collins Aerospace. The program allows students to alternate classroom study with a series of paid professional work experiences. His work with embedded systems at the company clearly has moved him along the path to his career objectives.

In NDSU’s computer engineering program, students can tailor their studies within broad parameters. Students are encouraged to develop an individual program of study in close consultation with their advisors.

“In the past 20 years, our computer engineering program has grown from just a few students to well over 100. Demand for NDSU computer engineers is incredibly strong regionally and nationwide,” said Roger Green, professor of electrical and computer engineering and undergraduate program coordinator.

“I would encourage students to consider computer engineering at NDSU – it bridges the gap between electrical engineering and computer science,” Stepan said. “Prospective students should consider NDSU because of the wide selection of classes, clubs and activities. For example, I can take classes like ethical hacking, bowling and wine tasting and join organizations such as Bison Robotics, disc golf club or climbing club.”

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For a closer look at Stepan’s story and the NDSU computer engineering program, visit NDSU’s official YouTube page.

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