Commencement 2017: Internships lead to job for URI computer engineering graduate

Omose Ogala to join Twitter

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Omose Ogala, 22, of White Plains, N.Y., a senior computer engineering major at the University of Rhode Island. Photo by Nora Lewis.

KINGSTON, R.I., April 21, 2017—The job offers came in at a dizzying pace: Dell; Microsoft; Twitter.

Tech giants were knocking at Omose Ogala’s door, competing to hire the computer engineering major at the University of Rhode Island. And he hadn’t even graduated yet.

Hard to believe, he says, that just four years ago he was an anxious freshman with a dream.

“It’s crazy to think I’ve gone from a wide-eyed freshman eager to learn,” he says, “to a soon-to-be graduating senior with fantastic opportunities ahead of me.”

What awaits him is a job, a great one. After graduating in May, he’ll head off to Twitter’s corporate headquarters in San Francisco to work as a software engineer. The opportunity to be near Silicon Valley was too good to pass up.

“I’m going to completely uproot myself and move across the country to California,” he says. “I feel great. I’m ready for this.”

His journey to engineering started as a boy in White Plains, N.Y., where he liked to tinker and make things like solar panels that would light up two bulbs in his living room.

In his senior year of high school, he took a computer science course and was hooked. College was between URI and Northeastern University. URI came through with a sizeable scholarship, and the computer engineering program impressed him.

Friends, challenging classes and, most of all, internships in the industry have brought him satisfaction and confidence over the years.

After his freshman year he spent the summer teaching himself how to make iPhone apps, even creating one that allows users to “discover” music DJs play at parties.

During the National Society of Black Engineers convention in Boston last year he made his pitch to a Dell representative. The rep liked what Ogala had to say and gave him a job at the company’s headquarters in Round Rock, Texas, for the summer. Ogala credits URI’s College of Engineering with making the connection through the conference.

Ogala worked hard, distinguishing himself with his commitment and positive attitude. One day, the human resources director called the computer whiz into his office and offered him a job after graduation. “I was ecstatic,” he says. “I called my parents.”

He was all set, or so he thought. In March, he attended another Society of Black Engineers convention, this one in Kansas City, Mo. He chatted again with tech companies, including Twitter and Microsoft. Both liked him; both made job offers.

Ogala weighed the benefits of his offers and decided to decline Dell and accept Twitter. He’s been a bit giddy since.

“I try my best with everything I do,’’ he says. “I hope that as I go into the workforce I continue that mentality.”

URI, he says, has helped mold him into a driven, hardworking and enterprising software engineer prepared for any challenge.

“I’ve made close friends here,” he says. “I’ve met a lot of level-headed and nice people who are going to do great things. The key to success here is to get involved. Get out and meet people. Things will start to happen.”