Carnegie Mellon University

Eduardo and Norma Frias Scholarship Winner | Sukanya Gupta

A self described introvert, Sukanya Gupta sees her time in the MSE program as an opportunity to not only learn about the technical aspects of software development, but to also gain experience with public speaking and hone her leadership skills. Skills that are necessary for her to achieve her goal of going from being an individual contributor to becoming an industry leader. 

As much as she enjoyed her job as a full-stack developer at Oracle, prior to entering the MSE program, Sukanya was aware of the limitations of her position. “I enjoyed working on the developer projects I was assigned, but there was very little autonomy. Upper management made the decisions, met with clients, and then filtered the information. As a result, the developers really didn’t understand why and how the design decisions were being made.” 

It was her desire to gain a better understanding of the design process that led her to pursue a master’s degree in software engineering, and ultimately, to apply and enroll in the MSE programs. “I wanted to understand that process and the MSE was exactly what I was looking for because it was focused on practical knowledge. For example, in the Software Architecture course we learned at a high level how decisions are made and how those decisions help a company achieve higher business goals. The DevOps and Continuous Integration course was another I really enjoyed because that is something I want to do when I return to industry. It was really fun learning about those concepts.”

The capstone project has been another opportunity for Sukanya to learn about the development life cycle and gain a greater appreciation for the soft skills a good manager needs. “It’s been an enlightening experience. Not only in terms of technical learning, but also in learning and developing soft skills. Having autonomy over the project is great and has played a major role in allowing me to practice leadership skills. Each team member takes on multiple leadership tasks, [rotating among the various roles]. Working with four other people on a team and with an external client for a whole year allows you to develop people skills and learn how to create a positive ethos so that everyone can work well together. The MSE has prepared us all to be capable of fulfilling management positions.”

As graduation nears, Sukanya is looking forward to returning to industry. “I can’t wait to apply everything I’ve learned in the program to future projects. I’m looking forward to having more autonomy on development projects, and spreading knowledge about how to implement processes in order to improve the overall quality of a product and provide a better experience for customers, developers, managers, stakeholders…for everyone.”