Hometown: Chattanooga, TN
Current Job: Student
MS Program: Computer Science
Why did you choose UTC CECS?
I had recently gotten laid off from my job and moved back to Chattanooga (in parent's basement) and realized I would need more education to get my career where I wanted it to be. Computer Science or really more a technical field in general was a huge reason I chose the computer science path. In addition, relative to other options (i.e. MBA), computer required minimal prep and application process (GRE, references, etc). I do not think this is a bad thing - computer science is very niche and technical. Your ability to excel would not remotely be determined by these types of requirements. Ultimately, UTC was close to home and provided a great program. I could get started in a new field without extensive experience and not require the overwhelming stress and demands of a program like MIT or Georgia Tech. This is not said in a way to downplay UTC relative to top universities; UTC provided everything I needed at the level I needed.
What is your career ambition and how is the MS program helping you get there?
I want to grow and manage in a large company, make money, and retire ASAP (sort of kidding). But really, I do not have a specific career goal other than continually moving up and growing in pay and responsibility. In reality, there will be points that I won't always succeed in this, my MS of Computer Science provides a solid technical background that I can always fall back on. At the same time, it opens additional doors that I will not have to worry about down the road (i.e. quite a few companies these days require some form of Master's to reach a certain pay scale/level in company).
What have you liked about the MS program?
It provided a great background for someone coming with absolutely no technical background. Not too in-depth and demanding, but challenging and extensive enough to find great jobs. I was able to work the entire time I was in my Master's program. I feel that some programs (GaTech, MIT) do not provide that luxury.
Did you take any online courses?
Yes. It is convenient, but I feel that it is too easy to cut some corners to get a grade and get out. I believe the best for MS would 66% in-person (6hours) and 33% online (3 hours). This is what I did most of the time I was at UTC. Allowed me to work and get in-person help. Obviously, COVID changed this, but just my opinion.
What opportunities have you had during your degree program to gain other skills?
I worked in the SimCenter for about 2 years and had a great experience. You gain a TON of real-world applicable skills while getting a tuition stipend and regular pay. It would be an opportunity lost if you didn’t get involved with UTC research. It is well paid work that you have plenty of opportunity to just learn; mistakes and not knowing the full answer is oftentimes okay in research as long as you can provide reasoning and proof. I also started interning with TVA shortly after starting research with UTC. It led me to my full-time job today.
Have you had support from CECS faculty/staff?
Dr. Kandah - great guy. Helped me from day 1 to now.
How has the program helped you?
Better jobs, more opportunity, low student debt, highly sought-after degree.
What has been the best part of your experience?
Graduating (joke). Working with UTC in the SimCenter - like I said above, it is just a great way to get paid to learn on real-world applications. If you are considering applying to one of our CECS graduate programs at UTC, do it!
<< Back to List