University of Chicago Masters Program in Computer Science alumni push boundaries and innovate across many facets of the 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 and 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.
Tran Le, recent graduate of the Joint MPCS/Booth program, is a Product Support Manager at Google. She talked to us about what makes her feel most fulfilled, why she loved the Cloud Computing course, and how the MPCS helped her find success at Google.
What does a great day at work look like for you?
A great day at work is when I can make significant progress on my projects by working together with my teammates and other stakeholders. A lot of my work requires collaboration cross-functionally and if the team works well together, I feel the most fulfilled.
What do you enjoy most about your profession?
The fast pace and constant changes in tech pose new challenges every day. As someone who enjoys learning and solving new puzzles, this is the best industry to be in.
Which programming language/technical skills do you use most often at work?
While I don't program at work, I do work with Product Managers and Engineers, and the conversation often requires understanding about databases and system design.
Did you come to MPCS with a computer science background? What motivated you to apply and enroll?
Prior to MPCS, I was mainly self-taught when it came to programming. Additionally, I was an entrepreneur with a focus on technology and regularly worked with developers. I wanted to acquire more CS knowledge to deepen my skill and communicate better with developers and engineers.
What was your reason for applying to the Joint program?
I am passionate about entrepreneurship and have built various tech products. I wanted to become a more creative and efficient tech founder, and I knew I could do that by coming to Chicago and deepening my skills in business and computer science.
Would you recommend MPCS to others? If so, why?
Definitely, especially if you want to get into the tech industry. The MPCS program is very strong. Regardless of the role, CS knowledge helps tremendously when you discuss projects with your teammates.
What is your favorite memory from your time as an MPCS student?
Getting through the final Cloud Computing project and discussing the challenges with my MPCS friends.
What was your favorite MPCS course? Why?
Algorithms: I love Math so this was a great combination of Math and CS. Additionally, I found Algorithms to be one of the most useful courses that will prepare you well for technical interviews.
Cloud Computing: this was a very difficult course, but it helped me quickly understand one of the fastest growing tech fields. This course will also be necessary for system design interviews.
Web development: just a fun and hands-on course. Who wouldn't like creating your own website?
How has your MPCS education helped you achieve your professional goals?
Transitioning from consulting, my MPCS education helped me attain the knowledge required to be successful at Google. My manager and teammates also recognized my technical skill, which means I was given more technically challenging projects.
What is a piece of advice you’d give someone considering applying to MPCS?
Since there are many different career paths you can take after attaining an MPCS degree, it's important to have the clarity on which path you want to follow before coming to the program. It allows you to have a more focused curriculum.
Do you have any career advice for someone who's pursuing a job in your current field?
Build up projects that showcase your work. A lot of your interviews or conversations with colleagues will revolve around these projects. With proven success, you will earn more trust and respect from your teammates and managers.