My undergrad years
In 2005, I attended the University of Massachusetts: Dartmouth to enroll in their B.S. Computer Science degree program. Due to some difficulties with the coursework, I ended up switching majors and pursued a B.A. in History and Sociology-Anthropology. This gave me the opportunity to spend a semester abroad in Beijing, China so that I could pursue one of my interests which is Chinese history and culture. As a child, I grew up in a very Chinese neighborhood and had a lot of Chinese friends. I wanted to learn more about China and felt that the best way for me to do that was by visiting the country first-hand.
I graduated from UMass: Dartmouth in 2010 and was offered a scholarship to study abroad in Chongqing, China. I was able to spend a year studying Chinese at Chongqing University. In addition to learning Chinese, I also got a taste for teaching English. I found out that I had a natural knack for presenting and this would become important to me once I arrived back in the United States.
My time as an ESL Teacher
Upon arriving back in the United States, I had trouble finding a job. In addition to the United States still recovering from the 2008 financial crisis, it turns out that there aren't a lot of positions available for someone with a degree in history and anthropology. I decided to go back to school chose to pursue a M.Ed. degree in TESOL at Boston University. I finished my degree in 2013 and was offered a position as a lead teacher at the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center. I taught English at BCNC for three years.
My time as a computer science student
After teaching ESL for 3 years, I was starting to get burnt out. Although I was good at it, it wasn't brining me the sort of joy that I hoped for in a career. After some intense soul-searching, I started to re-pursue my interest in computer science. I started learning programming on my own, and eventually created an application for my school that helped teachers prepare their lesson plans. Inspired by this success, I applied for Oregon State University's online B.S. Comptuer Science post-baccalaureate program. I was accepted into the program, and after my first few semesters I started applying for internships to get my foot in the door. I got extremely lucky and landed my first job at Monster Worldwide Inc. as an associate release engineer.
I stayed on with Monster for a little over a year, before I sought out my next job. I didn't want to become pigeon-holed into a release engineering role, so I found a new job at another company in 2017 as an associate software developer. Unfortunately, that job didn't last too long and due to some economic troubles, I was laid off in 2018. In 2019 I wound up at my current position working as a junior developre for KBR, Inc. and I have been with them for over two years now. I work in Cambridge at the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center and am doing a lot of interesting work for the government.
After starting with KBR, I decided to leave OSU's program and switch instead to Boston University's M.S. in Computer Science program. My reason for doing so was three-fold:
- The time and money investment would be the same, so it is better to end up with a master's degree than a bachelor's
- I had previously attended BU for another master's degree and was well aware of the quality of their programs
- I had been taking online courses at OSU and felt I was missing out on a lot by not having an in-classroom experience
Even though I had already completed half of OSU's CS program, I still felt leaving it to start at Boston University was the right decision. So that's where I am today. I am working full-time in the field that I love and pursuing a degree in a subject I had parted ways from a very long time ago!