See the link below for a 5 minute overview of the build!
Time Lapse – Computer Build
See this link for notes and proposal materials:
STEP Project – Google Drive
Creative Endeavors Project
- The goal of my project was to build my knowledge around computer hardware. This involved researching each component and its functions, constructing a computer, and understanding how the software works with the hardware to create the user experience.
- This project not only enhanced my understanding of computer hardware, but also my confidence in my own ability to work with it. At the beginning of this project, I had never before reached inside a computer. The closest I had come to this was watching a technician open up my laptop and replace the motherboard. Even as I began planning this project, I was nervous about handling the internal components and thought of them as being extremely sensitive and pervious to damage. After completion of the project, I gained a sense of accomplishment and capability that I’ve never felt when dealing with computers before. This confidence will help me not only when working on electronics, but in every new challenge and uncertainty I encounter down the road.
- Throughout the research phase of my process, I spent countless hours reading about each component and its purposes, watching online videos of other people building computers, and talking to friends and coworkers who have completed their own builds. This helped me develop a good idea of the purpose of each component and the possibilities attainable through selecting different parts.
As I began my summer at Cooper Tire, the project provided me with numerous networking opportunities as I found people in IT were very interested in hearing about it and willing to share their knowledge with me. I spoke with managers to obtain approval for completing the build in the office, coworkers who took a keen interest in what I was working on, and was also referred to speak with ‘computer pros’ that people knew around the company. Each and every person I talked to about the project was very intrigued by it and this gave me a chance to expand my professional network. I was able to find people willing to review my build blueprints with me and they offered helpful suggestions on improving the build as well as knowledge they’ve obtained over the years through working with changing technologies.
This project also presented opportunities to grow in cultural awareness. One of my coworkers, Abdul Sabir, grew up in India and had a lot of experience in working with computers. He told me about his family and how he had built a computer for them to use when he was in college. He is the oldest of 8 siblings and he said that each one of his younger siblings went on to make improvements and repairs to the computer, and they were all able to use it while living at home. This led to a discussion about multi-generational households; a norm in India, and what life is like for his family back at home. It also demonstrates how valuable it is to be comfortable working on computers and improving them over time. Whereas in the U.S. we have a habit of throwing things out and buying new once they stop working for us.
In mid-June, once all of my parts had arrived, I was prepared to move forward with the build. At this point, I still had a lot of uncertainty about working with the components and my knowledge about the build was largely fragmented – in that I knew a lot about the different parts but didn’t quite know how to get them all installed and working with each other. Luckily, my coworker Karl had an extensive background as a computer repair technician for both laptops and desktops. He graciously provided guidance and offered suggestions throughout the build process. This was when everything I had been working on over the past months really came together. My knowledge was no longer fragmented, I could see a visual representation of all of the research I had been doing, and I had a newfound sense of confidence in my abilities for jumping into something new.
- The knowledge gained through this project is extremely valuable to my career. As a Business student specializing in Information Systems, I never have the opportunity to work hands on with internal computer hardware through my coursework. I no longer look at a computer with a sense of wonder and curiosity, but rather an understanding of each component and the intricacies of each part which work to deliver the end user experience. This experience has already helped me to help others. My parent’s optical drive went bad on their desktop in early July. Instead of paying to ship it back to the company and have it repaired for ~$100, I helped them locate a replacement part online for $16 and was able to take the computer apart and do the replacement on my own. In a world that is becoming increasingly dependent on computers in day to day life, skills such as this are vital.