When freshman Amit Adhikari began Knox’s new computer science club with a group of friends, it was with the hope of exploring computer science in a way that wasn’t being offered in the classroom setting.
“The courses here in C.S., they mostly focus on fundamentals of computer science. But when you get out in the real world — the industry — the skills are something different,” said Adhikari, who is now club president.
Freshman Abhi Singh stated that they began organizing the club in the middle of Fall Term. They wanted to start the club because there weren’t any organizations on campus already covering their interest.
“There was engineering club, but it was specifically focused on mechanical things, not on the programming skills,” Singh said.
Events that the club has organized thus far include hosting a talk about Bitcoin, which covered details about the cryptocurrency that’s fluctuating in value. Now that they’ve been approved for funding by Student Senate, future plans include attending conferences, participating in C.S. competitions as a team and organizing a hackathon event for a weekend in the spring term.
For next term, the club is also planning an app development camp, which will be a semester long program. In organizing the program, Adhikari stated that he was drawing from his personal experience working for companies in the tech industry to help other students.
“I want to get people exposed to how the industry is . . . and show people how to actually build a working app,” he said.
Singh commented that they were happy with the computer science program at Knox, but were simply looking to have more opportunities for practical applications of their C.S. skills through the club.
“As a computer scientist, you learn the deep data structure and all, but in the real world . . . you have to apply the things you learn,” Singh said.
Adhikari added that he thought it was valuable for students interested in pursuing computer science to get this kind of practical experience early.
“I believe that if you get exposed to things really early, things will turn out better for you,” he said.
Now meeting regularly on Fridays at 5 p.m. in the Makers Lab in SMC, where club members get together to work on coding, the club hopes to continue to expand its membership. They emphasized the club’s openness to students with less experience in the C.S. field.
“The computer science club is reaching out to those individuals . . . We want to set up programming skills, not just for the C.S. majors but for the other groups that are also interested,” Singh said. “If you’re not a C.S. major, you can still learn.”