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Oregon State’s online computer science program leads to professional success

OSU Ecampus student turned his passion for programming into a lucrative career

By Tracy Scott

Eric Rouse earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Oregon State University in 2007. After working in the industry for several years, he entered the world of industrial automation and robotics.

“It was while working as a mechanical engineer that I realized I love programming,” Rouse says as he recounts the path that led to his return to Oregon State. “To progress in my career and do more advanced industrial automation type work, I needed a computer science degree.”

Adding another set of skills to his professional portfolio helped give Rouse an edge in a competitive work environment. Since graduating from OSU’s online postbaccalaureate computer science program in 2014, he has gone from employee to co-owner of the company he’s been working at, and now he has his dream career.

But the path to this success required hard work and an educational program that meshed with his work and home life demands.

Shortly before enrolling in the program, Rouse and his wife, Jennifer, discussed ways he could enhance his career. It was while they were exploring various options that he received an email from Oregon State Ecampus about the online postbaccalaureate computer science program.

As an alumnus, Rouse was familiar with the school and the quality of instruction.

“Jennifer and I were already exploring options. So, the timing of the email was perfect,” he says.

And he’s not shy about sharing his positive feelings about OSU.

“It’s clearly the best school there is. I’m a Beaver. So obviously, I’m biased,” he laughs. “I’d already completed my mechanical engineering degree, so I was able to transfer the core program classes and several of the prerequisites for the computer science degree.”

Rouse translated what he learned in the online classroom to his work in the field. The software design principles he learned could be applied immediately to various work projects, and he discovered a new-to-him, “incredibly useful” way to organize data in one class.

“I primarily wanted to better myself by furthering my education and doing the work I love. Now, I’m half-owner of the company that I work for. Completing my computer science degree at OSU Ecampus helped create the career of my dreams.”

Add it all up, and Rouse says the coursework empowered him to grow professionally.

Being an adult learner in an online environment wasn’t without its challenges. But more often than not, the flexibility of distance learning was precisely what Rouse needed while pursuing his degree.

“Online instruction made it possible for me to continue working full time, meet family obligations and basically live my life,” he says.

He recalls an occasion when flexibility was imperative.

“I remember I was on an airplane, and it was close to the deadline for turning in an assignment,” Rouse says. “And of course, the flight was delayed. The professor let me take a photo of the assignment to prove that I’d finished it on time. Then, when the plane finally landed, I turned it in.”

While Rouse admits that finishing his second OSU degree brought him financial and career success, he wants future students to know it was about more than that for him.

“I primarily wanted to better myself by furthering my education and doing the work I love,” he says. “Now, I’m half-owner of the company that I work for. Completing my computer science degree at OSU Ecampus helped create the career of my dreams.”


Ready to invest in yourself and move up in the world of technology? We’re here to help. Learn more about Oregon State’s online postbaccalaureate computer science program.

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