June 28, 2016 | News & Stories Staff

Tyler Dougherty enjoying his favorite hobby: backpacking.

This summer, we are following Calvin students, the Class of 2016 and a number of Calvin alums as they continue their journeys around the corner and across the globe. Tyler Dougherty headed out to Seattle after graduation last month and is developing software at Amazon.com. 

  • Name: Tyler Dougherty
  • Class: 2016
  • Hometown: Climax, Michigan
  • Major(s): Computer Science
  • Next step: Software developer at Amazon.com

What are you most passionate about? How do you see that passion manifesting itself in this next step you are taking?

Of course I have to say that I enjoy computer programming because it’s my job description, but what I’m really passionate about is working up solutions to interesting problems. How can you teach a computer to recognize a plane in the sky? Can you tell how much people like a post on Facebook by how quickly they scroll past it? Amazon is a place where questions like that are considered. As a bonus, Seattle is one of the best places in the world for me to explore my favorite hobby: backpacking (shout-out to Denver though).

Why do you think you are prepared to take this next step on your journey?

I think my time spent working outside of school was the turning point in what prepared me for my career. Classes can give you a lot of knowledge that is really useful, but if you want to land the killer job when you graduate you have to be able to apply the knowledge really well. Getting a job over the summers or even part-time during the semester is a fantastic way to do this, but if that doesn’t happen you could still easily do projects on your own time. Employers want to see initiative and creativity.

What’s one thing that surprised you at Calvin?

Nobody is around to hold your hand or make you do things. It’s not just the lack of parents being around either; most professors might mention there’s a problem if you aren’t doing work, but they won’t force you to turn things in. I had to really learn how to manage my time and decide what I have time for outside of classes and homework.

What about Calvin specifically prepared you for this position you are stepping into?

Calvin professors are always doing interesting things in their spare time, whether that be research projects or writing articles or any number of other things. Getting involved in that, being curious, is one of the best things you could show to a company you’d like to work at. My opportunity to work for Hymnary.org was the thing that launched me on the trajectory I’m in, made me realize how many interesting things there are to work on in the world.

What’s one thing you would want to tell someone starting his or her journey at Calvin?

Do as much as you can outside of classes. Go to a dance, play volleyball with your floormates, do a 2 a.m. Taco Bell run. Those kinds of opportunities won’t be around forever, and you don’t want to look back and regret it.

A successful path

The success of Calvin grads goes beyond job titles, salaries, graduate degrees and employers as they pursue God's call on their lives. Still, the results are clear: Calvin grads get good jobs at places like Google, Pixar, National Geographic and Boeing, earn higher mid-career salaries than grads from other private colleges in Michigan (according to Payscale.com) and attend some of the best graduate schools in the country. Explore their stories.

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