Brian Heller puts his degree to work on mobile software
OSU-Cascades’ first computer science graduate Brian Heller (left) finds success in Portland.

After completing his service as a mortarman with the United States Marine Corps, Brian Heller was torn between pursuing a career in electrical engineering or computer science. Computer science won, and in the spring of 2016 Brian became the first student to graduate with a computer science degree from Oregon State University – Cascades.

The computer science degree program was established in 2014 and provides in-depth learning in computing with an option in web and mobile software development. OSU-Cascades’ computer science program is housed within OSU’s College of Engineering, which is among the nation's largest and most productive engineering programs.

As a student, Brian worked in mobile application development at a start-up company. "Brian was an outstanding student who often went above and beyond what was required of him," said Marc Rubin, OSU-Cascades computer science program lead and instructor. "He's a self-starter and highly motivated to learn new things on his own." 

After graduation, Brian was able to leverage his degree and experience to land a position at Rigado in Portland. Rigado uses Bluetooth technology to build devices that help provide communication with other devices using a low energy impact solution.

Brian provides technical software support. “I write documentation for software development kits and provide sample apps and code to third-party developers,” said Brian. “I’ve been able to apply valuable skills I learned at OSU-Cascades.”

The computer science program at OSU-Cascades promotes professional development, experiential learning and relevant problem-solving skills using modern software technology. “We want all of our students to engage in on-the-job experience,” said instructor Yong Bakos. “Our dream is for our students to obtain internships early, supporting their professional development and building a history of work that leads to great job placement upon graduation.”

When he’s not working, Brian can be found establishing dominance over trivia night at the neighborhood brewery, and working on his own software projects.