June 24, 2017
by Jon Cooper | The Good Word
Noah Harasz is right at the top of the list when it comes to speed, efficiency and versatility in the freestyle for Georgia Tech.
In individual competition, the rising senior from St. Petersburg, Fla., hit three top-five marks at the 2017 ACC Championships and added two top-10 all-time marks in 2016, giving him three for his career.
In relays, he’s also performed superbly. In 2016, he anchored the 200-, 400-, and 800-meter freestyle relays and, over his career, is part of four of the 10 fastest 200 relays in program history, six of the top 10 400 relay times, and three of the fastest 800 relays. He’s part of record-holding teams in the 400-meter relay and both the 200 and 400 medley relays — setting both of the latter at the 2017 ACC Championships, going 1:25.76 in the 200 and 3:07.86, good for third place, in the 400.
Harasz has been as stellar in the classroom, recently being named scholar all-America for the third time, his second straight time as honorable mention. The national honors join his four ACC all-academic team berths and what should be his fourth placement on the ACC academic honor roll — that will be named next week.
Harasz’s repeat recognition isn’t limited to the ACC or the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA). The owners of FiveBox, LLC — Matthew Ohlman and Douglas Shaffren — both Georgia Tech graduates, recognized him and hired him for an internship for their Atlanta-based software development company for the second straight summer.
“Me and another one of my teammates, Youssef Hammoud, were looking for an internship last summer and I finally found this connection to FiveBox,” he recalled. “We separately emailed the CEO there, he gave us an interview with one of the other executives and they gave us a job. They wanted to start a small internship program. Once Youssef finished his tenure on the swim team he ended up with a full time position there. So that’s kind of my goal, to grab a full time position at this corporation, work there for a couple of years and kind of feel out exactly what I want to do in my field. I definitely need more experience both in a professional setting and on my own to actually branch out in the field and try to go after my goals.”
Harasz has been on the job since a week after the spring semester ended and will continue to work for FiveBox until the week before classes begin.
Every day is interesting as he potentially faces a different job and a different challenge.
“Sometimes I’ll go into a day and not exactly have anything assigned. I’ll usually check up on my projects,” he said. “Basically how software development works is you or your team is assigned to a project and usually you use some kind of other software that keeps track of the tasks and assignments, basically subtasks that that project is split up into. So you split up this project into a bunch of different subtasks, your boss assigns you to your specific subtasks and then you take care of those as you go in each day. If you get done with all of your tasks for one project you might check on another project. I ask my boss for any new work that he can give me, maybe any other projects that he has coming up. Sometimes he’ll start me off on a completely new project. Other times he’ll give me an existing project that I have to then modify.
“I’m usually assigned to a number of projects at any one time,” he added. “Those projects range from Android development to Apple development for phones, it could be websites, it could be computer applications, basically anything that requires a software engineer, which is basically creating business logic of how applications work on most devices. So some languages I work with are like Java, Android, Swift, C Sharp, C++, and Ruby. I could keep listing them off. In the computer science realm, languages are almost like hardware tools. They’re never-ending. There’s technically no end to the variations and how complex you can get with them. There are just differences in popularity. Computer science is almost like a completely different language itself. It’s a completely different skill and I think why it’s so popular today, why there is high need for this critical thinking and the knowhow of how computers work and interact with each other.”
In addition to perfecting how computers work with each other Harasz is learning how to perfect working with others within the business world structure.
“A lot of the things that I’ve learned so far have been kind of surface level. What I mean by that is I haven’t necessarily been learning a lot of concrete skills that apply to the computer science field, however I have been learning a lot of interactions between languages, like the tools of the trade,” he said. “I’ve been learning a lot about how the languages work and how projects are set up and designed. I have learned a lot about interacting professionally with clients and my boss to come to agreements on certain project details. So I think it’s been a lot of learning how to get used to working.
“I’m used to schoolwork where you’re assigned this thing and then you have a week to do it. But in the professional world you’re assigned something and you’re expected to do it as quickly as possible,” he added. “If I don’t get something done that day and I was assigned it then I’ll try to come in early the next day or get it done as soon as possible so I can show my worth and show that to my boss. So I’ve learned a lot of how to use different tools, I’ve learned research skills and I’ve learned interpersonal skills.”
Harasz, who is on course to graduate, still expertly manages his time, finding plenty of time to train for his final season. He does a two-hour session every morning from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., and on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, adds a second two-hour session, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. He’s got the blessing of his bosses at FiveBox.
“The company is incredibly flexible with its hours,” he said. “As long as you get the work done and you make sure that you’re accurate with how you log your hours my boss is perfectly fine with letting me even work from home. If I have something important that I needed to finish that day I’ll usually go back home and finish it up in my room. I think I got really, really lucky with that.”
He said that his bosses feel the same way about hiring him — they told him as much during the interview process.
“Two of the executives at my corporation graduated from Tech, so when they had me in they were really excited,” he said. “They were like, `We’re so glad that you’re from Tech. We want to hire Tech graduates.’ They actually asked me if I know anyone else that is looking for an internship to please let them know and I have let a couple of my friends know. I really, really love the experience.”