Editor’s note: EDUCAUSE, an organization that helps advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of Information Technology, hosts its annual conference this week. And we’re celebrating by introducing you to one of the many bright students studying Information Technology, Richard Wang. Richard is finishing his senior year studying Computer Science at Cal State Long Beach, and shares some insight on transitioning into life after college.

Richard WangOpenDNS: Did you always know you wanted to work with computers?
RW: No, as a matter of fact, I originally wanted to be in theater. It was after I was infected by my first malware that I wanted to learn more about computers and work with them. No one wants malware on their machine — that’s why we use OpenDNS 😉 – but If it wasn’t for that malware, I would probably be on stage somewhere pretending to be someone’s grandma.

OpenDNS: How are you using OpenDNS today?
RW: I discovered OpenDNS when I read an article where Dan Kaminsky was discussing a security vulnerability targeting DNS servers. When I learned that OpeNDNS was the only DNS provider not affected by the vulnerability, I set it up right away. I love OpenDNS for the faster Internet, typo correction and phishing protection. But, I also have a younger brother and cousin who bring their friends over, and those friends bring their laptops as well. I provisioned OpenDNS at the router so any device that comes onto my network still adheres to the standards I set. Thanks to OpenDNS, I have not gotten in trouble with anyone’s parents.

OpenDNS: You’re interning at a pretty neat company. How does your real world experience differ from the classroom?
RW: The pressure and stress is definitely greater. If I mess up on a school project it means a failing grade. But, if I mess up on a real-world security project, the consequences could be much more severe. One of the most interesting adjustments is that that outside the classroom the development process is much more dynamic. There are always numerous tests, designs, revisions, approvals and implementation phases to go through. But, just knowing that real customers will use my work makes me proud. Oh and the fact that I get to use Linux a lot more at work than at school is awesome!

OpenDNS: You’re nearly finished with school. With technology changing so fast how will you keep your education up to date?
RW: I try to read as many blogs and forums as possible. There are so many smart people out there who learn something about an appliance, software or service just by playing around with it! The OpenDNS blog is one of my favorites, since it explores real issues related to Web security. YouTube is a great resource, too. I like watching Google Tech Talks when I have time to spare.

OpenDNS: It’s said that if you do what you love it’ll never feel like work. What are your plans for when you’re done with school?
RW: After I am done with school, I want to do system administration or software development. I do not mind either one as long as I get to play around with Linux at work — playing with Linux at home is not enough to satisfy me.

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