Song Xiong has worked at Google since he graduated from the MSE Professional Programs in 2015. In that time, he has been promoted twice and is now a Senior Software Engineer leading teams and projects. He credits the skills he learned in coursework and the capstone project with helping him go from a junior engineer position to his current position.
“There are a lot of times I use the techniques I learned [at the MSE], such as Agile or other development techniques.” For Song, the Managing Software Development (MSD) and Analysis of Software Artifacts courses were particularly helpful. In MSD, “there were a lot of industrial and real-life problems we were trying to solve in a more organized way. Everything was very practical and less theoretical. Analysis emphasized the quality of software development. We learned about different kinds of testing, performance and quality assurance. All of those things are very important to the industrial world because the quality of the software or application is how we build user trust. How robust your software is directly affects how a user uses your product and how the user trusts your product.”
Song also credits the capstone project with providing him with the skills to face the challenges of working with a team. Working with a customer “really helped me and my team to learn those communication skills to help us effectively communicate with different stakeholders.” One of the biggest benefits of the project was learning “expectation management, which I wouldn’t have learned outside the project and is now really important in my current career. A lot of times people will have different assumptions, and if you don’t manage their expectations, they could have a wrong impression about what can and cannot be done.”
Agent of Change
In Spring of 2021, Song joined two fellow alumni on a panel to talk about “A Day in the Life of an MSE Graduate at Google.” Song enjoys giving back to the CMU and MSE community. “I want to continue to keep that connection with CMU even though I have graduated. When I was a student at CMU, I also benefited a lot from other alumni giving talks or helping me prepare for interviews... I also enjoy mentoring people and sharing my experience.” Song’s big heart doesn’t stop there. As a true agent of change, he is always looking for the opportunity to help out others. While he was in the MSE program, you could find him volunteering for the Pittsburgh Park Conservancy. In the Bay Area he has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and (food distribution) through Google’s volunteer program, “Google Serve.”
Looking towards the future
As Song continues to go down the Google career path, he hopes to see himself as a manager of a large team in the next five years. Take it another five years, he ultimately would like to see himself as a software director at a giant tech company or CEO of his own company geared towards helping people. In the meantime, you can find Song around the Bay Area trying out restaurants or hiking trails with his friends. And if you are lucky, you may catch him showing off his hip-hop moves.