With many new companies being formed each month in Houston, the need for technical support and software solutions is always growing. William Price discusses how his degree in computer science helps him create software that supports big companies.

(Photo Courtesy of William Price)

(Photo Courtesy of William Price)

What degree program did you study?

“I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Rice University.”

What does your current position entail?

“I currently work as a software architect for PROS, Inc., a “big data” software company based in Houston. Our products help our customers leverage their existing data to discover new opportunities and improve sales. Companies at the Fortune 500 level generate and consume tremendous amounts of raw data, and part of my job as an “architect” is to design complex software systems to process this data efficiently and quickly. The software industry is constantly evolving, with new tools taking advantage of each jump in computer technology; I research these tools and help select those that will enhance our products.”

Do you feel your education prepared you for your current role?

“Absolutely, but I only came to appreciate it in retrospect. I taught myself to write trivial programs at a very young age. Computers really only do a few simple things, so it’s not terribly difficult to learn to tell a computer what to do by writing a program. The challenge comes in knowing how to best combine the simple instructions into layers upon layers of increasingly complex behavior, and knowing why taking one approach is better than another (and when). It was my undergraduate coursework that taught me to reason about ‘how,’ ‘why’ and ‘when;’ looking back over my career, now I know that these had a large part in my success.”

Do you have any advice for people interested in pursuing a similar career?

“There are many programming languages out there, and most beginners wonder which language is ‘best.’ For the most part, it doesn’t matter. Don’t focus on lessons that teach particular languages, instead, try to learn fundamental concepts so that you can apply them in any programming language you choose.”

Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.


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