HHKB Spotlight: Featuring Computer Science Student, Daniel Vega

Happy Hacking keyboards are tools for creators and professionals. Today, we had the opportunity to talk with University of Michigan Computer Science student, Daniel (Danny) Vega, about his dreams for the future, and why he loves his HHKB.

HHKB: Hi Danny, let’s start with learning a bit more about your background. Tell us a little about yourself.

Danny: Hi my name is Daniel Vega, I am 18 years old, and I attend the University of Michigan where I am a sophomore majoring in computer science in the College of Engineering. I’m a second-generation Latino and was raised in Crystal Lake, IL, a Chicago suburb. I’ve always enjoyed problem-solving, which eventually led me to decide on computer science as my major.

HHKB: What made you choose University of Michigan for undergrad?

Danny: All my life I struggled to find a balance between my love for academics (more specifically math and programming) and my love for sports. I found that balance when I explored the University of Michigan, which ultimately led me to decide to attend there.


Man standing aside a letter M structure.

HHKB: What got you interested in programming and computer science?

Danny: The main factor that blossomed my interest in programming was the opportunity to build algorithms and transfer my thoughts to code. There is a rewarding feeling one gets when a challenging problem is solved in a way that is unique to yourself.

HHKB: As of now, what is your favorite part of your major and programming in general?

Danny: My favorite part of my major is learning from brilliant professors and learning a myriad of ways to code. My favorite part in programming is exploring as many possible perspectives and approaches to different algorithms in which every approach achieves the same end goal.

HHKB: Have you picked a specific concentration to focus on? If so, what is it?

Danny: I am still deciding on a specific concentration. But, personally, the most intriguing concentrations for me are software development and artificial intelligence.

HHKB: What programming languages have you learned so far? Which one is your favorite?

Danny: So far I have learned Java, C++, and Swift. My favorite programming language is C++.

HHKB: What is the most challenging part of computer science for you? How do you overcome it?

Danny: The most challenging part of computer science for me is being amongst other computer scientists who are brilliant at what they do. The challenge of feeling like another fish in the sea is real and the way that I overcome it is by being confident in myself and believing in my ability to be competitive with the rest of the fish in the sea.

HHKB: How valuable has the programming community been to help you learn more of what you are interested in/working on in school?

Danny: The programming community at the University of Michigan resembles more of a family rather than a community, and therefore many conversations and experiences have influenced my interest in algorithmic programming and data structures.


University student standing in U Michigan quad with an HHKB keyboard.

HHKB: Outside of school, have you taken on any programming projects, internships, or jobs?

Danny: Outside of school, I work on mobile app development. I am currently working on an app where you can create groups in which messages and reminders can be set and sent, essentially creating an app where reminders and calendars can be found all in one place.

HHKB: What would you like to do in the future with your computer science degree? What would be your dream job?

Danny: In the future, I hope to work for a company that has a lot of software development opportunities and create complex algorithms for real-world applications. My dream job would be working on an app that creates a user-friendly interface, however, behind the scenes many complex algorithms mix cohesively to create the final product.

HHKB: What first got you into mechanical keyboards?

Danny: I’ve always been drawn to customization. Whether it customizing my cleats with my name inscribed, customizing my laptop settings, or customizing my algorithm. Naturally, the customization capabilities drew me into mechanical keyboards. Having a keyboard that is a reflection of myself brings me joy. The other, more efficient, reason that got me into mechanical keyboards is that I program consistently. Having a keyboard that is gentle on my hands and fingers where I could type for hours (literally) got me into mechanical keyboards.

HHKB: How familiar were you with mechanical keyboards before HHKB?

Danny: My familiarity with mechanical keyboards was limited before HHKB, as I got all my information from YouTube when I would watch “A Day in the Life of a Computer Scientist,” or tech videos. However, after investing in a HHKB, I was introduced to the magnitude an extraordinary keyboard can have in my daily life.

HHKB: Why did you choose HHKB?

Danny: I chose HHKB due to its continual commitment to excellence in creating the best possible experience for their users by making a comfortable yet productive keyboard.

HHKB: Which HHKB do you own?

Danny: I own the HHKB Professional HYBRID Type-S.


Student playing tennis.

HHKB: Do you use HHKB in your regular work?

Danny: Yes. My HHKB comes into my regular work most consistently when I’m programming for classes or when I’m writing lab reports/essays.

HHKB: What is your favorite part about the HHKB?

Danny: My favorite part about my HHKB is how responsive it is and how my hands are always comfortable when typing on the keyboard.

HHKB: How do you feel the layout helps you?

Danny: The layout does help me with what I do. Having a compact keyboard allows me to be mobile with work. Going from my dorm room to the library, to the classroom, I can pick up exactly where I left off in a different environment with the same reliable keyboard. Having the arrow keys within range of my ring and pinky finger also increases my efficiency when programming and debugging.

HHKB: Does your HHKB have any customizations?

Danny: Currently, I do not, however, I am looking into getting unique keycaps that I can add to my keyboard to make it feel more like my own.

HHKB: Are there additional features you would like to see on our keyboard?

Danny: This is a bit of a reach, however, I think it would be a unique element of customization if certain keys had college designs. For example, an M is the University of Michigan Logo, the H key has a Harvard customization, and so on.

HHKB: What other tools/equipment do you use?

Danny: I use a MacBook pro, Samsung 34” monitor, Gamestart mouse, Logitech speakers, and apple air pods max for my headphones.

HHKB: Where do you see yourself after graduating college? What are your long-term goals/plans?

Danny: I hope to land a job in Chicago or in the suburbs programming and intend on developing my career working for strong software companies for 10-15 years and then going back to Crystal Lake and teaching computer science. I also hope to give back to the community by starting a non-profit that helps underprivileged kids have access to technology where they can program and flourish intellectually.

HHKB: What do you like to do in your free time?

Danny: In my free time, I enjoy working out and playing soccer. The alternative that I enjoy is playing video games like FIFA and Fortnite.


Five young men playing soccer on field.

HHKB: Are you involved in any clubs or extracurricular activities at the University of Michigan?

Danny: I am involved in MDST which is the Michigan Data Science Team, where we investigate different data sets and explore possibilities of data analysis.

HHKB: What is your favorite part about going to the University of Michigan?

Danny: My favorite about going to the University of Michigan is having a large community of individuals who have the same dedication to succeeding academically and furthering their careers through the resources that the University of Michigan offers, as well as being surrounded by the same individuals who have pride in our University as we support Michigan athletics.