"Be able to do a lot of things, but aim for something specific so that you can do one thing really well."
This was the advice that Computer Science major Eric Miller's father gave to him regarding his choice in potential professions. Lucky for Miller, he's known since around sixth grade that computer programming was more than just a passing interest for him. It's a hobby, and one that he hopes to someday turn into a fulfilling career.
"Originally, I was going to go into video game designing, and then I realized that the field is very small, so I wanted to look at getting a broader experience," says Miller. "I still want to try game designing one day, but for now I'm going to stick with the larger scale version and see where that leads me."
The West Chester native, who is now in his third full semester at NCC, explains that the main difference between computer science and computer engineering is that computer science involves getting the computer to do what you want it to do and finding a solution for many areas that could be effectively solved with computers. The engineering side is about the circuits and wires. The programming side is telling the computer what language to speak.
"People don't want to put in the time to figure out how things work. They just want it to work. That's why customer service for electronics is always so busy. People just want you to fix it for them," says Miller. "When I play video games, I think to myself, what if they changed this mechanic? And then I think, why don't I just change it myself?"
In a world where so many people are dependent upon technology, Miller confesses that he actually rarely plays games himself. If he can't be found programming for fun, he can be found either concentrating on his studies or working at his part-time job in the campus cafeteria. Miller resides in the dorms, as well, giving him the opportunity to experience what it's like to live at college before he transfers to a four-year school in the future.
"Balancing work and class hasn't been difficult for me. I worked in other jobs when I was younger and went to school at the same time," says Miller. "It feels like college to me because I live here. I don't come just specifically to go to class. If you come just to take a class and then leave, you're not with any type of 'community' at that point. I've been to a lot of events. I know a lot more of what's going on around campus."
Miller plans to eventually earn a bachelor's degree in his field and then see what path that degree takes him on. As he simply puts it, he has some time to work with. "Video games aren't going away at this point."
Name: Eric Miller
Program Major: Computer Science
Projected Graduation Date: 2015