Kay Hazen: The Force Behind the Masters in Software Development

Kay Hazen MSDMeet Kay Hazen, the dynamic Program Manager for MIU’s Masters of Software Development (MSD)program.  Kay has a strong business and educational background, including working in Career Strategies for the MS in Computer Science (ComPro) for several years before joining MSD. Currently, Kay wears two hats, as both MSD Program Manager and Director of the MSD Career Strategies Workshop. With her solid experience and diverse skills, we are fortunate to have Kay onboard.  Let’s learn about Kay and all she does to ensure the success of the MSD program and its graduates.

Interview by Christine Albers (CA)

CA: What are your responsibilities as Program Manager for MSD?

Kay: I make sure the program runs fluidly; from advertising to reviewing student applications, to making sure the students are comfortable when they arrive on campus. In addition, I run the Career Strategies Workshop. It’s the last course each student takes, so I’m involved every step of the way during their journey, from start to finish.

CA: The Career Strategies Workshop is a vital part of MSD, as every student’s entire goal is to get a great job when they graduate. What do you cover during this time?

Kay: During this 2-week workshop they learn how to find the position they want to apply for, write a professional resume, ask and answer questions during interviews, and write a follow-up thank-you note. These soft skills give them confidence in promoting themselves and handling interviews, so when they complete the workshop, they literally can’t wait to jump into the job search.

CA:  How do the students know where to apply? It’s a big world out there!

Kay: There might be 1,000’s of positions to choose from, but we help them decide where to apply. For example, do they want a corporate culture where they wear suits and ties and work with top-tier global consulting firms? Or do they prefer an informal setting where they can wear t-shirts and jeans? What are the technologies they will be working on? Where is the job located?  Do they want to live there? Is the company only offering a salary, or are benefits included? These are the things to consider before starting their job search.

CA: Do you teach them how to promote themselves on social media as well?

Kay: Definitely! They learn how to promote themselves online on sites such as LinkedIn, Dice, Indeed, and Career Builder. In addition, the MSD website has a landing page where recruiters can review their resumes, and we try to make sure the students only work with professional recruiters. We also encourage them to network with friends and associates who work in companies where they want to apply.

CA: How long does it take for MSD graduates to land a job?

Kay: In a good market the job search can take 3 to 6 months and at times, up to a year. However, our graduates are getting jobs quickly because they are well-prepared. They know what type of company they want to work in and have developed quality interviewing skills. Another advantage that our students have is that we partner with companies who seek the technical skills that our students have.

CA:  What is your success rate?

Kay: Our graduates are doing great! 100% of our August 2020 graduates and about 50% of our August 2021 graduates have accepted positions at top US companies including Google, Citibank, USAA, Hays Companies, Boeing, and others, with an average annual pay of $90,000 (ranging from $71,000 to $130,000).

CA: What makes you confident that MSD graduates have the technical skills needed for the job market?

Kay: MSD is different from a typical computer science program where they learn many technologies but the courses are shallower. Our classes are specific. The MSD students learn JavaScript web development. It’s the front end and back end for web and IOS, so it’s more hands-on than other programs. Plus, with MIU’s block system, they take one course at a time so it’s easier to focus and retain the knowledge.

CA: I understand the courses are project-based. Can you describe how that works?

Kay: The students work on 9 to11 projects during the year, and each one is similar to projects they would have in an actual workplace. Approaching the problem as a real-life project develops and establishes their skills and helps make them proficient JavaScript web developers.

CA: What are companies looking for in new hires, and software developers in particular?

Kay: First of all, the applicant needs to have strong technical skills, but soft skills are also in high demand. Many times, companies choose someone who is confident and comfortable in their own skin. The employer knows they will be sitting with this person for two-thousand hours a year and they want to hire someone who is easy to be around, driven to succeed and wants to continue to learn all that they can, because learning new technologies never ends in the field of software development.

CA:  Is this why perfecting the interview process is important?

Kay: Very much so. During the interview process, our graduates have an opportunity to demonstrate their technical skills, but they can also demonstrate that they are team players who show up on time, are excited about the company and its projects, are dedicated and professional and will bring those high standards to the workplace.

CA: What inspires you about working with MSD students?

Kay: I enjoy meeting people from all areas of the USA, and different countries and cultures, who have various perspectives on life. It is a joy to watch these students start a master’s program with little, if any, experience in developing software, and achieving a master’s degree and a life-changing new career.

They embark on this new path, leaving their jobs and families for 12 to 18 months to attend the Masters in Software Development program.   In the end, when they complete the program and find a great job, they are so happy they made that decision! They inspire me because they leave everything they know to come to this little town of Fairfield seeking higher education at MIU and take a chance on a new career path because they want a more fulfilling life, and they do it! It really is an honor to be a part of their journey.

Kay and Students at Picnic

The Masters of Software Development is a 12-month Accelerated program or 18-month Standard Track training program for U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents, and Asylees, to become software developers. Previous software development training or experience is not necessary to enroll in this program and any bachelor’s degree in any subject is eligible for admission. MSD is accepting applications for the February 2022 entry and the deadline is December 31st. For more information call or text 800-563-9673.

 

 

Deborah Igaba – On Her Way to Becoming a Successful Software Developer

Deborah Igaba MSD student headshotOriginally from Kampala, Uganda, Deborah Igaba traveled to the United States with her mother and younger sister in 2020, joining her older sister and brother who were living in Centreville, Virginia.  In this interview Deborah discusses life on the MIU campus, her experience with Transcendental Meditation and how it helps organize her mind for coding, and why she recommends the Master’s in Software Development program (MSD) for prospective JavaScript web developers.  Let’s meet Deborah!

Interview by Christine Albers (CA)

CA:  It’s wonderful that your entire family is living together in the USA, Deborah. Was it a culture shock when you arrived in Centreville, Virginia?

Deborah: It wasn’t too hard for us because we arrived during Covid and everything was quiet during that time. My older sister and brother were already living in Centreville, so our whole family was living together after some years, and we were very happy to be reunited.

CA: It’s wonderful that your mother moved to the United States with you. How did she adjust to living in the USA and Virginia? And how is everyone else in your family doing in the USA?

Deborah: It was hard for my mom. Imagine living your whole life in another place and then when you are older, moving to a completely different country. It was more difficult for her and I commend her for making such a big decision later in life. She’s doing great now and working as a nurse. My younger sister, who came with us, is in pharmacy school. My older sister is a pharmacist and my brother is a software engineer.

CA: What is your educational background?

Deborah: My undergraduate degree was in Civil Engineering which I studied back in Uganda. As part of my undergraduate curriculum, I had a chance to study the C++ programming language and that sparked my interest in the programming world. It was the very first time I encountered programming, but I knew wanted to pursue this career path in the future. As the years went by, my interest in computer programming grew.

CA: How did you learn about MIU?

 Deborah: I heard about MIU and the Masters in Software Development program (MSD) from my brother who graduated from the MS in Computer Science program (ComPro). He really enjoyed his time at MIU and recommended it highly. Now he has a great job working remotely for Cognizant. We are glad that he can live and work from home in Centreville, and our family can be together.

CA: What made you choose MIU instead of another university that teaches software development?

Deborah: I always wanted to be part of something that enabled me to maximize the full potential inside of me. When I read about the program and the teaching style at Maharishi University that involved Transcendental Meditation and the block system, I knew this was surely the place for me. Once the opportunity arose to apply for the MSD program, I decided to go for it!

CA: With your mother and sisters all in the medical field, were you tempted to go into pharmaceuticals?

Deborah: I’m not interested in working in the medical field, but I like to help people. Even during my programming career, I wanted to find a way to make a difference in this world. Right now, it’s too early to tell what I can do, but at the beginning of the course, I was interested in engineering, perhaps something like traffic simulation. There are programs that cause the traffic lights to time in synchrony, and all that is calculated, which fascinates me.

CA: Would you like to work remotely when you graduate?

Deborah: It’s different for people who come to the USA from another country. There is no state that we call home, so we can work in any state. But since my older sister lived in Centreville for 10 years and she knows it, and the rest of my family is living there, if I do have a choice, that is where I would like to live. But basically, I’m open to going anywhere.

CA: You started the program in August 2021. How far along are you now?

Deborah:  We have finished the foundational courses, which were a bit tough as there was a lot to cover in a short time. We are on our third course now, web application programming. I love it because it gives me a real feeling for what we will be doing as JavaScript web developers and how we will apply this knowledge. We are seeing the user experience – exactly what the user sees on the other end.

CA: Are you on the Accelerated or Standard Track?

Deborah: I’m on the 12-month Accelerated track, partly because I had C++ experience and because I did well enough on the entrance exam that they told me I could join the Accelerated Track.*

CA: How are your studies going?

Deborah: It’s challenging, and I have to put a lot of time into it, but it’s not impossible. I have learned to trust the process and bit by bit I am gaining the knowledge. For some people, like me, it takes a little longer to digest the information, but once I get it, I retain it.

CA: What are you enjoying most about the university?

Deborah: I’m actually enjoying the meals and a healthy lifestyle. I feel cleansed because I am eating healthy foods. I love the salad and even the dessert is healthy so I’m enjoying that as well. In our first STC course (Science and Technology of Consciousness), we learned how to have healthier habits like exercising, staying rested, eating healthily, and meditating regularly to stay clear and focused. I’ve been applying these lifestyle habits and it’s making a difference. I also love the block system.

CA: What do you love about the Block System?

Deborah: It’s wonderful. My sister is in pharmacy school,  and she is taking five course units at a time. In my program at MIU, I take one subject at a time and I can digest information much more quickly and easily because each subject builds on the last. I think every school should look into the block system.  It’s the best thing that could ever happen to any student because it makes learning so much easier.

CA: How are your professors?

Deborah: The professors are really good. I like how free they are with the students. You don’t feel limited any time you have to ask a question and they are very available for us as well. If you ask something they will get back to you almost immediately on Microsoft Teams and I really appreciate that.

CA: How’s your TM practice? Do you notice any benefits?

Deborah: I notice I’m much more organized. There’s a lot to remember with JavaScript, and with TM, my mind is organized so I can place everything where it needs to be. I don’t know how I could write 200 lines of code without that kind of clarity and orderliness in my thinking. For instance, if you open a tag and you forget to close it, this is not a good coding practice and it will be confusing. The code has to be in a particular position or scope in order to run perfectly. Without TM and a more focused mind, you are more likely to keep making errors. Also, I don’t feel as stressed as I would be without the daily meditation. Even though the program is a lot of work, for some reason I don’t feel stressed – and I think the reason is TM.

CA: You were saying that you joined a church in Fairfield and they made you feel welcome. How does your TM practice fit in with your religion?

Deborah: At the beginning, I was concerned and wondered if there might be a conflict, but our STC Professor, Dr. Wolfe said she likes to pray after her meditation. I find that TM is complimentary to someone’s religion. It quiets you and puts you in a place of solitude. After meditation is a beautiful time for me to pray because it feels like it’s just me and God.

CA: How’s dorm life?

Deborah: It’s great. My classmates live nearby and I love that there is a gym in the basement. I was worried about the cold in the winter and now I can get my exercise in my own building. It’s very convenient so I literally have no excuse. There are 2 treadmills, an elliptical machine, trampolines, a weight bench, and weights. I do my cardio on the treadmill or the trampoline and I also do weights. I like to exercise in the evening at 5:00 pm, right before dinner and homework.

Deborah and friends on campus

CA: How is the environment at MIU?

Deborah: I notice in Fairfield and at MIU, people are really warm. In a fast-paced city, you don’t get that. People don’t care. Here, it’s slower, which I like and it gives you a cushion, especially for people who are coming from a foreign country. I came to MIU from Virginia, and I’ve met people who are coming from Africa, and many other countries.  MIU is a good start for being in America. If you go straight to a big city from a foreign country, it could be a culture shock, but coming to MIU softens that.

CA: What inspires you about MIU and MSD?

Deborah: The combination of everything here at MIU – the block system, Transcendental Meditation, and the STC course where you learn daily habits and routines that work for you. You find out who you are, your body type according to Maharishi Ayur Veda, and learn exactly what foods and types of exercise, and daily routine you need to stay balanced. If someone goes by that, does their exercise, eats right, and gets good rest, the sky’s the limit. Obviously, there are nights when I stay up too late and I realize I didn’t accomplish anything after 10:00 pm, so I go to bed earlier the next night. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m definitely in a better place than I was when I arrived here.

CA: What would you say to other students applying to MSD? 

Deborah: It’s definitely a good program because it supports people who don’t have any background in computer science. I would tell them they definitely can do it because the professors understand where you are coming from, and they make it possible for you. The information is delivered in a way that you can understand the knowledge and the whole program and environment here is set up to help you succeed. As for me, I am optimistic at every stage of this journey that I can become one of the most successful female software developers.

 

Deborah is currently enrolled in the Masters of Software Development program and will begin applying for JavaScript web developer positions when her courses finish in August 2022. We wish her the best of luck and promise to keep you posted about her next adventure in the world of IT!

The Masters of Software Development is a 12-month Accelerated program or 18-month Standard Track training program for U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents, and Asylees, to become software developers. Previous software development training or experience is not necessary to enroll in this program and any bachelor’s degree in any subject is eligible for admission. MSD is now accepting applications for February 2022 and the deadline is December 31. For more information call or text 800-563-9673.

*The MSD Accelerated Track is the 12-month program for students who are accepted into the Standard Track and also pass the JavaScript Coding Test.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crystal McCay – Artist and Software Developer Going Places

My Name is Crystal McCay

By Christine Albers

Meet talented musician and upcoming software developer, Crystal McCay, who majored in music at the University of New Orleans and joined the Masters in Software Development (MSD) program with an interest in applying her studies to her background in music.   Crystal aspires to deepen her involvement in more aspects of her musical process, from writing and performing, to recording and sharing her own music. Remember her name – Crystal McCay –  because this artist is going places!

CA: Tell us about your background, Crystal.

Crystal: I was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee and I am part of the first generation of my family to be born in America. Both of my parents and the rest of my family were born in Liberia. My mom arrived in 1986 and my dad in 1991.  My dad earned his degree from Tennessee State University and has had a long and dedicated career as a respiratory therapist. He started the year I was born, so that makes 22 years. My parents met after arriving in the USA, and they were married near Nashville.

CA: Did growing up in Nashville have an influence on your love of music?

Crystal: Actually, the Nashville music scene was not the main influence on my musical journey. Music did not become a central focus in my life until I was 19. However, my high school had an excellent music program that I was fortunate to be part of. Our band director, Dr. Ripani,  got me involved in workshops and opportunities to perform that really expanded my musical foundations and personal growth.  I was a vocalist in our school’s jazz band, and I attended summer programs for vocalists at the Nashville Jazz Workshop. Looking back, I remember experiencing treasured moments of freedom, lightheartedness, and reinvention when I performed those songs. Those moments turned out to be hugely formative.

CA: How have you been involved musically recently?

Crystal:  The Covid pandemic created a pretty big shift in my musical activity. At the start of 2020, I was in a jazz band group, but this was quickly interrupted when Covid derailed society. The jazz band at school became virtual via Zoom, which is not a viable medium to play live with other musicians, so we did other projects instead. However, by the start of the spring 2021 semester, the rock band group was authorized to meet in person with masks. I joined, and this turned out to be a hugely expansive experience where I started to surmount many of the inhibitions I had faced while singing in the jazz band.

CA: Were you interested in pursuing music as a career while in high school?

 Crystal:  My main focus in high school was on science and math. By the time I was a sophomore, I set my sights on pursuing naval architecture and marine engineering, a field of engineering that focuses on ships and seafaring vessels. That was the interest that led me to the University of New Orleans.

CA: So, you started out as an engineering major but changed to music? What caused that change of heart?

Crystal:  After my freshman year of college, in May 2018, I started to practice yoga. This was my first exposure to meditation. As I continued my practice over the next several months, many elements of my life came together for the first time in a striking way, providing the context for an unfolding of a transcendent experience in October.  That’s when I discovered music. Seeing that it should always be a big part of my life, the very next month I applied to be a music major.

CA: So you discovered that music was your calling. How did you end up at MIU studying Computer Science?

 Crystal:  While I was working on my Bachelors in Music, I discovered there are often more layers to musical activities beyond performing itself. I recognized that technology is a powerful tool for sharing and delivering music. I’m interested in exploring the ways that software development intersects with music technology and how that knowledge and background in technology can enhance my ability to be more independent with my creativity.

CA: How do you expect that the Master’s in Software Development will help you reach people musically?

 Crystal: Today, the process of sharing music is largely based on the Internet. Music streaming apps are installed on our phones, and for many people, the computer is the main way to experience music daily. With knowledge of technology, I can reach more people and realize more creative possibilities.  Another area where music software is used is in the production of music recordings, and that is also a way to expand my skill-set as a musician.

CA:  I love the song you wrote, “Transcendence,” during your first course at MIU, “The Science and Technology of Consciousness.” Is this an example of what you hope to do with music and technology?

Crystal:  Transcendence is the first time I produced my own song using recording software, and also my first time writing a complete song from start to finish. I am glad for the song to be what it is, a very first step made by an amateur producer in a dorm room, sharing a personal message. If I do discover interests in working more with this aspect of music technology, then I hope to create more evolved products as I evolve in the art form.

Click to hear Crystal’s original song, “Transcendence

CA: How did you hear about MIU?

Crystal:  I was familiar with MIU for a long time because I saw Facebook ads for the university while I was still in high school. As someone who was so influenced by yoga and meditation, the fact that these things are important at MIU was one of the main attractions for me.

CA: Are you happy at MIU?

Crystal: There are a lot of things I like about the university.  I am definitely enjoying the block system which allows me to focus on the current course so I can deeply explore and spend time with the work I’m doing and achieve a better understanding. I also appreciate the presence of holistic ideas in this community, and I’m relieved to be in a place where vegetarian options are not auxiliary but are the main servings at meals.

CA: Is there anything you’d like to say to students who are applying for the MSD program?

Crystal:  I’d say it’s a great idea to challenge your cultural comfort zone because there are so many people here from many cultures and there is something to learn from everyone. You can form relationships that you might not have known were possible, so I would recommend being open to all the diversity that is here.

 

The Masters of Software Development is a 12- or 18-month training program for U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents, and Asylees, to become software developers. Previous software development training or experience is not necessary to enroll in this program and any bachelor’s degree in any subject is eligible for admission. MSD is now accepting applications for February 2022. For more information call or text 800-563-9673.

 

 

 

 

 

Why Sirak’s Friends are Joining the Master’s in Software Development

Sirak HeadshotSirak Tekle came to America from the country of Eritrea in 2015, with a background in electrical engineering. He learned about the Master’s in Software Development (MSD) program from a friend who graduated from the Computer Professionals (ComPro) program in 2016. Let’s see how Sirak is doing as an MSD student, why he tells his friends to come to MIU instead of going to boot camps – and five of his friends are joining the program!

By Christine Albers

CA: How do your parents feel about you joining the MSD program?

Sirak: They are happy and proud of me for coming here for this education. They think it’s the best thing that ever happened to me.

CA: When did you come to the US?

Sirak: I landed in San Jose, California in 2015. It was a bit of a culture shock because it’s so diverse and very different from Eritrea. But now I feel like this country is my home. I was employed by Dish Network, Uber, and AT&T as a technician in San Jose before coming to Iowa.

CA: How did you hear about MIU?

Sirak: My friend Henok, who graduated from the Computer Science (ComPro) program, bugged me for 3 years to take this program. I couldn’t join ComPro because I didn’t have a computer background, but he told me I could take the MSD program without any software development experience. He said, “This Master’s in Software Development is the best deal for people who have a background like us.” It took me three years to decide to come to MIU and when I came, I found it was exactly like he said.

CA: What did Henok love best about MIU?

Sirak:  Henok loved the environment, that it was not a big city, but a quiet town, which is the best environment for students. It’s not a big party school, it’s literally a perfect environment. He also told me that Transcendental Meditation (TM) helped him make good progress in his studies.

Sirak with Friends Graduation Party

CA: Do you agree with Henok?

Sirak: Yes!  I love the campus and the whole Fairfield area. If I find a remote job I’d love to continue to live here.  Fairfield is more like my country, so I feel like I’m back home right now. You don’t have the traffic, it’s not crowded. The city is perfect and amazing, and so quiet. I live downtown next to Jefferson County Courthouse and I particularly like Sundays because they are so quiet.

CA: What do you like best about MIU and the MSD program?

Sirak: I like TM, and the environment, and the curriculum. We study one topic at a time and focus entirely on software development, not bothering to study unnecessary things.  We are learning the skills specific to our career, so by the time we finish the program, we have everything we need to find a job. All we need is a Master’s degree and we can get a job right away.

CA: What benefits do you notice from your TM practice?

Sirak: TM helps me a lot, especially in the morning. It makes my mind more powerful and triggers my energy. I see a lot of differences. I used to get bored easily and after an hour I wanted a break, but once I do my meditation in the morning, I can study for a long time, four or five or even six hours at a time.

CA: Did you consider going to a boot camp?

Sirak: I wouldn’t recommend boot camps. It’s better to come here and join the extended track (18 months). People might save some money at boot camps, but it’s not about the money. It’s about your long-term goals. Students don’t learn enough at the boot camps because it’s impossible to learn that fast. If they know nothing, to begin with, they won’t gain a deep core understanding of the programming language, as we do here at MIU. Here they teach us to think like an engineer, to solve problems on our own, and to understand the core of the study. You cannot become a competent programmer by going to a boot camp.

CA: Do you enjoy software development?

Sirak: When I came here, we were learning new frameworks and new technologies from the top of the market. That’s the best thing about MSD. They only teach you the most up-to-date knowledge and frameworks.

CA: How do you like JavaScript?

Sirak: I love JavaScript. It’s not complicated.  It’s straightforward and grows more popular all the time.  If you go to Google ratings for programming languages it’s at the top rank of any programming language

CA: If someone asked you about the program what would you tell them?

Sirak: I used to think that all schools are the same, but this school not only helps you change your career, it’s also life-changing, and TM is a big part of that. Now I regret that I waited three years. I don’t want my friends and all the people I know to miss this opportunity. I recommended this to five of my friends who are joining next semester and I want to keep convincing my friends to come to MIU and join this program. It will help them get a great career and change their lives for the better.

Sirak completed his courses and graduated from the Masters of Software Development program in August 2021. He is ready to begin a new career as a JavaScript web developer. We wish him the best of luck on his next adventure in the world of IT!

The Masters of Software Development is a 12- or 18-month training program for U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents, and Asylees, to become software developers. Previous software development training or experience is not necessary to enroll in this program and any bachelor’s degree in any subject is eligible for admission. MSD is now accepting applications for February 2022. For more information call or text 800-563-9673.

 

 

 

 

MSD Professor Dr. Renuka

Dr. Renuka Mohanraj Feeling at Home on Master’s of Software Development Faculty

“I would tell students that MIU is a very happy place to live and study, and this program prepares them to get good jobs and create a better life.” ~ Dr. Renuka

By Christine Albers

Dr. Renuka Mohanraj emigrated from Southern India to join Maharishi International University (MIU) faculty in 2014. In March 2021 she won an industry award for research on wireless security and was honored as a Fellow of the Computer Science Research Council (FCSRC) for her important research on wireless sensor networks (WSN) data security. Let’s meet this brilliant and accomplished professor, who we are so fortunate to have on faculty for the Master’s of Software Development program (MSD), and the MS in Computer Science (ComPro). Learn why her students sing her praises with comments like this:

“Data structure was a crucial course and you made it enjoyable and easy. I love the way you teach and how organized and efficient you are. I appreciate the extra effort you put in to make sure all of us understand the concepts very well. You are the best professor I have had in this program. Best wishes and thank you and I deeply appreciate your hard work.”

CA: Congratulations on your award, Dr. Renuka. Can you tell us about your background?

Dr.  Renuka: I have my Ph.D. in Computer Science and a Master’s in Computer Applications.  I had 19 years of academic experience and worked for 12 years in other universities prior to joining the MIU faculty.

CA: What inspired you to join MIU?

Dr.  Renuka: In 2014, my husband was working in Tanzania and I had just completed my Ph.D. in India. We were looking for a place where our whole family could be together so he searched on Google for a university where we could work and live. When we found MIU we were attracted by the concept of Consciousness-based education. We liked the idea that the development of consciousness through meditation was a big part of the university. We thought that because everyone, the students, staff, and faculty all practice the TM technique, it would be a calm, quiet, and safe place for us to live as a family.

CA: What was it like for you, coming from India to a small-town environment in Iowa?  

MSD Professor Dr. Renuka and familyDr.  Renuka: For me, it wasn’t a complete cultural shift because the university follows Maharishi’s tradition. After meeting my colleagues and students, it felt like my home town very quickly, because many people are meditating and on a spiritual path in addition to a career path.

CA: What do you like best about living in the MIU community?

Dr.  Renuka: In this community, everyone is respectful and loving, and helpful to each other.  That is what’s so great about living here.  I remember arriving on campus as newcomers and everyone smiled at us and welcomed us. It made us feel safe to stay here because the people are so wonderful.

CA: Are you feeling any benefits from your TM practice?

Dr.  Renuka: It’s so wonderful. I have seen myself grow in self-confidence, clarity of mind, calmness, and much more energy.

CA: Do you think the MSD students are different from students you taught at previous universities?

Dr.  Renuka: The MSD students are different from other students because they want to learn as much as they can from the faculty. They have keen observation, and focus, and the determination to gain this knowledge. The MSD course is challenging and requires hard work, but TM gives them greater mental clarity and the energy to accomplish more. MIU is unique because the faculty has to keep up with the demand of the students to learn. This is very stimulating and enjoyable as a teacher.

CA: What do you think of the Block system?

Dr.  Renuka: The Block system is effective for helping students learn and retain knowledge because it’s much easier to go deeply into each subject when they take one course at a time. Students have class in the morning and a practicum in the afternoon.  During the practicum, they apply what they learned in the morning session so they get a complete understanding. The practicum provides an opportunity to solve the type of problems they would encounter in the workplace, which prepares them for their future careers in software development.

CA: I understand that computer science has been mostly male-dominated in the past. Do you think that women faculty and students are outnumbered by men at MIU?

Dr.  Renuka: When I came to MIU in 2014 I was the only woman in the Computer Science Department. MIU recruited me because they wanted more women to join the faculty. Now it is getting better. Many more female students enrolled in the MSD program in August, and there are more women in the department.

CA: Why do you feel it is important for the students to learn TM?

Dr.  Renuka: TM helps students have a balanced personality and reduces stress and anxiety. Because they have inner calm, they are more stable and better able to focus on their classes and learn the technologies. Because TM develops the students from the inside, it helps them be good citizens and creates better quality human beings.

CA: What would you like to say to students who are interested in joining the MSD program?

Dr.  Renuka: I would tell students that it’s a very happy place to live and study, and this program prepares them to get good jobs and create a better life. With their TM practice, they can easily face the challenges of the current market in the IT industry. The technologies may change, but with a clear mind and rested physiology, they can learn new technologies and be successful in the workplace.

The Masters of Software Development is a 12- or 18-month training program for U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents, and Asylees, to become software developers. Previous software development training or experience is not necessary to enroll in this program and any bachelor’s degree in any subject is eligible for admission. MSD is now accepting applications for February 2022. For more information call or text 800-563-9673.

 

 

Professor Asaad Saad featured on “Adventures with Angular” podcast

Angular vs React: What Grad Students Pick 100% of the Time

Professor Asaad Saad, Program Director for the Master’s in Software Development program and Professor of Computer Science, discusses why learning Angular creates a better software engineer, and why we teach it at MIU. Listen to podcast here:

 

Ashim Ghimire is Ready to Start a New Career

How Ashim Gained Confidence from the Master’s in Software Development Program

It’s a long way from Katmandu, Nepal to Fairfield, Iowa, but Ashim Ghimire knows exactly where he is going. As a Master’s in Software Development student at Maharishi International University (MIU), Ashim is confident he will garner a great job. In this interview, he shares the story of how he found MIU and his excitement about the future.

Ashim, how was your first experience in the USA?

I was 20 years old when I came to the USA to study Economics at South Dakota University, and, I have to say, it was hard.  Although many international students attended the university, I didn’t feel at home. MIU is different. We have students from almost 50 countries in our program, plus international students who have lived in Fairfield their whole life, and they always make me feel welcome. I never expected to find a place like this in the heart of Iowa! If I’d known about MIU I would have come here. MIU makes it easy to get an education and finance it without straining.

How did you learn about MIU?

I searched for an economics position after I graduated from South Dakota University, but ended up working as a Quality Analyst in Seattle. I met 15-20 MIU graduates at the company. They said it was a great program and they found good jobs when they finished. That was all I needed to hear! My brother-in-law also graduated from the ComPro program in 2008, and was very happy with his education.

Were you a computer buff?

I never had an interest in computers, but the Quality Analyst position was all computer-based and I discovered I liked computer work.  I didn’t have enough computer background to apply for ComPro, so I didn’t consider going to MIU. But then I was laid off from the QA job and wondering what do next.  My brother-in-law forwarded an email from MIU announcing a new Master’s in Software Development program.  The email said that the program did not require a computer programming background so I knew this was the next step for me.

How are the classes? Are you getting the knowledge you need to go out into the job market?

The classes are really good. The way of teaching, with the block system of studying one subject each month, is great.  Studying one thing at a time makes it easier to focus and learn because you don’t have to worry about any other subject.

How do you like the faculty?

The faculty is great. We are all from different backgrounds and no one has been in Computer Science before, but in a span of 10 months we are confident we can do the job and that shows a lot.  It’s because of the faculty. They have to teach people who have little or no computer experience and make them competent within 10 months, and it works.

JavaScript must have been brand new. Was it difficult to learn?

It was challenging, but not too hard, and I discovered that I love JavaScript. You don’t learn it and know it and that’s it; you have to continue using it and learning new things. Getting the degree is only the beginning. Whoever practices the most improves the most, and it’s an ongoing learning experience.

Are you noticing any benefits from the daily practice of Transcendental Meditation ™?

Before coming here, I didn’t think much of it, but after learning Transcendental Meditation ™ I could feel the difference. My mind used to wander everywhere when I tried to study, but since I learned the meditation I can concentrate on what I’m studying. I’ll definitely continue the meditation when I leave MIU – for the same reason – I don’t want to go back to how I was before I learned TM.

Would you recommend this program to other students?

I looked at many universities before I found MIU and I couldn’t even apply without a computer background. This is the first program I would recommend to anyone who has a strong interest in computers. I already recommended it to two friends who applied. The environment is friendly and helpful to students, and it’s a boon for international students because we feel at home.

So far, you’ve lived in Katmandu, Nepal; Vermillion, South Dakota; Seattle, Washington; and Fairfield, Iowa. Where are you headed next?

My parents, and my sister and her family are all living in Seattle now, so my wife and I look forward to going back there when I finish my courses.

What is the greatest thing you’ve gained from this program?

The best thing I’ve gained is the knowledge of computers and web development and the confidence that I have everything I need to get a good job.  I only have a few more weeks of school and I’m excited to start a new life and a new career!

 

Ashim graduated from the Masters of Software Development program in August 2020 and is currently working full-time and as a Software Engineer at Fortress Technology Solutions in Tennessee. 

The Masters of Software Development is a 12-month accelerated track or 18-month standard track training program for U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents, and Asylees, to become software developers. Previous software development training or experience is not necessary to enroll in this program and any US equivalent bachelor’s degree in any subject is eligible for admission.