Ryan Riddle will be a May 2013 graduate in CS. As he prepares to become an alumnus of the department, he advises current and future students to spend their four years at UK doing what they’re passionate about.
“There’s a lot of pressure to do the things you ‘have to:’ graduate classes and research and volunteering and internships. But you’ll be a lot more successful if you discover your personal passion and commit to developing that,” says Ryan.
Ryan tried different areas before finding his academic passion. He has been involved with programming competitions both as a competitor and as an organizer. He spent some time as an assistant in Dr. Jaromczyk bio-informatics lab.
Web security and cryptography, though, are what eventually struck Ryan’s fancy. Since he discovered his interested in the subjects, he has begun teaching himself the basics of hacking and protection. He has even been able to apply his new knowledge of security to his internship at Semicon Associates, where he has worked since June 2011.
“[Hacking] is cool because it’s knowledge of something you’re not supposed to do. It’s cool to know how to hack and how to keep others from doing it to you. There’s a lot of stuff in the news about it, like the PlayStation hack, so I know what’s going on in these attacks. And I don’t have to be mindlessly scared of hacking, because I know what’s possible.”
Ryan has also found passions outside of his major. He is a music-lover, and regularly sings and plays guitar at local venues. Ryan is a member and former president of the UK Fencing Club. He is an active member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity.
Most recently, Ryan has gained an entrepreneurial interest and has begun entering pitch competitions with a group of friends. Their idea, Home Unity, focuses on low-cost home automation.
Ryan has known he was interested in computing since he was in high school. At Woodford County High School he took two semesters of programming classes and gained a beginner’s knowledge of Java and Visual Basic. As he started making games on his own, Ryan realized that he could see himself studying Computer Science more in depth.
Now as graduation approaches, Ryan has accepted a position as a software engineer at HP Exstream. There he will continue to hone his skills as a software developer.
To UK Computer Science students, Ryan recommends taking Systems Programming (CS 485) with Dr. Griffioen. “That’s where I started learning about computer security, and the knowledge of operating systems is really useful,” says Ryan.