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.
Ming Roush-Ding, Class of 2014, is a Senior Software Engineer at Solstice Mobile. Ming shares a typical day in the life of a senior software engineer at a mobile company, why she chose The University of Chicago and what she loves most about her profession.
Did you come to MPCS with a computer science background?
No, I did not come to MPCS with a computer science background. My undergraduate major was Business Economics. I had done some coding on my own, but had no formal training.
What motivated you to apply and enroll in MPCS?
I was in an entirely different career and wanted to change to a CS field.
How has your MPCS education helped you achieve your professional goals?
Without a background to prove what CS skills I had, it was difficult to switch fields. The program provided me a great stepping stone for jumping to my new career. Once I had my MPCS education, I had many opportunities that hadn’t been open to me before.
How did you first hear about Solstice Mobile? What attracted you to the company?
I heard about Solstice Mobile from my MPCS classmate, Julie Soliman. I was attracted to the fun, lively environment and the intelligent, driven people who work there.
What drew you to a role in mobile development?
I love building. It’s cool to see what you’ve built come to life and in the hands of millions of people.
What does a typical work day at Solstice Mobile look like for you?
My day is usually a mix of working with my client, working with the other developers on my team, and focusing on my own development. When I’m working with my client, it usually involves providing suggestions on the best way to implement features, explaining what’s technically feasible, and planning the most efficient way to get things done. When working with other developers, we often get together for technical design meetings where we’ll propose how we want to build features and bounce ideas off each other. The environment at Solstice is very collaborative.
What do you enjoy most about your profession?
I love the environment I work in. The exposure in my office to technology of the future, virtual reality, IoT, etc. is awesome and fun. I absolutely love thinking about possibilities of the future, and it’s cool to see people messing with these possibilities and making them a reality. The intelligent individuals I work with and the forward-thinking, lively culture I work in excites me.
A number of MPCS graduates work with you at Solstice, what about MPCS prepares someone for a role at Solstice in particular?
Since Solstice is a mobile company, the mobile development classes would be important to take for someone who wanted to join Solstice. Other classes that strengthen your foundation and teach basics like OOP are also very important.
What does it mean to you to be a woman in tech?
It doesn’t matter who or what you are, you should go for what you want.
Would you recommend MPCS to others? If so, why?
Yes. The program is full of great people, both students and faculty. I especially recommend the program to people who don’t have a Computer Science background that want to get into a CS field. As I said above, the program provides a great stepping stone for jumping to a new career. The program also allows you to explore different CS fields so that you may find what interests you most.
What is a piece of advice you’d give someone considering applying to UChicago’s Masters Program in Computer Science?
If you’re considering the program because you like CS and you’re thinking of a change in careers, but are worried about leaving your old career behind, it’s worth it. You should use the classes as tools to let you learn more on your own. Truly dive into what interests you. You should go for what you love and what makes you happy.