True, so true. Smart technology is part and parcel of every industry, every company, every household across the globe. Driving this software explosion forward are the bleeding-edge companies in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
It’s the bright star that drew Tetiana to leave her native Ukraine and settle in the Bay Area. It was her north star to change careers from international trade and export and import processes.
“I was inspired by the IT professionals in Silicon Valley,” muses Tetiana, who is now a software quality engineer at Natera, a global leader in cell-free DNA testing and research. “I had a few friends who were already in this field. I had attended multiple IT and startup conferences in the Bay Area, met many incredibly smart and interesting people there, and I felt it was the right place to be.”
Indeed, being in the hub of software development allowed Tetiana to get a foothold working in IT and software testing upon journeying to the U.S. A few years into the position and Tetiana—ever-reaching to climb new heights—wanted to propel her career forward. She craved additional academic guidance, experiential learning—a full knowledge expansion in software development processes and coding.
This desire to excel makes her a strong candidate within the software development universe—it’s a fast-paced field that is challenging, “but there’s always room for learning and expanding your skill base,” Tetiana adds.
“A great thing about the software industry is that it is a multicultural environment. Meeting people from all different parts of the world and getting to know their cultures is one of the benefits of working in IT.
“Another perk is that you can actually work from anywhere. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed that IT people don’t need to be in the office to be productive. This gives us a lot of flexibility and freedom in choosing our residence location.”
When I learned about the classes, remote and self-paced studying, and at the same time getting feedback and support from the most respected in this field, I knew that this program was exactly what I was looking for.
That same flexibility and freedom of working remotely is just one of the features that drew her to our Certificate Program in Software Development and Programming:
Completing the certificate fully online
Learning from industry experts
Improving her coding skills
Receiving hands-on experience with databases and SQL
Diving deep into software project planning, management and product building strategies.
Oh, and a referral from a coworker who also completed this certificate was just the icing on the cake. “When I learned about the classes, remote and self-paced studying, and at the same time getting feedback and support from the most respected in this field, I knew that this program was exactly what I was looking for.”
Tell me about your experience going through the certificate.
The curriculum gave me a brilliant opportunity to learn not only from the instructors, but also from my fellow students. All of us were in the same boat. Many students had already been working in the software field and they were always willing to share their hands-on experience.
The great thing that UC Berkeley Extension provides to the students is not only the academic knowledge, but also hands-on experience in applying that knowledge. I got to do multiple technical tasks and challenges that require a lot of research, logical thinking and analysis.
I really appreciate that many instructors work in the area that they teach—they're able to share real-life examples and challenges.
You also took many of your classes online.
I am a full-time employee so online classes were very convenient for me to fit them into my busy schedule. For many of my classmates, it was the only opportunity to take the class. A few of them were from different states and time-zones.
The online studying was very effective. Almost all classes are interactive. That gives students opportunities to communicate with the instructor and with each other. We also had multiple team projects. Students were grouped into teams based on their skills and interests. There was always a lot of interaction in every class.
After COVID hit, it became common for most of us to work remotely, and studying from home combined well with that.
Also, online classes improved my self-discipline. I had to plan and schedule my assignments, follow my class timelines and complete projects by the due date.
The great thing that UC Berkeley Extension provides to the students is not only the academic knowledge, but also hands-on experience in applying that knowledge.
Where were you working while you were taking classes?
When I signed up for the certificate program, I was a software tester at Business Wire, a press release–distribution company.
At that time, I wanted to be a part of the biotech industry, so I set it up as the next step in my career. The certificate program was one of the tools to achieve this goal. Learning software development, practicing Python coding and writing test automation scripts helped me along the way.
I believe that being in the biotech industry is not only an important job, but also a very rewarding path to take. I see the impact of my work on people’s lives and I’m proud of what I do.
I really enjoyed studying, and I’m already thinking about the next program I want to take.
That’s great that you were able to join the biotech field! How are you employing lessons learned in your everyday work?
I regularly use my knowledge in this way:
Data Mining Using SQL class: I work with databases on a daily basis, creating complex SQL queries on the go.
Programming Python class: Even though another programming language is used in my current company, this class gave me a solid understanding of Object-Oriented Programming (OOP). Once you’re familiar with OOP principles, you can apply them to any object-oriented language.
Software Project Management class: This class gave me great understanding of how to plan, design and develop any software product from scratch. I use this knowledge to set correct timelines and estimations for the projects I work on, to split the project into the separate phases, assess risks, and deliver MVP on time and within the budget.
Fundamentals of Website Development class: Even though I mostly work with APIs and databases, this class helps me to easily catch and troubleshoot front-end errors.
What does earning this certificate mean for you personally and professionally?
The certificate not only helped with my career development and my competitive level, but it also added a lot to my professional confidence and self-esteem. I really enjoyed studying, and I’m already thinking about the next program I want to take.
What advice on how to best succeed would you give to a student who is starting the certificate?
Never stop trying and you will find yourself where you want to be. No matter if it is just a small project or a life-changing achievement, it is always amazing to see when the small steps lead into a large milestone.
I also believe that the best investment is the one in yourself. So keep learning, keep challenging yourself and keep growing.