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.

 

 

 

 

 

Top MSD Graduate Jeremy Chronister Creates a New Life for Himself and His Family

“The Master’s in Software Development (MSD) is set up to help you succeed. You can come here knowing that the faculty will do all they can to help, and then, with the team projects, your classmates work with you and everyone helps each other. It’s a great environment, very supportive, and set up for learning and moving forward.  It’s an investment year of your life, but in the end, it will be worth it.” ~ Jeremy Chronister

By Christine Albers

It takes a lot of courage and determination to pack up yourself, your wife, 3 young children, 30 beehives, and a kayak, and move from Tennessee to Iowa to pursue a new career. But Jeremy Chronister did it – and he’s glad he did. After working in the paper industry as an engineer for 19 years Jeremy knew it was time for a change. “Paper mills are an old school industry,” he explains. He was in the fine papers industry, which includes printer paper, magazines, etc. and much of it was declining. He had enjoyed creating some computer programs at the job and wanted to gain more expertise in computer technology. But where to go? Most computer science Master’s programs require a BA in computer science and Jeremy’s degree was in Chemical Engineering from the University of Maine. Then he found the Master’s in Software Development program at MIU.

CA: How did you become interested in computer science?

Jeremy: I learned early in my career that life is a lot easier if you can automate things.  I wanted to get into computer programming, but it’s hard to get over that hump of not having a strong computer science background. I taught myself some visual basic and JavaScript but needed training in modern frameworks.

CA: How did you hear about MIU?

Jeremy: I learned about MIU through my mother-in-law who lives in Fairfield, Iowa. She told me there was a new Master’s in Software Development (MSD) which didn’t require any experience or background in computer science. We weren’t sure how it was going to go, because in 2019 it was only in its first year, so we waited and watched the first class and it turned out great. All the graduates got good jobs so I felt encouraged to apply. The MSD program covers all the in-demand technologies and offers a well-rounded education which was a heads up for me.

CA: Was MSD everything you hoped for?

Jeremy: I learned a lot and I liked the block schedule where you work on one subject at a time and everything builds from the class before it. We used what we just learned in our next class and I liked that we didn’t have to keep switching up subjects like at other colleges.

CA: Was it challenging?

Jeremy: It was challenging but my classmates were great and we all helped each other when we ran into problems. Plus, our professors were very helpful and willing to assist whenever we needed it.

CA: How was the international culture?

Jeremy: Catching the accents of everyone was difficult at first but I finally got there. Ironically, I was told I have an accent which I couldn’t believe! Once you get the rhythm, the other languages are easier to understand, especially since many of the international students had been in the USA for a few years.

I really liked meeting people from so many countries, such as Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Pakistan, Nepal, and China. They were polite and fun to work with. We were all in the same boat, trying to improve our lives no matter where we came from. It was a good opportunity and it expanded my understanding of the world to see that the news doesn’t show you everything. They are all people like me.

MSD friends with Jeremy at graduation

CA: How are the faculty?

Jeremy: They are excellent,  always helpful, and trying to assist and challenge us. They got us started on an idea for a project and encouraged us to learn the details and implement it on our own. We learned how to read the API documentation which we will need in the future when we are constantly learning new technologies. It will be important to be self-sufficient and work out problems independently in the working environment.

CA: Now that you have finished MSD, how do you feel about programming?

Jeremy: I really enjoy programming because you can make it into an art. You can create code that moves smoothly or roughly; it’s up to the programmer to make it easy for everyone to understand what you are doing and minimize any redundance.

CA: How did you like working on a team?

Jeremy: If you have a good team, it goes pretty smoothly. As long as the code works and passes the tests there is a lot of room to play,  so each person can do their part, with their own style.  Everyone writes slightly differently, but we keep to the standards and then put it all together to make one full application. It’s great to see it all work in the end.

CA: Do you feel ready for a job as a JavaScript web developer?

Jeremy: I feel comfortable with everything we covered in the curriculum and our professors always gave us the latest popular framework.  Although each company might use different standards, once we learn one framework, we can quickly learn others because they are usually similar ideologies.

CA: What qualities are needed to succeed as a JavaScript programmer?

Jeremy: A good programmer needs to be detail-oriented and also a little creative, able to spin ideas in a different way. If they learn one skill, they should be able to spin it and apply it to something else. I do not think everyone can be a programmer, because everyone is given different gifts and talents. The ability to write programs requires being able to break a problem down into logical steps which will be combined to accomplish your goal.

CA: How did you do all this with a family?

Jeremy: My family was very supportive. We have 3 girls, ages 5, 7, 9, and my wife home schools them. They always made sure I went to school and gave me time to do my TM and study at night. My wife wanted me to do this because of the opportunity to get a good job in the end. They helped me stay rested during the year and I was in bed every night by 10:00 pm, which helped me be alert during classes in the day.

CA: How do you feel about your TM practice? Did it help you in school?

Jeremy: I learned TM when I arrived at MIU and it was questionable at first, but I was willing to try it because of all the  good research on the benefits.

For me, the effects were more subtle. It helped my mind settle down so I had more clarity. I think it helped me learn more and absorb the material because I could focus better without all the racing thoughts.

CA: Will you continue your TM now that you have graduated?

Jeremy:  I plan to continue meditating. I’ve kept it up since graduating and hope to stay in the routine of doing it each day when I get a new job.

CA: How’s the job search going?

Jeremy: I took a few weeks off after my courses ended to spend time with my family, so I’m just getting into the job search process. I’m hoping to get a job where I can see the whole flow, from the back end to the front end, to the distribution of information, to the Cloud. I like seeing how all the pieces work together. In the MSD program, we learned in a development setting, but code production is fundamentally different. With development, you are only testing code, but in production, you might get a million requests so you have to scale things out so you can handle all the incoming requests. We learned how to set that up in our Cloud Computing classes.

CA: What are you looking for in a job?

Jeremy: I would like a remote job. I am location-specific with my hobbies because I’m into whitewater kayaking and the best spots are away from big cities where the tech jobs are. My family and I hope to go back to the tri-state area of West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, where we are from, and where there’s a lot of white-water kayaking.

CA: What would you say to students who are applying for MSD?

Jeremy: MSD is set up to help you succeed. You can come here knowing that the faculty will do all they can to help, and then, with the team projects, your classmates work with you and everyone helps each other. It’s a great environment, very supportive, and set up for learning and moving forward.  It’s an investment year of your life, but in the end, it will be worth it.

 

Congratulations to Jeremy, who completed his courses and graduated from the Masters of Software Development program in August 2021. He started his new career as a JavaScript web developer at Capital Technology Group in Maryland on November 1, 2021. 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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Jyoti’s Transcontinental Journey to Find MIU’s Master’s in Software Development

 

By Christine Albers

Jyoti Raj Khatri comes from the eastern part of Nepal, and over the last ten years, he lived in Nepal, China, California, and now Fairfield, Iowa.  In this interview, we learn about his transcontinental journey that led to finding the Master’s in Software Development program, where he is gaining the knowledge to start a new career as a JavaScript web developer, and the industry in which he hopes to apply his expertise.

 

CA: You’ve lived in many different places, Jyoti. What and where did you study before you came to the Master’s in Software Development?

Jyoti:  I gained my Bachelor’s Degree in Science, with General Microbiology as my major, in Nepal. Then, with a government scholarship, I studied in China and received my Master’s in Social Medicine and Health Management. The university was in the southern part of China, Changsha City in Hunan province

 

CA: Did you need to be fluent in Mandarin in order to study in China? How was that for you?

Jyoti: During my first year of college, I had to learn Mandarin Chinese, and after one year of studying Mandarin, I was able to start my major. It’s very difficult to learn the Chinese language but all of our classes were part Chinese and part English, so I had to learn it. English was easier because we studied in English when I was growing up in Nepal.

Jyoti’s family at Dashain festival in Nepal

CA: Congratulations on mastering Mandarin! What was it like when you landed in the United States?

Jyoti: I arrived in Sacramento, California in August 2019. It was a great starting place for me as I have 3 sisters in Sacramento. I lived with my elder sister who is a nurse, another sister works at Wal-Mart and the other works in a nursing home.  We all lived close to each other and often gathered to celebrate our Nepali festivals, like Dashain and Tihar, which are the two biggest festivals in Nepal. Dashain is related to receiving blessings from our elders. Tihar is related to the festival of lights and also about brothers and sisters wishing each other prosperity. We also celebrated Christmas and Thanksgiving.

 

CA: What kind of work were you looking for when you arrived in the US?

Jyoti: I was looking for a job in the health management sector, but I found that I needed a US degree.  I worked at a grocery store owned by my brother-in-law while I searched for a US university that offered a Master’s degree in the health field, but then I learned about MIU.

 

CA: How did you hear about MIU? And why did you decide on software development?

Jyoti:  My friends suggested getting into IT as it’s booming in the U.S. and my cousin told me about the Computer Professionals Master’s program (ComPro) at MIU. He graduated from ComPro in 2015 and has a good job, working and living in Texas. I didn’t have any background in computer science, so I couldn’t apply for ComPro, but when I heard about the Master’s in Software Development (MSD) program, which doesn’t require any background in computer science, I felt that was the best program for me.

 

CA: Why did you think software development was a good fit for you? How will you use it in the future?

Jyoti: I was already interested in the IT field when I was in China, but my subject wasn’t IT at the time. When I came to the U.S. I was glad to find a program that offered software development training.  Maybe in the future I can learn other languages, but I found that I love JavaScript Full Stack and it’s a good way to start my career. Because I have a background in public health management, maybe I can work in hospitals, in the medical system, with big data. That’s where I’ll look for jobs first.

 

CA: Is your Transcendental Meditation practice helping with your studies?

Jyoti: TM helps me stay calm and peaceful. I feel silence inside, so I’m not troubling myself because I have to work hard. Normally in college, we are always worried about what will happen if we don’t do well in our courses and if we won’t get results, and worrying just gets in the way. TM keeps me calm and efficient, and focused on my studies, without the stress.

“TM helps me stay calm and peaceful. I feel silence inside, so I’m not troubling myself because I have to work hard. TM keeps me calm and efficient, and focused on my studies, without the stress.”

 

CA: Will it be easy to continue your TM practice when you start your new career?

Jyoti: Yes, because it’s easy, and you can do it anytime, anywhere. You can relax and don’t need anything special. Just take the 20 minutes.

 

CA: How are the MSD faculty?

Jyoti: I respect the faculty because we are students who started the program without knowing anything about IT, and they have to make us knowledgeable. We are starting from nothing and working hard, but there are challenges because we are so new to everything. The professors have to catch up with us and we have to catch up with them. The faculty have to understand us before they can teach us. They have to work harder than us, and we appreciate all that they are doing.

 

CA: What do you like best about MIU’s system of education?

Jyoti: Here at MIU we start with the basics, and with the block system we learn a whole subject in one month. That helps very much because when you focus on one subject at a time, you grasp that knowledge and it helps you with the next course.  It’s a great way to help you learn.

 

CA: What would you tell a friend if they wanted to apply for the MSD program?

Jyoti: I would tell them, you have to work hard, it doesn’t depend on the university, it depends on you. If you don’t focus and do your homework properly it will be hard. But if you do a good job during this time, then this is a platform for you to have a good future, and this whole life is yours.

 

 

Jyoti is currently a full-time student in the Master’s of Software Development program and will graduate in August 2021. We wish him all success in finding a great job as a software developer in his field of health management.

 

The Masters of Software Development is a 12-month accelerated 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.

 

 

 

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Selamawit Develops Confidence at MIU

Selamawit Shibru had an interesting journey from Jimma, Ethiopia to Atlanta, Georgia, and then on to Fairfield, Iowa to attend the Master’s in Software Development (MSD) program. Let’s hear why she chose MSD instead of a boot camp and how she grew in confidence while studying at MIU.

CA: Can you tell us a bit about your background, Selamawit?

Selamawit: I grew up in Jimma, Ethiopia, and earned my Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering.  I came to the USA in 2018 and landed in Atlanta, Georgia where I attended an Ethiopian community meeting to help professionals find jobs. They presented MIU and boot camps as good opportunities. Since I had some background in C++ and IT, the idea of training as a JavaScript developer was appealing.

CA: Why did you choose MSD instead of a boot camp?

Selamawit: The one-year Master’s program at MIU looked rigorous, but it wasn’t as intense as the boot camps. MIU’s financial aid package was better than boot camps because I wouldn’t have to work to support myself while going to school, and the Tuition Refund Guarantee gave me a feeling of security. Also, while living in the Ethiopian community in Atlanta, we only interacted with each other, so I liked that MIU was multi-cultural.

CA: How did you enjoy the culture at MIU and the Master’s program?

Selamawit: In Ethiopia, I came from a culture where women in my generation could be shy to speak up and ask questions.  As a result, when I arrived in the USA, I was afraid to talk to people. However, my professors and classmates at MIU were very friendly and helpful. We had lots of discussions in class, where I was encouraged to speak up and ask questions. And we worked together in teams on projects, which made it easier to learn. I made lasting friendships with people from many countries and cultures and improved my communication skills during that time.

CA: How do you feel now that you’ve graduated?

Selamawit: I’m happy because I worked hard and completed the course, got my Master’s Degree, and grew a lot from my interactions with everyone at MIU. I developed my self-esteem and confidence and now I feel that I have everything I need for my new career.

 

Selamawit is currently working as a Front-End Software Developer for Code the Dream in Atlanta, Georgia.

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 bachelor’s degree in any subject is eligible for admission.

This article was written by Christine Albers, Freelance Writer

 

From Farming to Software Development – Kasahun’s Story

EVERYTHING KASAHUN LOVES BEST ABOUT MSD

Kasahun Tehone grew up in a farming culture in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. His dad was a farmer and he and his 4 brothers and sisters all helped on the farm while they were growing up. And here he is in America, pursuing a Master’s degree in Software Development. Let’s hear his story and how he came to study at MIU.

CA: Kasahun, I understand your father was a farmer. What else can you tell us about your parents?

Kasahun: My father was a soldier and he was permanently injured while protecting his country. He went through many struggles but still sent all 8 kids to college and made sure we were cared for, had good attitudes, and became professionals. Both my father and mother taught me to stay strong in times of challenges and motivated me to be a good person and a patriot, and to achieve my dream of a successful career.

CA: How did you hear about MIU?

Kasahun: I heard of MIU while I was an undergrad student at Addis Ababa Science and Technology University in Ethiopia, where I studied Computer Science. MIU is famous in the IT sector in Ethiopia, so I knew that it was the place for me.

CA: Why did you choose the MSD program?

Kasahun: I had three reasons for choosing MSD: 1) the high market demand for JavaScript web developers, 2) the MSD courses are well-organized for targeting the market, and 3) with the tuition refund guarantee I don’t have to worry about what might happen if, for some reason, I can’t find a job within a year of graduating.

CA: Are you concerned about getting a job?

Kasahun: Not really. We are in contact with the recent graduates who are getting good jobs in big corporations, so I am confident, but it’s nice to have that security. It’s a big change to live in a different country, so having the guarantee made it easier to commit to the program.

CA: How do you like the campus?

Kasahun: What I like is the environment, because it’s a green and peaceful area with a diverse community. I like that we don’t have to worry about paying rent or cooking meals, so we can focus on our classes. It’s important that the campus is COVID-free. We are careful to wear masks on campus and in the classroom, and we were all tested when we arrived.

CA: How are your classes?

Kasahun: I like the modular system of offering one subject at a time. It’s better than taking many subjects at the same time because we can go deeper into each part and digest that knowledge, and then progress to the next course.

CA: How is the Transcendental Meditation program working for you?

Kasahun: TM was a new thing for me but I discovered it is valuable for learning. Morning meditation gives me the energy to follow attentively in class, then the afternoon meditation clears up any tiredness in my body and mind and helps me stay alert and focused on my studies at night.

CA: What inspires you most about MIU?

Kasahun: As one who came from a different culture and background, I was happy to find that MIU is a place where you can shape yourself socially, academically, and spiritually while working to accomplish your dream.

CA: Would you recommend this program to your friends?

Kasahun: It’s a great program for anyone who wants to study coding. And for anyone with a professional background who is working an hourly, low-paid job I would tell them they have the potential to change their lives rather than spending it in the same cycle. They should take a chance – come to MIU and create a better future.

Kasahun is currently enrolled in the Masters of Software Development program and will begin applying for JavaScript web developer positions when his courses finish in August 2021. We wish him the best of luck and success in his future career in software development.

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.

 

This article was written by Christine Albers, Freelance Writer

 

How MSD Student Bipin Regmi Found Happiness at MIU

Meet Bipin Regmi, who hails from the spiritual country of Nepal but never found inner happiness until he was 30 years old and everything came together at MIU.

What was it like, growing up in Nepal?

I’m from a small town called Butwal, Nepal where spirituality is central to our culture.  My entire family is spiritual and my grandfather used to do blessings for people in their homes.

Did your family encourage you to be more of a spiritual person?

I am a person who needs to get the feeling for myself instead of from other people, so I wasn’t drawn to my family’s spirituality while growing up. My parents were wise enough to let me find my own path.

Where did you go to college?

My higher education was in India where I studied finance and accounting, similar to a U.S. CPA. Although I was smart in high school in Nepal, I had to work very hard while in college in India, and by the tim

e I graduated in 2013 I was tired and unhappy. I took some accounting jobs and I was a college professor for a year, but I still wasn’t happy, so I thought I should travel and see the world and learn more about myself.

Like Nepal, India is also known for its spiritual culture. Did you gain any insight into finding happiness while you were there?

Actually, when I was in India, I realized I was exerting myself and getting nowhere, so I thought I would try meditation. I took a 10-day Vipassana class but when I left India and traveled, I lost the momentum and the practice was lost.

 What did you learn from your travels?

I was like the alchemist, always traveling and searching and never finding happiness. I was stressed out and still pushing myself too hard, and only sleeping 5 to 6 hours. I never found the happiness I was looking for.

 How did you hear about MIU?

While working in Seattle I came to know a group of people who had all graduated from MIU. They had good jobs and families and they were happy, so I wanted to be like them. One of those was Ashim Ghimire who recently graduated from the Master’s of Software Development (MSD) program. He was also from Nepal and I became friends with Ashim and his whole family.

What was it about Ashim and his family that impressed you?

Ashim’s father had been practicing the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique for 17 years and met Maharishi in Katmandu. He said that he had practiced many other meditations before learning TM. TM worked best for him, and he never missed practicing it every day. He really sparked my interest in learning this meditation.

What motivated you to enroll in the Masters in Software Development program?

I wanted to get into software development but I didn’t have a computer background, so I was looking for a school or program to develop those skills. Ashim’s brother graduated from ComPro in 2008 and highly recommended MIU, but I couldn’t apply for ComPro because they require a computer science background.  Then Ashim told me about the MSD program, which was relatively new and accepted Permanent U.S. Residents*.  When I heard you didn’t need a computer background I thought it would be a great program for me. I was also intrigued because all the students meditate. As the old saying goes, “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

“Here at MIU, I learned that happiness comes from the inside, not from traveling around the world looking for something outside.”

What was it like for you when you arrived at MIU?

I was so excited to learn TM when I arrived at MIU and when I finally learned, all of a sudden everything got connected. I realized how one step leads to the next and I started feeling more contented. Here at MIU, I learned that happiness comes from the inside, not from traveling around the world looking for something outside. Ironically, 2020 was the best year for me. I felt like I found myself. I wanted to be a vegetarian but could never do it until now. I’m sleeping well for the first time in a long time, and I’m focusing on myself and my meditation practice while getting a great education. And I’m happy.

What is most inspiring about MIU in general? Anything that stands out?

For me, it’s the environment, meditation, and healthy food. The meditation and the environment helped me put good habits into place and each new good habit helped me step into the next good habit.

Based on your experience, do you recommend this program for other aspiring software developers?

During my 30 years of life, I was never satisfied, and I was always looking for more. When I arrived at MIU in 2020 I started working on myself, exercising, being vegetarian, getting more rest, and having a healthier lifestyle. At MIU it is about more than the degree, it’s about finding yourself. So, anyone who comes here will not only gain strong software development skills, but they will become stronger and happier human beings.

Any final comments about your time at MIU?

We learned the 16 laws of nature and applied them to our studies. I especially like the saying “Outer depends on the inner,” which means that everything depends on your perception, which depends on your physiology. So, it’s all about developing yourself from the inside, then you are happier and able to appreciate life. That’s such a great thing about the education here.

“At MIU it is about more than the degree, it’s about finding yourself. So, anyone who comes here will not only gain strong software development skills, but they will become stronger and happier human beings.”

Bipin is currently enrolled in the Masters of Software Development program and will begin applying for JavaScript web developer positions when his courses finish in August 2021. We wish him the best of luck and promise to keep you posted about his next adventure in the world of IT!

* 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.

This article was written by Christine Albers, Professional Writer.

6 Reasons Why MIU’s Master’s in Software Development Is a Life-Changing Experience

Career Training and Personal Development go Hand in Hand

By Christine Albers

When Mohamed “Moe” Hassan emigrated to the United States from Sudan in 2016, with a degree in architecture and his green card, he naturally began searching for a position in his field. But the only work he could find was in customer service for the airline industry, where he pieced together several part-time jobs just to pay the rent.

Mohamed Hassan, M.S.D., Coralville, Iowa

A Sudanese friend suggested that Hassan apply for the Master’s in Software Development (M.S.D.) program at Maharishi International University (MIU). His first reaction was, “Me, study IT? I’ve worked with software programs in architectural design, but I don’t have experience in software development.”

But his friend, who was a graduate of MIU’s Computer Science program, insisted: “Stop everything, take this chance, and go. This is your time to start a new life. And don’t laugh at the meditation—you’re going to need it.”

MIU’s unique Master’s in Software Development program does not require a computer science background and accepts US equivalent bachelor’s degrees in any subject. It trains students to become Full Stack JavaScript web developers while they further their personal growth with the Transcendental Meditation technique.

With 12 to 18 months of on-campus or online coursework, M.S.D. graduates are equipped with the skills most in demand for the software development job market.

Interested in exploring a new career in software development? MIU is accepting applications for the August 2021 entry.

Here are the top six reasons why MIU’s M.S.D. graduates feel the program gives them the tools for success.

1. Prepares Students for Top Positions in Just a Year

Hassan enrolled in MIU’s Master’s in Software Development in August 2019 and never looked back. “I knew if I didn’t do something, I would be stuck in that life of working 14 to 17 hours a day, 7 days a week, and trying to support a family,” he said.

Haile Tesfu M.S.D., Seattle, Washington

One year later, he completed MIU’s comprehensive graduate program for professional and personal development and landed a position as a JavaScript software developer at Leepfrog Technologies in Coralville, Iowa.

Haile Tesfu, M.S.D., worked as a civil engineer in Eritrea before he came to the United States and joined MIU’s software development program. Now he is working as a code analyst for Infosys in Seattle, Washington. “We are using Angular Development at Infosys, and it was easier for me because I had already learned everything about it at MIU,” he said.

Tesfu and Hassan are just two of the program’s first-year graduates who have accepted jobs at leading companies—including Google, Citibank, USAA, Hays Companies, Boeing, and others—with an average starting pay of $95,000 (ranging from $75,000 to $130,000). Within a few months of completing the program, 60 percent of the students have accepted offers—and they are thrilled they are finding jobs so quickly.

First-year graduates have accepted jobs at leading companies—including Google, Citibank, USAA, Hays Companies, Boeing, and others—with an average starting pay of $95,000 (ranging from $75,000 to $130,000).

 

2. The Latest in Software Training from Industry-Experienced Faculty

Ashim Ghimire, M.S.D., Seattle, Washington

Ashim Ghimire, M.S.D., Seattle, Washington

“It’s the faculty who make it work,” said Ashim Ghimire, M.S.D., who is originally from Nepal and earned his undergraduate economics degree at South Dakota University. “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.”

As a result, “I discovered that I love JavaScript,” Ghimire said. “You don’t learn it and know it and that’s it; you have to continue using it and learning new things.” He’ll be doing so in Seattle, where he returned to be with his family after completing the master’s program.

Students appreciate the industry expertise and international experience of the M.S.D. faculty as well as their dynamic delivery of the course material, which makes the courses exciting and enjoyable. The professors in software development have experience at many top companies, such as Google, e-Trade, Honeywell, AT&T, and Wells Fargo, as well as with governments around the world. They are familiar with the latest technologies needed to succeed in the IT industry.

Shawn Daudi, M.S.D., Fairfield, Iowa

Shawn Daudi, M.S.D.

“Teaching computer science is an art,” said Shawn Daudi, M.S.D., who is from Los Angeles and joined the program with a B.A. in Business from MIU. “There’s a gray area between teaching computer science and making it so we can understand. You can be the most expert developer in the world but not know how to teach. But the faculty did an incredible job because they understand the art of teaching this subject.”

Shawn is working in MIU Admissions while pursuing a position in web development. He learned how good MIU’s faculty and curriculum were from people in the field: “The nature of the computer industry is that there’s so much information that it’s impossible to know it all, so I talked to my friends who work in the industry. When they looked at the curriculum, they said, ‘You are way ahead with this.’ That was a big relief and boosted my confidence.”

 

3. Faster Learning and Reduced Stress with MIU’s Innovative Block System

So students can immerse themselves in a single topic at a time, MIU uses a modular block system of one class per month. Students can focus and learn quickly without the distraction of juggling four or five other courses simultaneously. They learn more with less stress.

“When I was in college studying civil engineering in Eritrea, I had to take 5 or 6 courses at a time,” said Tesfu. “It was stressful to try and remember everything, and tiring for my mind to constantly switch from one subject to another. But with the modular system, taking one course at a time, I didn’t have that stress. My mind stayed fresher, and it was easier to retain the knowledge. It’s the best way of learning.”

Michael Woldemedihin, M.S.D., Seattle, Washington

Michael Woldemedihin, M.S.D.

Michael Woldemedihin, who came to the M.S.D. program from Seattle, Washington, with a background in pharmaceuticals and information technology, also credits the modular system with helping him keep up with the pace.

“The Master’s in Software Development is a rigorous course, and we had to work hard. There was no time to slack off,” Woldemedihin said. “Taking one course at a time made it easier to stay focused. The daily assignments helped us integrate the knowledge in the evenings and stay on top of things.”

The block system helps students acquire the latest skills needed to succeed. “It’s a challenging program, but we have all the up-to-date knowledge,” he added. “I really think anyone who graduates with this degree can survive anything in the industry.” Woldemedihin is doing just that. He landed a position with Boeing in Seattle and is working for them from Fairfield during the pandemic.

“Taking one course at a time made it easier to stay focused… It’s a challenging program, but we have all the up-to-date knowledge.” —Michael Woldemedihin, M.S.D.

 

4. More Personal Growth and Deep Rest with the TM Technique

The foundational element of MIU’s Consciousness-Based education is the TM technique. Regular TM practice refreshes the mind and body, reduces stress, and increases intelligence and memory, making it far easier for students to absorb the knowledge from their courses and retain it. It’s also a tool they can take with them in their new career.

“Before MIU all I knew of meditation was from movies and TV shows,” said Hassan. “I learned Transcendental Meditation and didn’t know what to expect. Honestly, I have no idea how, but the meditation works. If I was tired or nervous or even panicking before exams, meditating for 20 minutes settled me down and helped me focus. I think TM will also help now that I’m moving to a new city to start a job and have to learn everything about the company and the environment.”

Michael Fitzgerald, Fairfield, Iowa

Michael Fitzgerald, Fairfield, Iowa

Michael Fitzgerald, from Crystal River, Florida, earned his B.A. in Mathematics at MIU before entering the M.S.D. program, so he was experienced with Consciousness-Based education. Still completing his M.S.D. coursework, he has already landed a position as IT Administrator for Maharishi School in Fairfield.

“MIU is the only university I know of that encourages its students to stay rested and have a healthy lifestyle,” Fitzgerald said. “For me, that’s as important as the knowledge. Many of my M.S.D. classmates didn’t think much of meditation before coming here, but they were impressed with the results from TM. They noticed they didn’t have as much stress and had greater clarity and focus in school after learning the TM technique, and it came as a surprise to them.”

Tesfu appreciates how it’s helping him in his new position at Infosys. “I love the meditation! It really works for me. It gives me energy and clears my mind, and it’s helping me with my new job. If I’m working and feel tired, I stop for my TM session and feel refreshed and ready to start again,” he said.

“I love the meditation! It really works for me. It gives me energy and clears my mind, and it’s helping me with my new job.”  — Haile Tesfu, M.S.D.

 

5. Career Strategy Workshops Help Students in Their Job Search

Once students finish their M.S.D. course work, they are ready to apply for industry positions. That’s where the program’s vital job coaching comes into play, with a two-week workshop plus continued coaching for one year or until they land a job.

Amelework (Amele) Cheklie, M.S.D., Seattle, Washington

Amelework (Amele) Cheklie, M.S.D.

 

Amele Cheklie was a well-known journalist for the Ethiopian News Agency before she immigrated to the United States and joined the M.S.D. program.

“The Career Strategy class was well-designed, and we learned so many techniques to help us find a job,” said Cheklie, who landed in Seattle and is interviewing there for many software developer positions.

“We improved our ability to promote ourselves by communicating professionally. Practicing with my team helped build my confidence in speaking about myself,” Amele said.

“We improved our ability to promote ourselves by communicating professionally. Practicing with my team helped build my confidence in speaking about myself,” —Amele Cheklie

 

Abel Nedi, M.S.D., Atlanta, Georgia

Abel Nedi, M.S.D.

 

“The job coaching program was very helpful,” says Abel Nedi of Atlanta, Georgia, who joined the M.S.D. program with a B.S. in Computer Science.

“I learned how to prepare a professional resume and how to communicate with recruiters and hiring companies. It was great to get my team’s feedback and see where I needed to improve. I definitely think this program helped me get my job,” said Nedi, who is working as a Java developer at Bank of America in Charlotte, North Carolina. He’s working remotely from Atlanta, Georgia until he can move to Charlotte when the pandemic ends.

“I definitely think this program (career coaching workshop) helped me get my job.” – Abel Nedi

 

6. Training for a Global Market with an International Community

The M.S.D. students in the first class of 2019 came from countries all over the world, representing multiple cultures, religions, educational backgrounds, and age groups. They were curious about learning the TM technique as an educational tool for personal development and committed to the challenge of mastering a new field of knowledge together. In the process, they were preparing for interacting with a global market.

“It’s beautiful to see many different cultures overlapping and co-existing,” said Fitzgerald. “Even students from countries with a conflict between them interact joyously and peacefully here. I’ve made lifelong friends from around the world and had unique and unforgettable experiences—like listening to a traditional Ethiopian singer while working on projects with Ethiopian students.”

For Fitzgerald, being on this journey with an international community was part of the M.S.D. program’s success. “We may have been from different countries, but we were all on the same trajectory, taking our classes together. There was a cool group feeling that we were in this together. The whole program and curriculum were laid out, so it was like riding a train—with the sense that the train would take us to totally new heights.”

“The whole program and curriculum were laid out, so it was like riding a train—with the sense that the train would take us to totally new heights.”
—Michael Fitzgerald, M.S.D.

Learn More about the Life-Changing M.S.D. Program

With their year of coursework completed, all the students agree that it has been a life-changing experience. They are proud of the time and effort devoted to their Master’s in Software Development and excited to start new lives and new careers.

And as Fitzgerald pointed out, “If the idea of self-development appeals to someone, they will gain so much more than they ever expected from this program.”

Note: If you’d like to embark on a career in software development, MIU is now accepting applications for our next entry.

Questions?  Contact an Admissions Consultant any time by calling or texting (800) 563-9673 or emailing:  msd@miu.edu

This article was reprinted from Enjoy TM News, © 2020 Maharishi Foundation USA, Inc.

 

Making the Right Decision Leads to a Master’s in Software Development

An Interview with Shawn Daudi, 2020 MIU Graduate

By Christine Albers

In 2014, Shawn Daudi had to decide between a first-class ticket home to Los Angeles or pursuing an education at MIU. Six years later, with a Master’s Degree in Software Development, Shawn knows he made the best decision in his life when he decided to take his education seriously and commit to some hard work. Let’s hear his story!

Christine (CA): How did you hear about MIU, Shawn?

Shawn: My sister, who teaches Transcendental Meditation, tried to convince me to go to MIU, but I wasn’t about to leave Los Angeles and go to the middle of nowhere. I was thinking, LA is where it’s at, but my mom said, “Just go try it out for 6 months and if you don’t like it, I’ll buy you a first-class ticket and you can come home.” So, I thought I would try it for 6 months and go back home. I didn’t think I would ever graduate from college.

When I got here, I was thinking, oh college life, I’ll just relax with my friends and have fun. But one day, after finishing my third year, I was sitting at Caribou Coffee and it hit me, “Am I actually going to get a Bachelor’s degree?” Something shifted inside me. I decided to take my senior year seriously and I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 2017.

CA:   Why did you choose the Masters in Software Development?

Shawn: After I graduated with my BA in Business, I realized that being an executive or supervisor is not my thing. I had an interest in computers and thought I might prefer to be the person developing something on the floor. Ironically, after resisting coming to Fairfield, I didn’t want to leave, so when they launched the new Masters in Software Development program, I was all over it.

They say that all the information you need is on the internet, but some people do better in a classroom setting and I’m one of those people. I felt this program was a calling for me. Although I had no background in software development Luke (MSD Director) said I was the perfect candidate and it worked out perfectly.

CA: How did your family feel about the new program?

Shawn: My family was a huge help. Without them, I don’t know what I would have done. My sister introduced me to MIU, my mom encouraged me to go, and my dad was a disciplinarian so he pushed me. His attitude was to work hard and accomplish something. So, in my mind, if it was a challenge, I needed to go for it, and that came from him.

CA: What did you like best about the MSD program?

Shawn: I liked that it was difficult, challenging. I had lost sight of how to work hard for something, and I discovered the merit in finding yourself through hard work. My dad once told me that when someone earns something, and they know they’ve earned it, that’s the best possible feeling.   With the MSD program, I worked hard and felt I had earned my Master’s degree. It was by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my entire life, but it was worth every single minute. I didn’t think I would finish high school, let alone get a Bachelor’s Degree, so when I got my Master’s Degree it was emotional for me.

CA: Were you able to stay balanced during the 12 months of courses?

Shawn: At the beginning of the program I told myself I would stay up until 2 am every night and study, study, study. After 6 months I realized I needed sleep. Sleep for a programmer is like mental steroids. I learned very quickly to stop at 11 pm or midnight, get some sleep and start again the next morning. The meditation also helped me handle the stress and fatigue.

CA: How do you like the international setting at MIU?

Shawn: It’s great! Before I came to MIU I didn’t know anyone from Africa. Now I have so many Ethiopian friends.  I’ve eaten Ethiopian food; I know a few phrases of Ethiopian and I get along with them so well. It can be a bit scary at first because you don’t know exactly what their culture encompasses. But when you get to know them you realize you have a lot in common. My Ethiopian friends have such a sense of community amongst them and that’s the type of social life that I wish we had more of in the United States. We don’t have it on the level that they do. They are light years ahead of us in this way.

CA: How were the classes? Did you get the knowledge you need to go into the job market?

Shawn: When we finished the course, our professors said, “Now you know the basics and you’re good to go,” but I was nervous. The nature of the computer industry is that there’s so much information that it’s impossible to know it all.  So, I talked to my friends who work in the industry and when they looked at the curriculum they said, “You are way ahead of this.” That was a big relief and boosted my confidence.

CA:  How is the Career Development program working for you?

Shawn: I can’t believe how valuable it is, I didn’t know how great it was until I got into it. The director (Kay Hazen) is absolutely phenomenal. She is such a good coach. If I’m in a weird funk, she just outlines the next steps and I’m back on track.

CA: What do you think of the faculty?  

Shawn: The faculty members are incredible. I think that teaching computer science is an art. There’s a bit of a gray area between teaching and making it so we can understand. It’s hard to zero in on it and they did great because they understood the art of teaching the subject. You can be the most expert developer in the world but not know how to teach, and I made it difficult for them.  I was constantly asking questions and complaining that it was too hard but they put up with me and we’re all buddies.

CA: Would you recommend the MSD program to other students?

Shawn: I absolutely recommend this program. Whenever I have an opportunity to meet a potential student or candidate, I always tell them to check it out. Especially now with the 18-month standard program, it’s easier to learn everything at a comfortable pace. That was a great addition to the program.

For me, enrolling in the MSD program was the best decision I ever made in my life. I love the faculty, and even though it was challenging, I’m proud that I pushed through and got my Master’s in Software Development.

 

Shawn graduated from the Masters of Software Development program in August 2020 and is currently working as an Admissions Representative for Maharishi International University while pursuing a remote position as a JavaScript web developer. We wish him the best of luck!

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.