EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service) provides students with a chance to participate in real-world, long-term projects in partnership with community service agencies. The CS department now offers elective credit for EPICS enrollment, in CS 290E and CS 490E. EPICS is a great opportunity for CS students, helping students gain the type of skills experiences, both technical and non-technical, expected by employers. Students are responsible for all aspects of a project, from planning to documenting to interacting with the customer. They must learn and apply (and often, teach their peers) the latest technical knowledge in order to solve real problems. The work is done in the context of a large group project with an involved customer for whom the project is important.

Top 10 reasons for taking EPICS as a CS major (in no particular order):
  • Make a difference in your community, meeting the needs of real customers who care about your project's success.
  • Experience a project life-cycle end-to-end and back again, through requirements, design, implementation, testing, and maintenance, and iterating as things grow and change.
  • Develop leadership skills, managing or helping manage part of a project, ensuring that objectives are met by proper planning, delegating, and follow-through.
  • Work with a diverse group of your peers, gaining the experience of depending on, and being depended upon by, people at different experience levels and from different perspectives.
  • Communicate both written and orally, with the team or a subteam, new members, future teams, project partners, and outside reviewers.
  • Be part of something bigger -- a project whose size and scope extend well beyond the time any one member will participate.
  • Direct your own curriculum, identifying, focusing on, and contributing to aspects of a project most interesting to you.
  • Make your resume buzzword-compliant, learning and applying UML, JSP, PHP, HTML, SQL, ....
  • Interact with a faculty or industrial advisor, and have someone who can speak for you in the future.
  • Have fun seeing pieces of the project puzzle come together, and working with and getting to know others who are also doing this because it's fun.

Many EPICS teams have openings for CS students and would satisfy any and all of these great reasons. Explore the team pages to get a feel for what they are doing, or visit with team representatives at the next call-out. Contact the EPICS center with general questions, Prof. Bailey-Kellogg regarding CS issues, or your advisor for details on planning and registering.

CS 490E
Chris Bailey-Kellogg
Last modified: Tue Dec 2 18:44:11 EST 2003