Computer science students present software development projects at Paychex

Roger Coda
group of students at Paychex

Members of the Fredonia contingent of students and faculty gather with Paychex project managers during their project presentation day at the company’s Webster, location.

Real-world experience was gained by Computer Science students who unveiled software development projects they created at a day-long visit to the Webster, office of Paychex, a human resources, payroll, retirement and insurance provider, on Dec. 5.

Students enrolled in CSIT 431 Intro to Operating Systems, taught by Dr. Ali Haider, worked on three projects related to Cloud Operating Systems and Cloud Infrastructure deployment, maintenance and making sure industry standard up-time is achieved. Cloud infrastructure is critical in today's cloud oriented business model because companies lose revenue and customers if a service is down, Dr. Haider noted.

During the demos the students showed their ability to set up cloud infrastructure along with their respective application using automation tools with the click of a button, Haider said.

“Projects involved a steep learning curve for our students, however, not only did they learn new technologies, they implemented working solutions.”

Participating students in CSIT 431 were: Seth Weidman, Ariana Burns, Mike Conti, Patrick Kelly, Anna Chiacchia, Dakota Wicker, Inderdeep Bajwa, Greg Cavaretta and Josh Rogala.

Students in the CSIT 425 Software Engineering, taught by Denise Joy, programmed voice assistant devices to respond to the questions related to the Fredonia academic calendar. They created skills for an Amazon Echo and a Google Home device. Students were able to ask the device questions about the calendar and the voice assistant would give them the accurate requested dates and times.

“They are hoping to continue their work on this project so that it can be used by the students and staff at Fredonia,” Ms. Joy said.

Students in CSIT 425 were: Nicolas Fiore, Brandon Keith, David Neish, Elijah Weyant and Natsuki Takeda.

Paychex staff worked with students from project inception to conclusion. Weekly progress meetings were held and students were advised along the way. “Students got experience of working in the corporate sector and also understood the importance of time management in such high-paced delivery environments. Managers and their teams at Paychex spend a lot of time with our students and mentor them on how to effectively tackle real-world problems,” Haider said.

Projects were evaluated by Fredonia instructors with feedback from project managers at Paychex.

Students also toured of the Paychex building and operations center and received an overview of the company’s product development and internet technology department. A question/answer session with Paychex software engineering managers concluded the day-long visit.

“This experience is invaluable for our students at this stage as most of them will be looking for similar roles as they graduate,” Haider noted. Another benefit of this collaboration is the exposure of Fredonia students to Rochester, N.Y.-based Paychex, which serves small- to medium-size businesses.

“Paychex is one of the largest employers in the domain in the region and they get to meet our students, work with them, see their abilities and work ethic. This opens up possible avenues of hiring for our students,” Haider added.

Accompanying the students at the Paychex visit were Dean of College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Andy Karafa, and Junaid Zubairi, chair of the Department of Computer and Information Sciences. This was the second Fredonia projects presentation day hosted by Paychex.

“It was a great experience making them ready for their careers,” Dr. Zubairi said.

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