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C of I’s first computer science alumni find success

The College of Idaho’s mathematics-computer science program is in its infancy, but that hasn’t stopped its first two alumni—Greg Johnson and Dharmjeet Rattan—from thriving in the professional world.

The two 2014 graduates, who were beginning their senior year when the program was launched, both have found work in the Atlanta, Ga., offices of the human resource software company EPI-USE.

“I went to the C of I knowing that I wanted to be a computer scientist,” Johnson said. “I was told about the evolution of the major beforehand; that it may happen in time. Thankfully, it was finally offered.”

Rattan shared Johnson’s enthusiasm for the new major.

“Initially, when I enrolled at The College of Idaho, I planned to be a math-physics major, but my real passion was working with computers,” Rattan said. “When I learned I could graduate with a computer science degree, I happily made the switch.”

EPI-USE, which has nearly 1,000 employees in 16 regional offices around the world, provides businesses with software and services that allow creation and further development of Human Capital Management solutions. A representative from the company came to the C of I on a recruiting trip, noting that the school’s size and ideals fell in line with EPI-USE culture. Johnson and Rattan were recommended to the company by their computer science professor Dr. Frank Jones and subsequently were hired.

Both Johnson and Rattan currently work on a project involving a cloud-based Human Resources Enterprise Resource Planning software program called SuccessFactors, which provides businesses with tools to monitor employee performance, improve employee communication, and track company goals. Johnson and Rattan’s duties on the project range from software configuration, data management and requirements gathering.

Even though they only spent one year as computer science majors, neither Johnson nor Rattan feel disadvantaged in their new careers.

“I don’t think I could have prepared better anywhere else,” Rattan said. “The liberal arts education I received is particularly well-suited to the dynamic demands of a consulting job.”

Johnson appreciated the freedom and support he was given by the C of I faculty to pursue independent study courses, which he sees as an edge to the new program.

“This kind of custom care and education wouldn’t happen at most universities, and I am truly grateful for it,” he said. “The most important skills I have learned at the C of I are how to research and how to manage accountability and stress. Within EPI-USE, every employee is directly responsible for meaningful projects and pieces. Since the C of I has the same expectations, I felt very prepared for the transition.”

With the computer science program still growing, Johnson and Rattan likely are the first of many C of I success stories to come. It is a trail they are happy to blaze.

Predicts Rattan: “I think the program will grow quickly. And College of Idaho students will take the market for computer science-related jobs by storm.”      

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another 12 Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.