John Kilgo VI began working at MITRE Corporation more than three years ago as an intern, when he was a UMass Lowell undergraduate. Now, he’s employed there full time as a software systems engineer, while enrolled part time in the master’s program in computer science.
“The flexibility of the program allows the courses to sync up with what I’m doing at work,” says Kilgo. He is employed at the Bedford headquarters of the not-for-profit company, which operates federally funded research and development centers supporting the U.S. government.
“I am in the collaborative and social computing department, where we do a lot of HCI [human-computer interaction],” he says. “Taking an HCI course at UML is helping me. It has caused me to ask myself, ‘How is my user going to use this? Does the workflow I’m building make sense?’”
Kilgo transitioned into the master’s program seamlessly under the accelerated five-year B.S./M.S. option in computer science. There are a limited number of required courses, allowing for a wide range of electives, which Kilgo says helps him keep up with industry trends.
“I have been able to take database and data analytics courses, which are hot topics,” he says. “Whoever can analyze that data is going to come out on top."
UMass Lowell’s focus on building a strong foundation in the fundamentals of computer science helps prepare graduates for a wide variety of positions in the workforce. But in the fast-changing field of technology, it’s imperative to keep learning.
“A master’s combined with experience is really valued,” Kilgo says. Many of his colleagues in the industry recommend UMass Lowell’s master’s program.
For Kilgo, the master’s program hits a trifecta: It offers flexibility and coursework that covers both emerging and foundational topics and helps him in his current job.