University of Chicago Masters Program in Computer Science alumni push boundaries and innovate across many facets of industry. Whether it’s developing seamless UX interfaces, engineering software at fortune 500 companies, working in big data or keeping networks secure; our esteemed alumni use their applied skills education from MPCS to problem-solve, create, and elevate the computer science field. Learn from their stories and discover how a CS background can prepare you for cutting edge careers and leadership roles.
Mark Meyer, class of 2014, is a Staff Engineer at TravelJoy. Here, he discusses how classes at the MPCS helped him build web applications and why Software Engineering is a rewarding career.
What does a great day at work look like for you?
Bringing joy and delight to our customers. We're a very small team (just four people), and we work directly with customers on a daily basis. Delivering features that makes someone's life that much easier is so rewarding.
What do you enjoy most about your profession?
I love that it's constantly changing and evolving. Computer Science is a rapidly growing field and its applications are ever increasing.
Which programming language/technical skills do you use most often at work?
Right now it's mostly Ruby on Rails, but I've done everything from C, C++, C#, Java, Python, and iOS to a bunch of Big Data and Machine Learning technologies.
Describe a problem at work that your MPCS knowledge helped you solve.
When building web applications there's a real need to model the entities in a database in a logical and performant way. The Databases course really taught me how to do this skill. Building Twitter v1 from scratch was such a great way to learn how the different pieces work together and how to keep things working at scale.
Did you come to MPCS with a computer science background? What motivated you to apply and enroll?
My undergraduate degree was in Engineering Physics where I did research on Dark Energy, which involved a lot of programming. I quickly realized that's where my passion laid. I accepted a programming job prior to joining the program and really felt like the formal education would be beneficial in the long run - which I definitely know is true now.
Would you recommend MPCS to others? If so, why?
I would definitely recommend it. MPCS has a great emphasis on real world applications and technologies that are very useful today, while still providing the core fundamentals of Computer Science.
What is your favorite memory from your time as an MPCS student?
Gerry Brady’s Algorithms course is a true challenge which covers a large swath of material very quickly. She really pushes you to learn to think "algorithmically" and it's a skill that you will use everyday. Working hard at that class and earning an A is among my favorite takeaways.
What was your favorite MPCS course? Why?
I really enjoyed both iOS courses. I remember trying to build an iOS app from following a tutorial and found just opening Xcode to be super daunting. Throughout the series of two courses we covered every nook and cranny of iOS development and built out quite a portfolio of apps that was helpful in my job hunt. I also built a game as a final project that I really enjoyed playing.
How has your MPCS education helped you achieve your professional goals?
I was really looking to accelerate my skills and MPCS covered so many topics that I've encountered in the real world like Database Design or iOS or Web app development.
What is a piece of advice you’d give someone considering applying to MPCS?
MPCS is a great program if you're looking to gain the fundamentals of Computer Science along with a wide variety of applicable skills and technologies. Having the resources of a world class research institution is a real plus too.
Do you have any career advice for someone who's pursuing a job in your current field?
Software Engineering is a really rewarding career. Software is in basically every industry and the ability to create great tools and products is very beneficial. The learning curve is steep and the road is long, but the results are worth it!