Carnegie Mellon University

A Passion for Software Architecture

When Eshita Agarwal was searching for a graduate program in software engineering, she had one major goal in mind — to fill the gaps in her knowledge about software and systems design. As a team lead at her previous job, she recognized that there was more she wanted to learn in order to gain a deeper understanding of the complete software development life cycle. This motivated her to apply to Carnegie Mellon's Master of Software Engineering (MSE) program, which contained courses specifically focused on software architecture and design.

Now nearing graduation from the MSE program, Eshita has found her niche in software architecture. She names the Software Architecture and Cloud Computing courses as her favorites in the program so far. These courses helped her grasp concepts like system design and cloud architectures. “I had no experience with [cloud computing] before, but it really helped me understand cloud systems and how it correlates with architectures in general,” she explains.

Eshita’s passion for software architecture aligns with her long-term career goals. After gaining more hands-on experience as a software engineer, she hopes to transition into a senior role focused on system design. “My overall aim is to be adept at designing systems. I want to have a good understanding of how software should be designed. When given a problem, I want to be capable of designing a system for it,” she states. The MSE curriculum has set her up with the foundation she needs to achieve this aspiration.

Beyond academic courses, Eshita has honed her leadership abilities through the many group projects and student organizations at Carnegie Mellon. Though initially shy and reluctant to take on leadership roles as an undergraduate, Eshita pushed herself out of her comfort zone when she arrived at the MSE program. Now, she serves as President of the MSE Leadership Initiative (MSELi), a student organization focused on community-building.

Eshita finds that spearheading initiatives for the MSELi uses and develops the communication skills she has built through MSE coursework. “I think the communications courses that I've done over the past few semesters have really helped me understand how to convey my ideas,” she explains. Her role also allows her to plan fun activities and events to bring MSE students together and foster connections across programs like a recent pizza party with the students in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCIl).

In addition to her extracurricular activities, the collaborative group projects within the MSE curriculum have honed Eshita’s leadership abilities. She notes that working within diverse teams has helped her identify teammates’ strengths and weaknesses and understand how to motivate them effectively. “I’ve learned a lot from my peers as well,” she adds. “When someone else has been the team leader, I really try to imbibe whatever good that they do, through those experiences.”

Eshita’s academic excellence, leadership, and service have been recognized through her receipt of the MSE Director’s Scholarship. She is thrilled that her efforts are being acknowledged. “I think it’s a recognition of the work that I'm putting into my academics and an indication of my personal growth,” she says.

As she looks ahead to graduation, Eshita is grateful for the ways the MSE program has allowed her to develop as both a software engineer and a leader. She feels well-equipped to achieve her ultimate goal of designing complex software systems, thanks to the curriculum’s emphasis on architecture. Her experience at Carnegie Mellon has also given her a stronger understanding of working in teams and leading others effectively. Whichever direction her career path takes her, Eshita is confident that the MSE program has provided her with the perfect foundation.