I worked full-time for three years, first at a small accounting firm, and then at BDO, a big firm. The industry’s standard software program was built in, like, 1998, and I’d spend more time waiting for it to load than doing the work. There had to be a better way—I wanted to design better software.
Being in accounting, I can analyze numbers and information, so I wanted to combine skill sets and learn programming. Align is designed for people who don’t have a computer science degree. I couldn’t find that anywhere else. Taking advantage of the Double Husky Scholarship was a no-brainer, too.
I had very little programming experience before I stepped foot on campus. Learning computer science is a lot like learning a language. You have to do it every day. You have to dive right in and really commit.
I sometimes meet up with classmates from my cohort to study before an exam or to tackle a certain problem. It’s helpful to have people who are in the same shoes as me and who have different backgrounds. Who are there to learn and are motivated, but also willing to help.
The master’s program is intimidating at first, but I know I can do it because I was so well prepared from the bridge program. It’s rewarding to see how far I’ve come in just a few months. That’s really incredible. I was a beginner at best, and now I feel like I can compete with anyone on the job market.
I like my Data Mining course because it’s engineering-focused. It’s a lot of intensive, practical implementations of problems—things that you would do on the job. That’s really a Northeastern-style course, where it prepares you well for the workforce.
I’m looking at data engineering and data science roles in the financial space, so I can combine my analytical background and computer science skills. My diverse experience and diverse domain knowledge of the field I want to design software for is a big leg up on the competition.
I’m also working on my own tools to help accountants do their job better, so hopefully I’ll have my own company. That’s the end goal.