The Brandeis GPS blog

Insights on online learning, tips for finding balance, and news and updates from Brandeis GPS

Author: angelaself (page 1 of 6)

Defining My Career Goals with Brandeis GPS

Contributed by: Rachel McAllister

For my undergraduate major at Brandeis, I majored in Film, TV and Interactive Media. Through that major, I became exposed to the technical aspects of film and became interested in visual storytelling. As I looked into options for a post-grad program, I steered my search into the Brandeis GPS program. The Rabb school was offering senior year students the option of taking two GPS courses during their senior year. Excited about this opportunity, I decided to take two courses in the M.S Digital Marketing and Design program. Digital marketing is a large part of today’s social and business climates, as it uses digital technologies for storytelling, communication and to market products and services. 

It was then that it became clear the Digital Marketing and Design Program was the best fit for me. Not only was I able to complete two of the required courses during undergrad, but I had schedule autonomy as the program is fully online. Due to the acceleration options I was offered as a Brandeis undergrad, I have the opportunity to complete the program in just three sessions.

As a Brandeis student who went straight from undergrad to the Master’s program, I advise all students who are looking to do the same or are just interested in trying out new classes, to optimize on this unique opportunity! My career goals to work in digital marketing for media have been more clearly defined since taking my first two GPS courses.

Designing, Developing and Maintaining Software Systems

Software engineers enjoy profound flexibility in the global job market. There are ample opportunities in banking, health care, insurance, defense, finance, education and countless other industries that use computing technology in its endeavors. As companies experience the rapid expansion of technology and the impact on all aspects of their businesses, software engineers with a unique set of technology skills are in high demand.

The Master of Software Engineering at Brandeis GPS is designed to help professionals in robotics build advanced skills in various robotic software engineering technologies and develop hands-on experience with the technology stack. Upon degree completion, students are equipped to:

  • Apply software engineering best practices to design, develop, operate and maintain software systems.
  • Build software solutions using different technologies, architects and life-cycle approaches in the context of different organizational structures, with demonstrated programming expertise in Java.
  • Collaborate and communicate with team members and other stakeholders to achieve software development project goals.

When we asked Joshua, a Master of Software Engineering Graduate, about the program, this is what he said,

“Many of the courses in the program provided me with incredible skills that would have been difficult to learn on my own. I was able to learn multiple different programming languages and apply them through required projects and assignments. In doing so, I feel I have improved my marketability and my value to my company and provided me with opportunities going forward in my life.”

The GPS community extends beyond our online classrooms. Students have the opportunity to expand their professional circles and build meaningful connections with our faculty, program chairs, and advisory board members. In addition, our programs are designed to help students balance a graduate education with a full-time job and other professional, academic, or personal commitments.

For more information on the Software Engineering program or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit brandeis.edu/gps.

Leveraging Community Expertise to Address Today’s Pressing Topics

By: Andie D'Agostino, Assistant Director of Partnership Engagement

The Rabb School of Continuing Studies recently hosted a professional development webinar series addressing some of today’s pressing topics – from women in leadership to developing a workplace culture in this “new normal” to the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.

This three-part series featured members of Brandeis – Graduate Professional Studies’ program advisory boards. These individuals offer strategic guidance and expertise on the latest advances and demands in their respective industries. 

“At the Rabb School, we are continuously striving to support our mission and provide innovative educational opportunities to students. The Brandeis corporate team has been collaborating with members of our community and finding new ways of engaging the broader community outside of our traditional course offerings. We are thrilled to have hosted this webinar series and really leverage the expertise of members of our programs’ advisory boards. The success of this professional development opportunity will no doubt lead to similar events in the future!” – Kathryn Wight, Director of Partnership Engagement at Brandeis 

The full breakdown of each webinar is as follows:

Leading and Managing Diverse Teams

Today’s workforces are diverse, and leading them effectively requires leaders to be skillful in their approach. This interactive presentation focused on three key areas of impact for leaders: personal filters and how this impacts perceptions; unconscious bias and the role it plays in leading teams; and finally, how neuroscience is showing the key role that dignity plays in creating engaged teams. 

Led by: Kari Heistad, CEO of Culture Coach International 

Link to recording here

Women in Leadership and the Evolving Workplace

Women now make up the majority of the workforce in the United States, and yet, they continue to face challenges in the workplace. Unfortunately, gender inequality is still a huge problem in the workplace today, and the divide grows wider towards the top. This panel of women in senior leadership positions in their respective industries covered topics including the impact of unconscious bias in the workplace, the importance of representation in leadership positions, and how to include men as allies in the conversation. 

Panelists included:

  • Chris O’Connor, Divisional Information Technology Management at MIT Lincoln Laboratory 
  • Christine Loredo, President and COO at TiFiPay 
  • Diane Menasco, Director of Nursing Informatics at MGB Salem Hospital 
  • Subhadra Mahanti, Software Engineering Manager at Medtronic 

Link to recording here 

Managing and Navigating the New Workplace Culture 

Workplace culture is not only a business imperative; it’s also critical to future success. A big part of the workplace experience is the daily interaction with our “work family.” This personal and social aspect of work has suffered a Coronavirus blow. There’s no simple solution to finding future success when employee interactions are virtual, but there are ways to help. In this panel presentation, the panel talked about how their companies have responded to the pandemic, what workplace culture means in a virtual environment, and how employers can support, motivate, and develop their staff at a distance. 

Panelists included:

  • Sam Shoolman, Director of Sales at HubSpot
  • Christine Zimmerman, Product Marketing Manager at Curriculum Associates
  • Sarah Salbu Young, Talent Programs Partner at Pegasystems 
  • Michael Katz, Director of Digital Marketing at BitSight 

Link to recording here 

Leaders in Fintech are in High Demand and Highly Valued

Leaders in FinTech — a rapidly growing field that focuses on a hybrid of finance, software, analytics and the user experience — are in high demand and highly valued. More and more organizations rely on blockchain and other new technologies to streamline financial and reporting systems. For that reason, Brandeis GPS created the Master of Science in Digital Innovation for FinTech, the first FinTech master’s degree in the country. The 30-credit fully online graduate program explores how to create innovative technology solutions for the fast-paced world of financial services. The program helps professionals combine innovation and entrepreneurship to develop financial solutions that use technology in innovative ways.

As startup founders, financial services innovators and active working professionals, our faculty structure their curriculum to draw on real-world expertise and connections. Upon degree completion, students are equipped to: 

  • Design leading-edge financial solutions using emerging technologies.
  • Measure and communicate the ROI of FinTech solutions to stakeholders.
  • Apply financial theories to solve investor problems and design technology solutions.

The interactive seminar-style classes, with an average class size of 12, enhance the student experience, along with access to networking events, webinars and conference opportunities. The MS in Digital Innovation for FinTech gives FinTech professionals an opportunity to advance their careers in one of the most promising industries in today’s job market. When we asked Jake, a 2020 MS In Digital Innovation for Fintech Graduate, about the program, he said,

“The MS in Digital Innovation for FinTech has been excellent. I regularly speak to new contacts in the Fintech space and we have really amazing conversations. The materials have absolutely benefited my abilities to connect with all kinds of contacts in digital innovation spaces that perhaps in the past I would not have been able to have deep discussions with.”

The GPS community extends beyond our online classrooms. Students have the opportunity to expand their professional circles and build meaningful connections with our faculty, program chairs, and advisory board members. In addition, our programs are designed to help students balance a graduate education with a full-time job and other professional, academic, or personal commitments.

For more information on the Digital Innovation for FinTech program or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit brandeis.edu/gps.

 

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight

McKenzie Little ‘23

California

Design Automation Engineer

Program: MS in User-Centered Design

In her spare time, McKenzie enjoys hiking, camping, yoga, making coffee, and reading. 

 

Get to know McKenzie Little! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

I was really drawn to the courses listed in the program and the online flexibility for working professionals.

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

I was able to have a part-time work rotation with a UX team at my workplace and it really solidified my desire to pursue UX as a career.

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far? 

I start the first class in my program in a few short weeks! I am very excited to begin my studies online at Brandeis University. 

What are your hopes and aspirations for the rest of your time at Brandeis? 

I hope to learn as much as possible and make great connections with other students. 

What are your plans for after graduation?

I plan to work in the UX field.

For more information on the User-Centered Design program, visit: https://www.brandeis.edu/gps/academics/user-centered-design/index.html.

 

Why Patient Care and Health Informatics Matter Now More Than Ever

The lines between technology, computer science, communications, and healthcare are blurring as information systems within the health and medical industry continue to grow more complex. According to a case study coming out of Belgium, medical and health informatics services during and after the COVID-19 pandemic should be virtual, tailored, responsive and interactive. More and more, organizations are turning to health informatics to improve efficiency and cut costs while delivering better healthcare to individuals and populations. Organizations need leaders who can manage healthcare delivery with new information technology standards in mind. These individuals must possess a deep knowledge of regulations around medical data; the capacity to use information systems to support strategic decision making; and the ability to develop and implement efficient IT solutions to improve patient care. 

The Master of Science in Health Informatics at GPS prepares professionals to improve patient and healthcare outcomes as well as organizational performance. The fully online master’s degree provides professionals with the skills to develop, manage, and evaluate information technology systems in order to improve the quality of care. When we asked Christina, an MS in Health Informatics Graduate, about the program, this is what she said,

“The Health Informatics program was deeply helpful in providing me with an understanding of how and why the field of medical informatics emerged. It provides an excellent foundation of the field, the issues to be solved within the field, and the methodologies and existing theories on achieving better healthcare outcomes, at scale, through strategic implementation of technology.”

It’s clear that health informatics students are learning directly from faculty working in the field, staying ahead of the evolving industry. Our program prepares students to improve patient and healthcare outcomes as well as organizational performance. Upon degree completion, students are equipped to:

  • Build and implement IT data solutions for clinicians and administrators.
  • Work with data systems developers, user communities and other stakeholders to design safe and effective data governance policies that ensure the privacy and security of patient data.
  • Lead and manage projects that advance change to ensure quality processes meet industry standards and enable the development of innovative practices.

The GPS community extends beyond our online classrooms. Students have the opportunity to expand their professional circles and build meaningful connections with our faculty, program chairs, and advisory board members. In addition, our programs are designed to help students balance a graduate education with a full-time job and other professional, academic, or personal commitments.

For more information on the Health Informatics program or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit brandeis.edu/gps.

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Amalia Cesare ‘21

User Experience Writer at The Vanguard Group in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania

Program: MS in User-Centered Design 

In her spare time, Amalia loves to explore the many trails in her area while she trains for a half marathon with her husband. During quarantine, she picked up gardening as a hobby and she is currently starting her second batch of seedlings to plant for the summer. She also lives in an area that is heavily concentrated with breweries, so she has enjoyed trying new suds and logging them on Untappd!

Get to know Amalia Cesare! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

I chose Brandeis for several reasons. I was looking for a program that would fit into my life in a realistic way. I have two bonus kids, a full-time job, and when I started the program I had recently become a new homeowner and was planning a wedding. Life was chaotic to say the least! I wanted a program that offered top-tier education while also offering me the flexibility to meet my other obligations. I also needed a program that was fully remote because I was not in a position to relocate.

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

The short answer is that I was both inspired and frustrated by my experience in the IT field. As a technical writer, I was essentially the first user of a product. My engineers would hand over a final build and ask me to document it. This process exposed a lot of product and experiences issues that we just didn’t have the bandwidth to fix based on where my work fell in the product development life cycle. I wanted to move into User Experience and position myself at the beginning of the product life cycle because I wanted to be able to design meaningful experiences and effect positive change for the users of the products I was working on. 

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far? 

To say that I’ve loved my experience at Brandeis would be an understatement! Brandeis has given me so many things: a chance to learn from industry experts, the opportunity to learn through doing, the ability to network with others in the industry, and the confidence to step out of my comfort zone. At my previous employer, I was able to take on additional responsibilities as a UX Designer/Writer in addition to my role as a technical writer. Recently, I was lucky enough to be able to start a new position as a User Experience Writer with The Vanguard Group. My experience at Brandeis gave me the knowledge and confidence to nail my interviews.

What are your hopes and aspirations for the rest of your time at Brandeis? 

I’m planning to complete my program in June of 2021. I hope that, during this time, I can continue to grow my UX network and showcase the knowledge I’ve accumulated with my capstone project. I also hope to continue mentoring students that are new to the program so they can have a successful and enjoyable experience at Brandeis!

What are your plans for after graduation?

While I don’t have any specific plans for after graduation, I’m hoping to continue learning and growing in my new role as a UX Writer. In the future, I’m hoping to transition into UX Research.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Overall, I think the best advice that I could give to incoming students is to not rush through the program if you don’t have to. I’ve taken one class a session, which felt slow to me at first, but I’m so glad that I did. It gave me the opportunity to really focus on and absorb the material I was learning and to enjoy the process of gaining new skills. I’d also echo the advice of many others and say that you should never be afraid to ask questions! I came into this program without a background in design and was worried that it would put it at a disadvantage; it didn’t. If you have a question, just ask. There are many others in your class that have the same question (trust me!) and you’re not going to look silly for asking. This is the best opportunity to further your knowledge and level the playing field!

What has been your favorite class to-date? 

My favorite class so far has been Information Architecture! It was one of the more challenging classes that I’ve taken in the program, but coming from an English background, understanding how tightly language is tied to positive and usable experiences made me feel like I had the ability to apply my existing expertise in a new field. It was also my first exposure to user research, which was both exciting and terrifying! Having to conduct tests with users took me out of my comfort zone, but it has grown into an experience that I love.

For more information on the User-Centered Design program, visit: https://www.brandeis.edu/gps/academics/user-centered-design/index.html.

Explore the Latest Design and Development Processes for Effective UX Leadership

When product development and design processes are user-centric, they become more refined and accessible to users. For that reason, companies are integrating user-centered design in their business operations to improve the user experience and engagement across company sectors. As a result, professionals specializing in user-centered design are in high demand. In fact, Glassdoor has identified UX Designer as #27 on their current list of best jobs in America. Professionals who enjoy working at the intersection of creativity, psychology and technology, and who are curious about how design affects learning and behavior, are discovering ways to set themselves apart from their fellow user-centered designed peers. Our MS in User-Centered Design program is an option.

The fully online master’s degree at Brandeis GPS is designed to strike a balance of theory and practice in applying psychological principles and user research to create useful and innovative user experiences. Students explore the latest design and development processes while building the management and collaboration skills essential for effective UX leadership. Upon degree completion, students are equipped to:

  • Master interaction design and information architecture tools and techniques, including design ideation and prototyping.
  • Understand and apply the physical and psychological human factors that impact how users interact with digital products and technology.
  • Hone your skills in design thinking, qualitative and quantitative research and evaluation, and leadership.

When we asked Theresa, a User-Centered Design graduate, about the program, this is what she said,

“While a student at Brandeis, I discovered new opportunities and pathways for professional growth that I never realized existed.”

The GPS community extends beyond our online classrooms. Students have the opportunity to expand their professional circles and build meaningful connections with our faculty, program chairs, and advisory board members. In addition, our programs are designed to help students balance a graduate education with a full-time job and other professional, academic, or personal commitments. We will also offer a full-time learning option for our MS in User-Centered Design program. You’ll have the opportunity to complete your graduate degree in one year. 

For more information on the User-Centered Design program or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit brandeis.edu/gps.

Red Hat Cohort Explores New Professional Development Opportunities at Brandeis

By: Andie D'Agostino, Assistant Director of Partnership Engagement

“As an enterprise software company that relies on an open source development model and the communities that create it, we wanted to broaden our staff’s perspective on open source and to take advantage of the unique, management-focused education available through the Brandeis program. Having a strong foundation and understanding of the history of open source, community development, and product development cycles contributes to professional development and expands opportunities for Red Hat associates, so supporting the cohort of Red Hatters interested in the program was an easy choice.” – Neisha Fredericks, Operations Manager – Open Source Program Office (OSPO) at Red Hat.

Brandeis University has been offering a unique custom education program in partnership with the Open Source Initiative since January 2019. The Open Source Technology Management (OSTM) program is dedicated to enhancing and supporting the open source community through content that is founded in the principles of software freedom and collaborative development. Red Hat, the largest open source company in the world, shares these principles and has enjoyed a close collaboration with the university for some time.

Currently, we are pleased to have a cohort of Red Hat associates participating in the program working toward certification in Open Source Technology Management.                                                                                                                   

Each member of the current Red Hat cohort is involved in the company’s Blacks United in Leadership and Diversity (B.U.I.L.D.) community. B.U.I.L.D. is one of the many diversity and inclusion communities within Red Hat that supports cultivating a work environment that thrives on diverse perspectives and fosters a connected community of Black Red Hatters and their allies. B.U.I.L.D. supports Red Hat’s efforts to recruit, develop, and engage Black associates thereby advancing Red Hat’s diverse, inclusive meritocracy.

“The community is voluntary and most importantly, associate-led, with a focus on fostering diversity and inclusion within Red Hat and often contributing to our overall diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy,” said Neisha Fredericks, operations manager, Open Source Program Office, at Red Hat.

The Brandeis corporate team interviewed three of these Red Hat associates half-way through the program to learn more about their motivation for joining and their experiences in the micro-courses. Carl Howell, who is a knowledge management process owner, joined to expand his perspective on open source. His team recently began collaboration with Red Hat’s open source program office (OSPO), and the Brandeis program presented an important opportunity to gain a better understanding of the role and responsibilities of the OSPO to help ensure the services he was providing were of value to them.     

Stacy Hamilton, a workflow and tooling enablement project manager on Red Hat’s Customer Experience and Engagement team, shared that “being able to speak to open source software, open source technology, open source communities … was something I was really interested in being able to do.”     

As more and more companies start to adopt open source software (OSS) in their business practices, it was important for us to design a program that provided content applicable to a wide audience with varying degrees of open source knowledge. Although the Red Hat cohort is only half-way through the program, the students interviewed noted these courses have been enlightening, and have even expanded their knowledge of Red Hat’s own business.     

Stacy has valued the opportunity to work with colleagues around the world and noted that having a similar opportunity in the OSTM program was an added benefit.     

The OSTM program has welcomed students across multiple time zones, from San Francisco, California to Brooklyn, New York to Geneva, Switzerland. Ron Brown, who is an IT Enablement program manager at Red Hat, agrees that working with people from other companies on group projects has enriched his experience in the program.     

He said, “For new ideas to form, for cultures to be challenged, and for things to change, you actually have to step outside that box and try and engage people with different ideas.”

“Brandeis is thrilled to have this cohort from Red Hat participate in the OSTM program. At the Rabb School, we create professional development opportunities that align with industry demand and needs. We are proud to support Red Hat in their learning and development initiatives through this series of micro-courses, digital badges, and certification in Open Source Technology Management.” – Dr. Lynne Rosansky, VP of the Rabb School of Continuing Studies.

We run our four-week micro-courses on a regular basis but can also customize the experience for a team or organization upon request. For more information, visit our website or contact the Rabb School corporate team at partnerships@brandeis.edu. 

 

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Lauren Haynes ‘23

Digital Marketing Specialist at PGIM Investments in New Jersey

Program: MS in User-Centered Design

In her spare time, Lauren enjoys long runs on the weekend and baking. 

Get to know Lauren Haynes! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

The Brandeis GPS program is great for those working full time or who require a flexible schedule. You get the experience of a full master’s program without having to make any sacrifices for work or your personal life. Also, it’s great to obtain a degree from a top-ranking university.

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

I gained some familiarity with UX in my current role and that sparked my interest in the field. UX challenges me to think differently and put myself in the shoes of the end-user. You want to create an experience that is not only useful but also pleasurable for your target audience.

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far? 

I love working on the assignments in this program. We work on real-life projects that are directly applicable to the real world. The best thing about UX is that it can be applied to all facets of business from designing a website interface to creating an onboarding program for new hires.

What are your hopes and aspirations for the rest of your time at Brandeis? 

I want to create relationships with my professors/peers and learn as much as I can. UX is a relatively new field and I want to absorb as much as I can. 

What are your plans for after graduation?

I am hoping to take more UX projects in my current role and provide added value to my team. 

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’ll learn a lot from your professors who are leaders in their industry and classmates who can provide a unique perspective.

What has been your favorite class to-date? 

So far, I’ve only taken User Experience but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the class so far. It has challenged me to think differently and is directly applicable to my current role. 

For more information on the User-Centered Design program, visit: https://www.brandeis.edu/gps/future-students/learn-about-our-programs/user-centered-design.html.

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