Software Architect Explores the World of IT at UCSC Extension


- Suresh Pillai, Information Technology Alumnus

Term : February, 2016
Department : Engineering
Program : Information Technology

Suresh Pillai was working in software and network architecture at Applied Materials for a few years when he first noticed UCSC Extension’s catalogs. An accomplished engineer with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering and a master’s in computer science already underneath his belt, he was excited to see that Extension’s Information Technology program offered up-to-date courses on the latest programs and technologies. He enrolled in a few courses and before long realized was within an arm’s reach of the certificate in IT, which he completed in summer 2015.

 What attracted you to UCSC Extension?

I’m a software and network architect. Over the years I’ve gradually moved into consulting and setting up the infrastructure at my work, applying various technologies and providing training to users at my company. Many of Extension’s courses were quite relevant to this area. I was looking for courses that covered all the technology that has been introduced since completing my M.S. We need to periodically update ourselves to catch up to the market, and to understand how to apply new technologies at work. That’s the reason I got the certificate: because I wanted to know what’s current in IT, and to learn it from instructors who are working right now in Silicon Valley.

How have you applied these skills at work?

I’ve noticed that many times at large companies, upper management are afraid of applying new technologies because they could affect current programs, and they don’t want to create that risk. Technology is changing quite rapidly. Many industries in Silicon Valley are updating not only their work environment, but also their customer-facing side, which means that they expect their workforce to update themselves. But now I can help, because my technical and programming skills are more advanced. I have volunteered to help apply new technologies at work.

What specific trends in IT interest you?

While the fundamental courses are helpful for people new to the field, I especially liked the “The Internet of Things: System Design and Prototyping,” “System Virtualization Fundamentals” and “Cloud Computing, Introduction” courses. There are two kinds of learner programming at my work: you can choose between management or pure technology, and I have chosen the technology side. That’s why I periodically check in to see if there are new courses; I know that if I can spot something new at UCSC Extension, it could help.           

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