During his first-year at Emory & Henry, Ferris Ellis found his way to a summer internship at one of the best-known web hosting and cloud development companies in the country – and most likely to a career in software development.
Ferris spent the summer working for Rackspace, a highly successful national web hosting company out of San Antonio, Texas. He worked as a Linux System engineer specializing in Python programming and working on automation systems for cloud computing.
“I worked full time on the team and on real projects and problems to which I contributed just like any other person on the team, including having my code deployed into production,” Ferris said.
The impressive summer internship came about through his connections to the E&H Information Technology Department, where taught himself the language of Python programming to assist in the delivery of instructional technology. In addition to his work at Emory & Henry, Ferris had in his portfolio numerous web projects he completed for small businesses in his hometown of Marion, Va.
Eventually, Ferris applied for the internship at Rackspace, competing against some 200 other applicants. He landed a job with the company, becoming one of only two first-year students among 12 interns selected by Rackspace. In addition, as a math, chemistry and physics triple major, he was the only non-computer science major in the group.
He knows that software development will be a part of his future, perhaps combining that with another area of technology, such as robotics. In the meantime, however, he plans to have fun with his passion and to share it with others. He currently offers weekly programming workshops for E&H students and professors. The workshops teach Python and culminate in a finished product, such as a web app.
Ferris possesses not only enormous talent in the area of computer programming, but immense passion for the work. “The ability to create anything from nothing to do whatever you need, whether that be to solve problems or touch the world, is to me a sort of magical thing.”