- Nikhila Yadunath

Term : October, 2015
Department : Engineering
Program : Information Technology

Before she moved to the United States, Nikhila Yadunath worked on a software development and research project for Boeing in India. She relocated to California to join her husband, and after a few years was eager to update her skillset for the American market. When she discovered that UCSC Extension offered certificate programs and services for international students, she enrolled in the Information Technology program in winter 2014. In addition to her full course load, she interned for two quarters at a local SDN stealth startup, gained valuable experience and landed a contracting job as a quality engineer in testing at Nest Labs.

What did you like about the program?

I was interested in IT and computer networking, so when I came to UCSC Extension, I wanted to see how much I could learn. I liked how innovative the program was; I could mix and match courses based on my interests and do extras apart from the required courses. It was a good mix of core technical courses and generic programming, so I got the best of both worlds. It helped me improve my overall prospects as a job seeker. I totally enjoyed the lectures; this program was my first real exposure to interacting with professionals in the USA. These interactions were very helpful, because most of the students were working in the real world, and I was able to find my internship with the help of one of my classmates. The internship gave me a good insight into real-world practical experience and helped me gain skills which ultimately helped me get my current job!

How have you been able to apply new skills to your job?

Python is something I use every day to run automated scripts. Linux is another core concept which is necessary every day for any analysis. Also all of the networking courses I took, including “Designing Networks for High Availability” and “Computer, Network and Internet Security Fundamentals”, helped me get a good background of the basics. UCSC Extension really helped me step up my game.

What was your experience like as an international student?

The F1 visa process was guided wonderfully by International Student Advisor, who was super helpful. She set up group sessions, shared step-by-step guides, and helped us complete the application without errors. She offered orientations and OPT guidance, and I really appreciated her patience when answering all our questions. The Internship Advisor was really helpful and friendly, and I appreciated her efforts. I interacted with them both and really liked the way they helped us keep track of our progress.

What advice do you have for professionals considering a career in IT?

Every day new technologies are arising; you have to be constantly updating your skills to be in the game.  I’ve seen many students wait for the perfect opportunity, and to them I say, any opportunity is great. Waiting for the right one might mean you lose out on something great. I had a great experience at UCSC Extension; I definitely recommend it to others.

Visit our Information Technology page to learn more about UCSC Extension’s unique offeringsBrowse upcoming IT courses. For information on services and programs for international students, visit International Programs page.
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