What inspired you to choose the Graduate Certificate in Software Design & Development program at UW Bothell?
When I was getting my undergraduate degree in biology, I thought it would be interesting to take a computer science class, but was discouraged by too many people telling me it was incredibly difficult and a “GPA killer.” Years later, while working in administration at UW, I decided to finally give it a try and took several undergraduate coding classes. I enjoyed them so much that I decided to switch careers to software engineering. The GCSDD was the best option for me because it covered the most fundamental knowledge needed to become familiar with coding, and it could be completed while I continued to work full time.
What would you say makes the program unique or innovative?
The fact that it is condenses the foundational knowledge of a bachelor’s degree in computer science into three quarters. It’s a wonderful opportunity for those with no computer science experience to get their foot in the door, and either work towards building a career in tech or prepare for a master’s program.
What are some highlights from your student experience?
Meeting like-minded people with similar goals and unique backgrounds. Several of my GCSDD classmates are some of the kindest, most impressive people I know, and continue to be my close friends to this day.
What courses did you enjoy the most?
Data Structures and Object-Oriented Programming II (CSS 502) with Dr. Min Chen. You get to dig deep into the most important data structures and learn how to work with them, which is some of the most crucial knowledge needed for technical interviews. Dr. Chen does an incredible job making it approachable. Dr. Brechner’s classes on software management are also fantastic and focus on topics more directly relevant to working in the industry.
What were the most challenging and rewarding parts of being a student?
The most challenging part was doing it while working full time. Even though classes only meet for a few hours a week, the material is extremely challenging and the workload is enormous. The most rewarding parts were getting through classes despite these challenges and being able to look back on the quarter and realize how much you learned in less than three months.
Do you have any advice for future students?
Find yourself a study group. You will learn better, get practice coding as part of a team, and most likely meet some really awesome people.
Where are you currently working, and what is your job title?
I started as a software development engineer (SDE) at the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, and then I worked at SmartDeploy part-time while doing the master’s program in Computer Science & Software Engineering. Now I’m a SDE at DynamoDB in Amazon Web Services.
How has completing the graduate certificate program helped you in meeting your educational and professional career goals?
I was lucky enough to get my job immediately after graduating. I would not have had the necessary knowledge and experience for it without the GCSDD.
What advice do you have for others regarding the career search during and post graduate certificate completion?
The GCSDD will provide a great foundation but is only half the battle. Studying for technical interviews, preparing your resume, and submitting good job applications is the other half. These will be as hard, if not harder than the classes, so start working on them as early as you can in the program.
Are there any other thoughts you would like to share?
If your goal for completing the GCSDD is to get a job, don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen immediately. It might not be easy – it took me six months of technical interview prepping and over 100 applications to get my job. It might not take you as long, or take longer, but every practice problem completed and application submitted is valuable experience.