Dice Insights - How 3 Tech Students Are Navigating COVID-19 Disruptions

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended life for tech students in 2020, bringing changes in how they learn. In parts of the United States, some students are resuming some forms of in-person learning, while others are engaging in a mix of online and classroom studies. For many students, an abrupt pause in on-site learning brings challenges for collaboration—challenges that technology is attempting to solve.

Sketching Software Over Zoom

Kevin Womack was in the last semester of his master’s program in data science at Columbia University in New York City when the pandemic hit. Midway through spring, everyone in his Columbia classes went home, bringing uncertainty about midterms. He had been meeting every day to write code with a partner for his statistical inference class, but now they had to connect remotely and work through time differences, Womack recalled (his colleague was in Seattle, and Womack was home in Tampa).

Before the pandemic, Womack and his classmate would use a pen and paper to sketch out applications they were designing. Later, this work became remote. Holding up a sketch of code on Zoom “isn’t as seamless as you would think,” Womack said. “It was much easier to have those conversations when we were sitting right in front of each other and talking about how we want to put everything together.”

He and his fellow students are now using collaborative tools such as Lucidchart

After leaving New York in March, Womack is back at Columbia this fall for a capstone project, working with JPMorgan Chase over Zoom on reinforcement learning. The project incorporates machine learning. He will miss the big lunch to introduce the team in person. 

Womack and his team have found ways around technical issues such as screen share not working and people talking over each other on Zoom. “I will say I’ve got a tough group, and we are working through it,” he said. 

To read the full story by Brian T. Horowitz, please visit: https://insights.dice.com/2020/10/09/how-3-tech-students-are-navigating-covid-19-disruptions/
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