Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Montville

“Where else am I going to learn about artificial intelligence and develop projects to put on my resume in my first year of college?”


Young man in blue shirt standing against stone wallTired of working a string of jobs, from sous chef to music educator, and living paycheck to paycheck, Michael Gould decided he wanted something different. His answer was to enroll at County College of Morris (CCM) and earn another degree – this time in computer science. Before he even finished that degree, he was hired as a software developer by Micrologic Associates with a $70,000 a year salary based on several artificial intelligence programs he developed in a Machine Learning class at CCM.

“Where else am I going to learn about artificial intelligence and develop projects to put on my resume in my first year of college,” asks Gould.

Of particular interest, Gould had applied to Micrologic for what he thought was a position as an intern. The company develops hardware and software management systems for the car wash and quick lube industries. During the course of his interview, Gould was asked what he was expecting in the way of pay. Gould responded that he did not know what software developer interns typically earned. He was then informed that he was being considered for a full-time positon.

“Had I not taken that Machine Learning class and met a Micrologic representative at CCM’s Internship Fair, this never would have happened,” says Gould. “One week, I’m on my knee asking my girlfriend to marry me and the next I’m being offered a full-time big-boy job.”

It was his physics professor Josh Denholtz who encouraged him to take the Machine Learning class Denholtz had developed.

“It was an amazing course and by the end of it I have an entire AI portfolio,” says Gould. In that class, Gould developed three AI programs – one that colorizes Alfred Hitchcock movies, another that creates original music compositions and a third that teaches computers to play video games. He also developed a machine-learning model that uses Yelp reviews so taco stands can determine what they need to change to improve their ratings, whether that be including more meat or adjusting something else.

“What’s so intriguing about the space that community colleges live in is that they can create and launch a course like this so quickly,” says Gould.

That is also why he decided to attend CCM to earn another bachelor’s degree. His first is in music education.

“I shopped around before enrolling at CCM, but I came here not only because it was affordable but because of the wide range of course offerings. There were classes in probability and statistics, differential equations, discrete math and more,” he says.

At CCM, he also was pleased to find “teachers who are meticulous about working with students and who are fantastic educators who inspire you to learn.”

His goal now is to finish his associate degree in computer science by taking classes at night and to build a career in AI.

“I love being a student at CCM. I’m surrounded by some of the smartest people I’ve ever met who are teachers I really want to learn from.”