James E. Tomayko Scholarship Winner | Vandit Jain
Vandit Jain is that rare individual who has a clear vision for their future at a young age. While in high school he identified three related goals: earn a master’s degree, pursue a career in software engineering, and eventually hold an executive level position. He is well on his way toward achieving those goals.
His love for software started early in high school with “learning web development. Eventually we learned programming languages. All the things people usually learn in undergraduate, I learned in high school. I fully enjoyed it and knew then that I was going to pursue a career in software engineering. [Creating software] is like music, it’s like art to me.
“Even before I started my bachelor’s degree, I knew that I wanted to earn a master’s degree. My parents always encouraged me; they said that a bachelor’s degree would get you to a place where you are capable enough to do a job, but a master’s degree really helps you specialize and gain expertise. And I’m the kind of person who wants to do something big. The MSE is the perfect fit [for me] because it’s about nurturing the next generation of leaders, and I see myself as a future industry leader.”
While earning his bachelor’s in electrical, electronics, and communications engineering at Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Vandit began developing leadership skills. As the Head of iOS Development for the BITS Developer Society he was responsible for teaching classes of eight to ten students, and as the Curator of the TEDxBITSGoa organizing committee he led a team of 40 students responsible for organizing their 10th edition. “Those experiences taught me what it is to be a leader and how to interact with others and conduct myself.”
Now he looks for leadership opportunities and takes them on whenever possible as he continues to hone his skills. “I'm a people person and I want to help my peers. The MSELi (MSE Leadership Initiative) gave me an opportunity to do that on a large scale for all students [in the MSE Professional Programs]. Everyone in the [MSE Programs] is super smart; they have different backgrounds and experiences, and their own way of doing things, which is very different from how I approach things. Part of being an effective leader is knowing not to help them out by telling them what to do, or how to do it, but by ensuring that they are able to do it in their own way by having the right resources. That’s something I’ve learned [in the MSE].”
When Vandit graduates from Carnegie Mellon in December he hopes to work in industry for a few years before turning his attention towards earning an MBA. “My dad is an executive and has an MBA. I get a little bit of inspiration from him.” As much as he has his future mapped out, he has left room for a degree of spontaneity. “I love the entire software engineering industry; at the moment I don’t have a strong preference for where I end up. But I really enjoyed my internship at VMWare where I worked in cloud core services so right now I’m really into cloud infrastructure and distributed systems. I think for the next few years, that’s where the most interesting work is going to be taking place. And then it’s up to where the industry moves as to where I focus my efforts.”