Software Engineer Without A Degree

To be honest with you, I have a degree…but not in a computer science related area.

Even though I have a bachelor degree in Chemistry and master degree in Environmental Science, I didn’t take any computer science class at school. Each time I look into my past, I wonder why I didn’t take a computer science class when I had a chance. Well, I guess this is life! Computer science was here all the time, waiting for me to discover it…

After I graduated from Lehigh University in 2012, I started my internship at Greenpeace in Washington DC. During that time, Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) just started to bloom. I tried my first CS class in Coursera- Computer Science 101 taught by Professor Nick Parlante from Stanford University. It was not until then that I realized how interesting computer science is. I was like a kid in the theme park and wanted to try every ride. Afterwards, I took CS50x from edX. Professor David J. Malan showed me so many CS foundations each week. When I worked in the National Agriculture Library, there were so many data that needed to be processed. Using software to help us processing data seems to be the solution. My boss, Director Simon Y. Liu told me, “It’s usually easy to find an expert in the environmental field and easy to find an expert in CS field, but it’s hard to find an expert who knows these two field well. If you can become expert like this, your future will be limitless”.

Thanks to Dr. Liu, I then started to devour more and more programing and computer science knowledge. A few months later, I met my current supervisors at a networking event. Their startup was looking for more employees, and my (limited) CS technique and analytical skills seemed a good fit for them. Therefore, my journey as a software engineer (in training) started before I ever expected. How awesome is that!

You never know where life would lead you, so be prepared for the surprises!

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