Brian Walker: Try CS Early

Brian Walker, senior CS studentBrian Walker, CS ’19, learned to balance his class requirements with his internship application requirements. He now offers insight to students who want to succeed in both areas. This summer Walker was an intern at Facebook in his hometown, Seattle, Washington.

During his first summer as a student, Walker worked for Sigma Information Group. He enjoyed building a secure email app. The following year was dedicated to travel.

“I’m very aware that real life happens and you don’t always have 15 weeks off during the summer. I traveled through Europe and I went back home and backpacked for six weeks,” he said.

Walker encourages students to take CS classes as early as they can.

“If you are at all mathematically or logically inclined, take a computer science class early. Even if you decide to change your major, computational skills are an asset in any field,” he said.

Walker learned to balance the demands of his classes while applying for internships in the industry.

“Recruiting season is real and you will need to choose your priorities,” he said. “Last Fall, I took a full load of courses and I was applying to ten internships at the same time. Whether you want to focus on academics and limit the number of internship applications, you need to decide what’s right for you,” he said.

Walker believes that working on academic research during the summer is a smart option for students.

“Some of the most valuable experiences you can have is working on research. Your professors know what they’re doing and you’re doing cutting edge, interesting research. Compared to a sophomore or junior year internship, it looks just as good on your resume and it is as exciting,” he said.

Diverse friendships are an important part of Walker’s experience at Rice University.

“Something really nice about Rice, especially in CS, is the community of really awesome people. They all come from different backgrounds. Over the summer they do something exciting whether in the industry or academic research. It is fun hanging out with those guys, that makes the experience a lot more enjoyable,” he said.

Brian Walker expects to complete his B.A. in CS in May 2019.