news-category: Academics

Gardner-Webb Computer Science Major Andrew Cook, ’24, Enjoys a Challenge

computer code

Exploring Software Engineering Prepares Students for Digital Landscape

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Computer science 2024 alumnus Andrew Cook enrolled at Gardner-Webb University, because he is passionate about the evolving nature of technology and the impact it has on society. He also knew the quality of the program, because his brother and father graduated from GWU with degrees in computer science and computer information systems.

While his family helped him with concepts along the way, Cook appreciated his knowledgeable and informed professors. He said their doors were always open, and they took time to answer all his questions.

Cook, who is from Cleveland County, N.C., also valued the close-knit campus community. Gardner-Webb’s smaller class sizes provided opportunities for professors to get to know their students and for the students to build relationships. He and his classmates communicated in a group chat, studied together and bounced ideas off each other.

Another highlight of the program for him was completing his first software engineering course. “You take everything you’ve learned from all your previous classes and apply it into one big project,” he said. “The instructor gives you the parameters, what it should do, what it provides and how it should work. By the end of the semester, you have a fully working project that you can show to other people — to a potential employer — and you can be proud of that.”

For that project, the students worked in pairs. “We built the original Pacman from scratch in code,” Cook informed. “We came up with two custom levels. It proved to be a challenge, but we’ve managed to overcome with some help from our professors. It definitely taught me the value of organization, to think like a programmer and to use logic to solve problems. Overall, it was fun.”

Everything he learned from that assignment was applied to a pre-approved original capstone project, which each student designs on their own and completes toward the end of their program. Cook said the finished product provides another example of your work to show to people and a potential employer.

Cook added, “Computers are in everything nowadays. There’s always going to be a need for computer science majors, and we see AI’s growing. There will be jobs lost, but also jobs will be added to monitor and manage AI. People will need to control its output.”

He recommends the computer science program for individuals who appreciate the complexities of the technology. “You are going to face challenges, but they are going to be fun to overcome,” Cook observed.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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