BY YAFFI SPODEK | SUNDAY, JAN 17, 2021
Software engineer Hugh Bennett had been searching for a suitable graduate program for years, “but it was hard to find a high-quality master’s program that I could attend while keeping my full-time job,” he recalled. When he heard about the Professional Master of Science in Computer Science program at the Florida Atlantic University College of Engineering and Computer Science, he knew he had discovered the perfect opportunity.
“This program was the best investment of time and money I’ve ever made, and the courses exceeded my expectations,” said Hugh, who works as a Software Engineer & Technology (E&T) Manager at Lockheed Martin. Prior to that, he was a staff software engineer at Stryker. “The program changed my life and was instrumental in me making a complete career switch,” he said. “I am incredibly grateful to FAU for the opportunity they’ve given me and could not be prouder to be an FAU student.”
The Professional MS in CS is an accelerated graduate program specifically tailored toward working professionals who want to pursue an advanced degree while continuing their career. Last summer, the program celebrated its first graduating cohort, an ambitious group of students who were interested in gaining new skills to expand their areas of expertise and progress in their careers.
“We are excited to offer this unique program, which provides a cutting-edge education to working professionals in the high-tech industry who would like to grow their skillset and become more competitive in the job market,” said Dr. Mihaela Cardei, associate dean for Graduate Studies and professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science. “We are thrilled that our students have been able to secure prestigious jobs at leading companies, as they apply the new skills and innovative concepts they have learned in our program.”
The 30-credit master’s degree can be completed in just one year, with a flexible schedule that includes online sessions during the evenings and on weekends. The program consists of 10 four-week courses, with an emphasis on software engineering, Internet and medical systems, mobile app development, machine learning, data science, security, and healthcare informatics. The latest distance-learning technologies are used for off-campus student communication, including lectures, homework, projects, and exams, which allows participants to pursue their academic goals while remaining employed.
“The practical problem-solving based approach and the fast-paced nature of the MS in CS program is well-suited for working professionals,” said Ganesh Swaminathan, who is a software engineer at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “I know this degree is going to make me more marketable because the program on a broader scale is tailored to keep in pace with the latest developments in technology, mainly in the Internet of Things (IOT) world.”
When Terence Farmer first started the program, he was working as a Senior Risk Analyst for Southeast Toyota Finance. “Professionally, the program has already yielded value,” he said. “I accepted a new job supervising an Innovation team focused on Data Science and Analytics, and the courses I took in Data Mining and Emerging Wireless Networks are directly applicable to my new role.”
Terence also praised the program’s faculty and staff for their professionalism and commitment to excellence.
“The administration is exceptional,” he said. “The professors were very supportive and responsive and always provided guidance. As a full-time employee, it was crucial to have this invaluable resource.”
Other students valued the opportunity to network with like-minded professionals.
“One of the things that I enjoyed most about the program was that it allowed me to expand my professional network with engineers, data analysts, and managers from other local companies in my field,” said Delia Drumm, a Senior Cloud Technical Program Manager at Citrix. “It also allowed me to gain hands-on experience in different areas of the computer science field, such as tools used in machine learning and developing home automation with Raspberry Pi, to name a few, which I likely would not have been exposed to at my job.”