- Sivaguru Manian

Term : July, 2015
Department : Engineering, International Program
Program : Computer Programming

What if you could communicate with drones to help schedule package deliveries? Sivaguru Manian, together with classmates from his mobile application development courses, started designing an app that could do just that. Manian had moved to California from India, where he had studied computer science and worked as a software engineer for four years when he decided it was time to learn something new. After comparing master’s and certificate programs, he enrolled in UCSC Extension’s Computer Programming certificate in April 2014. By the time he completed the program in early 2015, he had already interned for two quarters and accepted a job offer. He is an active participant in the UCSC Extension student Facebook group, where he encourages prospects, current students and alumni to join the conversation about life at Extension.

What stood out to you about Extension’s program?

In India, when you decide what you want to study, you can’t deviate from that and take courses from other fields of study. I studied computer science, but there were other topics I always wanted to learn. At UCSC Extension, I took courses in Web development, Android application development, project management and accounting. I knew that eventually I have to manage people, so I had to develop some managerial skills. Everyone needs to know how to plan a budget, so financial accounting was really useful to learn. By the time I completed the program, I had a couple of job offers from big companies.

Which computer programming courses stood out to you?

I loved the Android application development courses. The reason that I took mobile application development courses is that I believe mobile apps are the next big thing. Computer programming and Internet programming have become stagnant and we have to keep up with the technologies. Knowing a little bit goes a long way, and if you have the basics, you can practice on your own and then apply it at work.

Describe your internship experience.

The company I was interning for was trying to transition their Web-based product to a mobile application platform. Because I had experience in Web applications, and thanks to the Android development courses, I gave expert advice on mobile app development and the transition. I worked on the technical part of the design of the app. I understood what problems they would have; they didn’t know much about the Android platform, so I was able to help.

How have you been able to apply new skills to work?

I am working on a supply chain platform right now, developing and supporting windows applications. In India, my job was totally programming-oriented; now it’s more functional and technical. I get to meet clients and use the soft skills that I have learned. I did the right thing by pursuing a certification instead of a master’s program; instead of spending two to three years studying, I was able to develop the skills I need in nine months. Extension helped me develop my management skills as well. The program wasn’t just about books; it helped me acculturate to the work environment and the culture here.

What advice do you have for students considering a career in computer programming?

I would advise students who already have a background in computer science to take the advanced classes and explore diverse options. If you don’t have the experience yet, then start with the basics. I also advise taking online classes, because that way you can have the flexibility to do an internship if you want. I advise everyone to do an internship, starting in your second quarter. It helps you get a good job, and offers hands-on experience. It helps you get accustomed to the work culture here, if you’re not from the area.

Visit our Computer Programming page to learn more UCSC Extension’s unique offerings. For information on services and programs for international students, please visit our International Programs page. Browse upcoming Computer Programming courses.

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