Carmine received his undergraduate degree in computer science in the late '90s and started a business focusing on backend development for websites. He was part owner of a company where he developed a system for selling motorcycle insurance online. He also was involved with a company that did online onboarding for the film and TV industry. After doing website related development for 20 years, Carmine said that he was done and was looking to do something new. He was also interested in teaching—he played music, taught music, and even led music workshops. He still loved programming after all these decades, so he looked into teaching computer science, which required a master’s degree. “I started to think about going to grad school in my 40s and having to sit in a classroom again while also freelancing, meeting with clients, etc.” Carmine reasoned that these worries were what led him to the OMSCS program when saw that he “did not have to be in a certain place at a certain time, it was so affordable, and you could do things at your own time. I am not sure if I would have been able to sit in a classroom and pay so much money every semester”. The flexibility was the main thing for him. Carmine said that his strategy was to make a couple days each week his “OMSCS days” where he dedicated those two days completely to OMSCS; he would tell his freelance clients that he was busy and could not get back to them during those days and, he says, “I was able to make up my own schedule.”
"[I] did not have to be in a certain place at a certain time, [OMSCS] was so affordable, and you could do things at your own time. I am not sure if I would have been able to sit in a classroom and pay so much money every semester."
Carmine is the first OMSCS student to do the thesis option. “OMSCS doesn’t really have a thesis option really because of the sheer size of the program but because I did so much work with Dr. Joyner, I did a thesis with Dr. Joyner and I wrote a paper and created a plagiarism detection program called PLAGO.”
Carmine had more than 20 years of programming experience, then went to OMSCS to get his master’s degree, and once he graduated from OMSCS, he decided to keep going while he had the momentum. Carmine decided to do his Ph.D. at Pace University in NYC in Computer Science, where he is now a full-time professor. Carmine stated that “when I was back at school in OMSCS, I realized I liked being back at school, I liked learning stuff and it was fun!”.
Carmine remarked that as a professor, when the pandemic hit in 2020 and he had to switch to teaching online, his experience in OMSCS was handy as he learned from Dr. Joyner and Dr. Alex Orso how to be a great online professor. “Dr. Joyner and Dr. Orso are absolutely amazing at the online video format and running these courses.” Their methods inspired him in his own online classes.
Because he graduated with a master’s in computer science, he was able to teach undergraduate classes such as a Java Programming, Game programming, and NYU’s Bridge to Tandon course. Carmine has finished all the Ph.D. requirements and will be defending his dissertation by the end of June. A huge congratulations from all of us at OMSCS, Dr. Carmine Guida!
"It’s a huge class and when the time comes for a letter of recommendation or work on a thesis project and if you didn’t participate in the message board and stand out, it’s going to be really hard to ask for that. Be present virtually."
As for advice he would give current students? “My advice is to make a schedule even though there is no schedule and start those projects early and say ‘no' like I did, I told my clients and people ‘no’ when I was busy with OMSCS because it’s very easy to say ‘okay’ and leave OMCSC to the side.” Another great piece of advice from Carmine is to “stand out”—“It’s a huge class and when the time comes for a letter of recommendation or work on a thesis project and if you didn’t participate in the message board and stand out, it’s going to be really hard to ask for that. Be present virtually.” Carmine reasons that when he realized he wanted to get a Ph.D. or when he needed people to look at his thesis, “I couldn’t be 1 out of 500 students, I needed to stand out.” As for what he misses most about his time at OMSCS, he misses talking with the other students on Slack and chatting and interacting with the other students. “Going from dozens of students and talking with them and joking with them and then not having that when I graduated from OMSCS. I really missed it.” Carmine also points to an amazing moment while he was an OMSCS student: Dr. Zvi Galil, former Dean of the College of Computing at Georgia Tech and founder of OMSCS, came alongside a bunch of OSMCS students to Carmine’s musical performance. Dr. Galil even brought T-shirts! “I got to meet Dr. Galil, Dr. Joyner, Dr. Orso, Dr. Isbell, and a few others in person at some alumni and other events. If you get a chance to, meet your OMSCS people in person! They are great people!”