Mathematics Alumnus

Robert Mullen

Position: Software Developer
Company Name: eCollege
Industry Sector: Information Technology

What He Does

Rob Mullen is a Software Developer at the eLearning division of eCollege in Denver, CO. The eLearning division of eCollege designs builds and supports fully online degree, certificate / diploma and professional development programs throughout the country. As a programmer in the Technical Consulting department of this division, he is responsible for building custom software solutions for eCollege's educational partners that fall outside of the scope of the core products that the company offers. Rob has been at this position for about one year. Before starting this position, he gained 4 years of experience as a load and performance tester in the Quality Assurance Department of eCollege. Prior to that he was a Software Testing Consultant for Systest Labs in Denver, CO.

Math on the Job

Software development is all about problem solving, from design, to implementation, to testing. The problem solving skills honed during my undergraduate work in mathematics have proved to be invaluable, everyday I call upon them to assist with a wide range of problems. Furthermore, in an industry where many developers have non-math or computer science degrees, having a technical degree is a nice advantage in the job market. In addition to general problem solving skills, I perform statistical analysis of performance related data as well as charting trends of defects, and time to estimate fixes compared to actual time; all of which incorporate a variety of mathematical skills.

Background

Rob majored in mathematics and computer science in college, receiving his B.A. degree in 1998 from Rhode Island College. He obtained his Secondary Education teaching certification in Mathematics as well, but during his student teaching soon discovered that teaching was not where he belonged. "Teaching is a difficult profession that needs to be approached with a serious mind. During my student teaching I learned that education was not for me, so I turned to computers as a natural extension of my affinity towards mathematics."

Advice for Students

  • Speak to professors about the various job opportunities and internships that exist for persons of a technically oriented ilk. There are a multitude of different avenues that you can pursue. The more that you expose yourself to, the better off you will be in the long run.
  • Realize that a career is a living organism that is constantly changing and evolving. Listen to yourself, do what you think is the right thing to do.
  • Have a positive attitude, and no matter what the task at hand is, always approach it with a focused mind.
  • Be sure to take courses in both pure and applied mathematics.

Page last updated: August 19, 2013