Brown enjoys challenges of computer science

Will Brown’s interest in computers began at an early age as he observed his parents operate their business.

“They were fairly tech savvy in the early days, so computers and dial-up were around for my formative years and made a big impression on me,” Brown said. “Ever since, working with computers has scratched a creative and intellectual itch of mine, and I’ve never looked back.”

Today, the Prescott native and second generation Henderson State graduate is self-employed working on lawnly.com, a website serving on-demand lawn care services to the Northwest Arkansas metro area and others around the country.

“I built all of the tech myself over the last year, partly on nights and weekends while holding a full-time day job at atlasdsr.com programming data-wrangling tools for Walmart vendors,” Brown said. “Otherwise, I make websites and apps, write code, deploy servers and databases, work spreadsheets, and do a bit of graphic design.”

The computer science program at Henderson set the stage for Brown’s career success.

“It’s difficult to overstate the importance of what I learned earning my degree at Henderson,” he said. “Though the first couple of years were tedious, each class built on the previous one and left me with a great foundational knowledge of computer science and lots of excitement and momentum to continue learning after graduation, as is required in a field that progresses this quickly.

“The class sizes were small enough that I got to know my professors very well during my time there, and I learned a lot from them that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”

Brown advises current students to apply what they’re learning into extracurricular projects like developing small websites or apps.

“Learn different program languages or hardware, and see what you can do with them and where it takes you,” he said. “Having projects in your resume that are not school-related will, without a doubt, put you at the top of most recruiters’ call lists, not to mention teach you something.”

After graduating from Henderson in 2013, Brown moved to Northwest Arkansas to work at Atlas Technology Group.

“Atlas has one of the top software teams in the state and I learned an incredible amount about practical software development in the industry,” he said. “Since parting ways with Atlas this past August, I’ve been working on lawnly.com and learning how to build a business from the ground up.

“In the next few weeks though, I’ll be taking a job at a new, unannounced company and starting the next chapter of my career.”

Brown said he enjoys the endless variety of applications and problems to be solved with what he continues to learn.

“I can take the same tools and ideas and apply them to any industry, business, hobby, or art project and make something valuable or interesting,” he said.

Brown said he had considered a double major in math, but business was always his first choice before he discovered computer science.

“I think I would have found my way into programming, regardless,” he said.