Mechanical Engineer-Turned-Programmer Lands Research Support Intern Position at SLAC


- Supriya Premkumar

Term : November, 2016
Department : Technology
Program : User Experience and Web Design

Within a year of completing her certificate in Internet Programming and Development, Supriya Premkumar has already launched a series of successful mobile apps. When she first enrolled, she was completely new to programming, having studied mechanical engineering in India. She completed an internship at Y Media Labs while studying full-time before eventually accepting a position at the Stanford National Accelerator Laboratory.

What skills did you want to learn when you began your studies?

Because I was switching from mechanical engineering to computer science, and I had no programming experience or knowledge, I wanted to learn Java, Android and the MEAN stack. I learned all of these languages at UCSC Extension, and now I am learning even more in my current position. The languages I learned at Extension helped me transition into learning more advanced computer science concepts while gaining real-time experience.

How did your internship enhance your learning experience?

At Y Media Labs, I was part of a two-member team. I was responsible for building a native android application for a bank. I built contacts page calendaring capabilities. After completing my program I also completed an android developer bootcamp at CodePath, which helped me build on skills I learned at UCSC Extension.

What courses stood out to you?

The “Java Programming for Beginners” and “JavaScript and AJAX, Comprehensive” classes were especially helpful. The instructors overall were very supportive in ensuring comprehension of the course material. What kinds of apps have you developed? One of my applications,, has a very high rating in Google Play Store; it’s been installed in Indonesia, India, and the U.S. is a task management application which lets you manage and prioritize tasks. At CodePath I developed a New York Times article search app and a fully featured Twitter client. I also built an online marketplace app for buying and selling of books called Bibliophile.

Do you have any advice for aspiring programmers?

UCSC Extension provides a great opportunity for students from different streams to switch to computer science and can act as a gateway into learning more advanced topics. The course format is concise and well-tailored to have the right amount of depth and a low enough barrier to entry. The staff, both faculty and administrative, are very helpful. I’d like to share a special shout-out to Ray, Kathy and team for helping us understand F1 visa requirements and staying on top of things! What are you up to now? I have an exciting internship to look forward to at SLAC where I will be working with the best minds. UCSC Extension was my first step in preparing for the rigors of life as a software engineer.