Krishna Kumar Pandian is a third-year computer engineering student at the Baskin School of Engineering. Pandian chose computer engineering because the curriculum incorporates both hardware and software. As he approaches his final year as an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz, he’s looking forward to finishing his degree and joining industry as a software developer.
What piqued your interest to pursue an undergraduate degree in computer engineering?
In high school, I did a bit of software and hardware. I thought they were both really cool and fun. When I was applying to colleges, I thought computer engineering would be a good fit for me because the program incorporates both hardware and software.
What’s your experience been like as a Baskin Engineering student?
It’s been positive. Throughout the three years I’ve been here, I’ve been able to learn a lot within the different areas of computer science. The field of computer science is more complex than what I initially anticipated. We have a good array of classes and electives, and I wish I could take them all.
What research have you worked on at Baskin Engineering?
I’ve had the opportunity to work with two great labs, one being Vertical Architectures, Memories, and Algorithms (VAMA). VAMA is heavily focused on computer architecture and developing tools to interact with certain architectures. I was able to do some work on RTL simulation. It’s not easy starting, but it’s definitely rewarding learning new skills and the professors here are really helpful.
I also worked in the Tech4Good Lab. I took on web development projects. I learned a lot from Tech4Good; it was a really positive experience for me. I was able to gain a better understanding on 1) clear and concise development strategies, 2) how teams are managed, and 3) how industry manages web development.
How has the research you’ve done and your involvement with Baskin Engineering student organizations shaped your experience at UCSC?
Research has given me a lot of academic and industry knowledge. I feel more prepared to take on real-world challenges. I’ve personally been a part of SASE (Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers) and CruzHacks, and both of them have helped mold me into the student I am today. My involvement has helped me figure out what I’m interested in, and it also allowed me to meet people who are working in industry.
What are you looking forward to as you approach your final year as an undergrad?
I’m looking forward to being back in person. It will be nice to see friends again in person, wrap things up, and prepare for post-graduation. I’m also really excited about taking my senior capstone course since it will allow me to work with fun, new tools and technologies. I am starting to enjoy the software development side of things more than hardware.
What advice would you give to students just beginning their journey at Baskin Engineering?
Get involved early. Baskin Engineering provides a lot of opportunities to get exposure in different areas of technology. The student organizations on campus do a good job of getting students exposed to internship and networking opportunities. It’s really helpful to meet upperclassmen who are able to give great advice and pass on their experiences. And, don’t stress too much about your future during your freshman year. There’s a lot to unpack and it’s okay that not everything is what you expect when you first get started. Just enjoy your time getting acquainted with the campus, the community, and your major.