My transition from a Software Engineer to a CS grad student

Date published: 20-Aug-2019

Around the beginning of the previous year, I realized that it was taking me a lot of time to make any decision that would be important for our software system as compared to my peers. It was mostly because of my lack of undergraduate preparation in Computer Science that I decided to bring myself up to their mark, by working on some personal projects and online courses.

I took the burden of preparing myself and devised a plan that included me to work on various courses listed from different online learning platforms and also to work on some related projects through online tutorials that would help me get a practical knowledge of those courses. By the end of the year, I had gone through several online courses and developed many personal projects, but I still felt somewhat the same as I felt during the beginning of the year. These are the mistakes that I noticed that I made:

  1. Working on online courses:
    1. Online courses are not some courses that give you an in-depth knowledge of some topic, they just brush onto it
    2. They are mostly related to the tools and their usage, but they lack theoretical knowledge, which I needed the most
    3. They lack comprehensive tests and assignments
    4. I also realized that since I was working full time and did not have much time, I just worked on the easiest part of the courses and just tried to just pass the classes, instead of fully understanding them, hence entirely ignoring the point of this experiment.
  2. Working on personal projects:
    1. I mostly followed online tutorials and tried to make something different from the project that they aimed to make in the tutorial
    2. I should've carefully planned my projects, instead of just aiming to create a long list of projects for my portfolio

Discerning the above mistakes, I decided to go for a Master's degree because of the following reasons:

  1. I would not only learn the advanced topics in Computer Science, but this would also give me a chance to solidify my fundamentals.
  2. The university's study plan would be a lot better than my own study plan to become a better Computer Scientist.
  3. By studying full time, I would be able to go into the depths of each subject and not just touch the surface of it, as the online courses do.

Keeping all this in mind, I have started my graduate studies from yesterday, and I am excited to pursue my learning journey here at UT Dallas. Wish me luck!