A 2009 Anderson University computer science graduate, Zach Smith, currently goes to work every day in Bentonville, Ark. Approximately 621 miles away from the AU campus, the knowledge and lessons Smith gained have traveled with him to the Walmart headquarters where he serves as a computer programmer. Recently, Smith won an award for his work on a mobile application that helps make car maintenance user friendly for Walmart’s customers.
On a small team of three, Smith was instrumental in the making of the application, for which he then received an award from Walmart. The mobile application was created specifically for the Tire and Lube Express locations at Walmart. It allows customers to schedule appointments and services with the auto and tire department on their smartphones or tablets.
While studying computer science at AU, Smith began building connections at Walmart. For two summers, he interned at Walmart and gained experience, which helped him immensely in his future career decision. “After two summers of working there, it was clear to me that this is what I wanted to do after graduation,” said Smith.
Upon returning for his senior year at AU, Smith entered into the computer science program with new experience. Rembert Parker, associate professor of computer science, who taught Smith while at AU, saw the difference the internship made. “He was definitely interested in going back to work for Walmart,” said Parker. “So he came back and was certainly applying himself to learn as much as he could to get ready to go work full time at some place.”
Smith credited the teaching of AU’s computer science staff with preparing him for what he would encounter at Walmart after graduation. “Parker had a lot of real world examples,” said Smith. “He told us stories of what he had seen and worked with, and he had a good hands-on teaching style, which helped me hit the ground running.”
Smith also noted that the work he did at AU in the computer science department, gave him an advantage over others who were just starting at the corporation. “The hands-on training was great,” said Smith. “We did a lot of projects, and that was great because that’s what I do now. Other people did not have that much hands-on experience so that helped me a lot.”
Through his success at Walmart and recent award, Smith has not forgotten that the foundation of his career began at AU, where his education prepared him to excel in the real world. Smith sees himself continuing on this path of success. “I really like software development and this is what I would like to keep on doing,” said Smith.
— Zach Wadley is a senior from Bourbonnais, Ill., majoring in journalism and minoring in public relations. Wadley is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.