Between his rigorous course schedule and avid social life, Daunte Baccus, Baylor electrical and computer engineering alumnus, found time to establish himself as an up-and-coming candidate for the one of the world leaders in IT operations. As he sits down for our interview, his face fills with a smile and as we go through the questions, I realize it comes from a deep self-assurance of his capabilities in the engineering field.
Where are you from?
So, I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but my parents are military so I kind of moved everywhere. But I went to high school in San Antonio and I've been in Texas the longest so I just say San Antonio. I mean, I think high school is where you kind of do the most growing up. So I chose to say San Antonio.
I get that. So, why did you choose the Baylor Engineering and Computer Science program?
To be quite honest, I wasn't sure if I wanted to do engineering, but I had this high school professor who got a degree in electrical engineering. So I talked to him and him telling me about his experiences before he became a teacher, his experience in the industry, and I said “Okay, this sounds like something I would like". But I also have a business mindset. So I wanted to get an engineering degree and figure out a way to mix that. I have had interest in Baylor since my sophomore year of high school. One of my good friends who graduated from my high school went [to Baylor] and when I came on the campus tour - it just felt right.
What would you say was one of the best experiences you’ve had at Baylor?
One of my best experiences at Baylor was Junior Design. Just because… don't get me wrong, I love class, but actually putting that knowledge to use and working with a team just because that's what it's going to be like in the real world was one of the best experiences just because it was nice to get together with five people and accomplish something.
Cool! Tell me about your internship with Splunk.
My favorite project was from this summer. I built out a Duo dashboard that will allow Baylor executives to see how many students are using Duo authentication. That was probably one of my favorite projects because I helped out an organization that I'm a part of. [Interning with Splunk] was nice because I got to work with people who were a lot older than me and it made me want to catch up to them because they know a lot more than me. It was cool to travel and get a feel for engineering. It also helped develop the idea that I wanted to be an engineer. Just having that experience, made me feel that, for sure, I want to complete this degree. If anything it gave me more motivation to graduate with this degree.
How did you get the internship?
So I went to recruiting events for big companies like Apple, Google… And, that’s when I discovered Splunk. I was interested in [Splunk] because they're growing super-fast and their work motto is "have fun while working hard". So when you go to the office, there's game rooms, there’s full cafeterias, there's sleeping pods... everything. But everybody there is working their hardest and that's the type of environment I want to be in. That's when I knew that that's the company I want to work for.
How do you think your experience at Baylor prepared you for going into the position at Splunk?
One of the biggest ways Baylor prepared me would probably be social skills. I think having smaller classrooms, and having that more personal relationship with professors allowed me to feel more comfortable talking out loud. Speaking, the little presentations we had to do, basically just feeling uncomfortable with myself in a smaller environment, allowed me to expand when I went into bigger crowds and around a lot more people.
Daunte is now a full-time engineer at Splunk. His job is to talk to clients all over the world to help solve complex problems regarding big data. He is in pursuit of becoming an engineer with both Security and Cloud Subject Matter Expert (SME) certifications at Splunk. You might get a chance to meet Daunte! He will be at Baylor Cyber Day October 15-16 during Hackfest as a Splunk representative helping contestants gain real-time statistical insight into their competitors.