Do Something

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“Do something.” That’s one piece of advice Randy Luecke, a rising Computer Science junior, offers incoming freshman and he has certainly been one to follow that advice himself. He has pursued a multitude of opportunities outside the classroom that are making him a stand out student.

inklingLuecke currently interns for Inkling in San Francisco. Inkling is a software company that is architecting textbooks to bring a unique experience for each book to the digital textbook market. Outside of Inkling he is on the core team for an open source project called CappuccinoCappuccino created a new language called Objective-J that aimed to add features to Javascript. At the time, building a new language that can be parsed and compiled in the browser was unheard of.  Motorola acquired Cappuccino in 2010. 

Time TableFrom Luecke’s work with Cappuccino came two shipping applications, Timetable and GitHub IssuesGitHub Issues was featured on the Chrome Webstore and the Chromimum blog. He is currently working on version 2.0 of GitHub Issues, which will feature a completely new UI and should make managing issues much easier. “When I tell people what I do, I give them a demo of GitHub Issues.” Said Luecke. He is very proud of the application and considers his work with Cappuccino his favorite project he has ever worked on since it umbrellas a lot of his work.

The biggest lesson Luecke has learned in developing software is to not be afraid to start over. Timetable was written four times and GitHub Issues written twice before they were released. “Make sure you have an organized and properly encapsulated foundation as things become more complex,” he said. “There is nothing worse than trying to maintain code crumbling at its foundation.”

CappuccinoHe advises incoming freshmen to learn something new and to look to new technologies before thousands of people get there before you. Luecke wanted to work on the development of jQuery, until a mentor of his said, “jQuery is the technology of today. Cappuccino is the technology of tomorrow.” He listened and now, instead of being one of a hundred thousand developers for jQuery, he sits on a core team for a revolutionary project at Cappuccino. He wouldn’t have ended up there if he hadn’t reached out—which is his second piece of advice. He sent an email to 280North, the group that created Cappuccino, asking for help moving Timetable from jQuery to Cappuccino. Had he not done that he would be in an entirely different place.

The final piece of advice is to branch out. “Do something outside school that you can put your name on,” he said. In a competitive and continuously changing field like computer software, a diploma won’t be enough to set you apart from the millions of other developers. He encourages students not to just sit in the classroom; they have to go out there and write code. “Being able to say, ‘I made that’ gives you a lot of credibility.”

Though Luecke can’t envision where the next five to seven years will take him, he has certainly done something to create a bright future for himself. He said, “My goal in life is to bring change to the world. I believe the best way for me to go about bringing that change is to start a company of my own.”