Combining the computer science fundamentals learned in the classroom with the real-world experience of two Google internships, Yigit Aytan, ’12, has prepared himself well for life after graduation.

Aytan, a double major in computer science and business administration, worked as a software engineering intern at Google last summer. He completed the same internship in the summer of 2010 and in both years he modeled systems that would be useful for the company.

“Last year, I built a workflow management system that tracked errors in Google's production servers,” said Aytan. “This year, I built a new testing technology that will be used for various tasks within the company.”

Aytan was always fascinated with computers—but after winning a medal in Turkey’s Computer Science Olympiads and taking a trip to Google’s New York offices in high school, he decided to pursue computer science as a college major and a career.

Aytan says it’s sometimes difficult to see concrete relationships between college coursework in computer science and the work software engineers are doing in the industry. The tasks assigned to software engineers are often more practical than what is taught in the classroom but Aytan thinks his college experience is important.

“I wouldn't be able to do well in the industry if I had not learned the fundamentals of computer science,” he said.

One of the best experiences of Aytan’s academic career, he says, was working with a professional-grade code while doing independent research with computer science professor Kelly Shaw.

“My research on computer architecture was a distinct experience,” he said. “I was able to work with and modify software that was designed for real world applications. It gave me a chance to face problems that would possibly appear when working in the industry.”

Aytan has had several academic accomplishments at the University of Richmond—he received the award for the "Most Outstanding Computer Science Student of the Year" two years in a row. He has also participated in the ACM programming contest; in 2009, he and his team received the highest-ranking score in UR history.

There’s one accomplishment Aytan won’t have to worry about during his senior year—landing a job after graduation. He’s been offered positions at both Google and Facebook and is currently weighing his options.