Sirak 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.
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: 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.