Canadian HR Professional Discovers Passion for Design at UCSC Extension


- Meghna Patel

Term : September, 2016
Department : Engineering
Program : Internet Programming & Dev

Meghna Patel worked as a human resources professional for a Canadian company for many years before deciding it was time for a shift in career. Though she had been trained as an engineer, after 10 years in recruitment she had not had the opportunity to upgrade her technical skills. She decided there was no better place to study computer and Internet programming than Silicon Valley, and enrolled in UCSC Extension’s Internet Programming and Development certificate program to learn the nuts and bolts. While pursuing her certificate, she interned at a local startup, combining her skills in HR and engineering.

What initially brought you to Silicon Valley?

I had been coming to California to visit for years, and the last time I came, I volunteered to provide some HR support to a friend of mine who founded a startup. I realized that I wanted to know more about computer and Internet programming, and UCSC Extension has the perfect introductory program. It was too good to be true: Extension is right here in Silicon Valley, plus it has UC value.

What did you appreciate about the program?

I liked that the courses start at the basic level and delve into more and more complex programming. As a student you have so many course options. I realized in my “Mobile Interface Design” course that I’m better at designing than coding. The best thing about UCSC Extension’s courses is that you can do a lot of hands-on work. Each class had either a project or an assignment on a regular basis that helped us discover more about the subject and ask big questions.

What kinds of projects helped you learn?

The entire “Mobile Interface Design” course concentrated on designing a mobile app. It was in that class that I discovered my passion for design. For my project, I designed a user interface for my own imaginary app. At the end of each class, the instructor would give us feedback on how we were progressing. My app was designed for people who want to learn to cook. The project was so fun, it didn’t feel like learning. I gave a presentation at the end of class and it was well received.

What was your internship experience like?

It was a great combination of my HR and project management background with my newfound interest in coding and programming. Now that I have a better technical foundation, I can lead a team of developers in a much better way. My studies and assignments were helpful to apply in real life. When you work in a startup, the learning curve can be very steep, so it was great for me to implement what I learned in class.

What advice do you have for people interested in programming?

Go to UCSC Extension. It offers so much flexibility. You can choose between classroom and online courses, and you can start with just one course. If you discover you want to move forward, you can always enroll in a certificate. The UC value is beyond imagination, and it’s cost-effective. 

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

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