Lily Fan’s parents were hoping she’d become a doctor. She graduated college with a degree in biology but quickly found herself unsatisfied with research and lab work. She found herself drawn to a more technical career. “I like logical things that make things work,” she said.
Enina Bogdani was at a similar crossroads. After working several jobs unrelated to her undergraduate degree, also in biology, and hearing from friends how rewarding their jobs in tech were, she felt it was time to make a real change.
Although both women had completed only a few computer science courses on the side, they decided to make a career switch to software engineering. When it came to learning something as complex as software development, however, both Lily and Enina realized they needed a structured learning environment.
“At first, I thought about teaching myself how to code, but I knew I needed an academic route to fit my personality and learning style,” said Enina. Lily agreed and added, “I think there’s so much to manage when it comes to self-learning, and I knew I needed a formulated class.”
They enrolled in the UW Bothell’s Graduate Certificate in Software Design & Development (GCSDD), a nine-month online or on-campus program designed to help students learn the fundamentals of computer science and software development.
The Graduate Certificate in Software Design & Development program provides a pathway for people who are interested in software development but who have little programming experience. What’s more, if students complete the program, it offers a bridge to admission to the Master of Science in Computer Science & Software Engineering or the Master of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering at UW Bothell.
The graduate certificate helped Lily land a job at Microsoft, where she works as a software engineer in a research department building AI (artificial intelligence) platforms for private companies.
“What I love about my job is I get to work as a back-end programmer where I talk to scientists about the latest AI technologies, and then with my front-end team, I get to talk to my customers who tell me what they specifically want.”
A combination of content knowledge and networking in the Graduate Certificate in Software Design & Development program guided Enina to her current job at Amazon as a software developer.
“It was a lot easier than how I got my first job, which was by applying to jobs every day while working full time and going to school. Meeting the professors and other people who work in the industry was just as valuable as what I actually learned in class.”
Despite the lingering stigma of computer science still being a male-dominated field, both women have been surprised by the supportive and positive environments in both the program and the subsequent job searches.
“I even counted the ratio of women to men in class one day and it was roughly half,” Enina said. She had some advice for women thinking of entering the software engineering field.
“Things probably won’t come easy, but it is so worth it. If you feel like you want to do it, you can absolutely go back to school. Just go for it.”
Lily chimed in, “My advice is don’t be afraid. If you want to get into tech, the GCSDD program is a great way to do it. You’ll learn a lot in a very short period of time, and most importantly, you’ll learn what you need to get a job.” Learn more about UW Bothell’s Graduate Certificate in Software Design & Development Register for an information session or sign up for their email list on the program website. You can also follow them on Facebook for the latest updates.
Learn more about UW Bothell’s Graduate Certificate in Software Design & Development, register for an information session or sign up for their email list on the program website. You can also follow them on Facebook for the latest updates.