Software Engineer Finds OPT Opportunities Through Extension


- Sheela Sampath, Computer Programming Alumna

Term : February, 2013
Department : Engineering
Program : Computer Programming, Internet Programming & Dev

When Sheela Sampath left India, she was already an experienced software engineer. Her husband had accepted a job in the United States and she arrived as a dependent on his visa, but before long she realized she wanted to enter the workforce herself. In order to do that, she had to learn the latest technologies and tools in Web development. That’s when she found Extension’s certificate programs in Computer Programming and Internet Programming and Development.

“I wanted to keep myself updated with the latest technologies,” she says. “I came across the International Student program on the UCSC Extension site and it was the best option for me, as it [offered] OPT, where you can apply your skills in a real [work] environment for one whole year.”

She learned that, as an international student looking to transition to optional practical training (OPT), she would have to apply for an F-1 visa. She contacted Extension’s International Programs for help with this process.

“The International program staff were very helpful at every stage to let me know the next procedure and also to keep track of my status,” she says.

She studied most of the Web-based and mobile technologies offered at Extension, including C#, Java, Python, Ruby on Rails and Silverlight, and learned the basics of application development for Android and iPhone. She particularly enjoyed the C# Advanced, Android Development and LAMP, and Python courses, and appreciated the way Extension instructors made every effort to provide effective assignments and be respectful of student needs.

Since completing both certificates, Sampath has gone on to work as a solution architect at Quantum Secure, where she programs, integrates third party devices and deals with customer queries.

“The courses I took at UCSC Extension have helped me right from clearing my interviews until now, when I am working with clients and [and working to] implement coding accordingly,” she says.

She recommends that up-and-coming engineers invest their time studying Web and mobile technologies, as these industries are booming. Many of Extension’s Engineering and Technology programs offer courses that focus on Web programming and application development.

Visit our Computer Programming and Internet Programming and Development program pages 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 and Internet Programming and Development courses.

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