Master of Science in Computer Science & Software Engineering

Aytul Arisoy (MSCSSE '16)

What made you choose to apply/enroll in the UW Bothell master's in computer science and software engineering?

After 13 years of experience in industry, I wanted to come back to a strong master's program where I could learn, improve and have enriching experiences. UW Bothell is a credible institution and a place I could develop professionally, with the advantages of great faculty, a small campus and a very welcoming ecosystem (Writing Center, Library, Activities and Recreation Center, Career Center, Center for International Education, etc.), especially for an international student.

What were some of the highlights of your experience as a student?

The MS in CSSE program allowed me to experience the diversity of coursework in both the software engineering and cyber security engineering programs. Learning I could select courses from both programs was an important point for me. Additionally, I am pleasantly surprised how smooth my experience was with registration, enrollment, course selection, etc. The faculty and staff are extremely approachable and helpful; they were there for me whenever I needed anything.

What were your most enjoyable classes?

The Evidence-based Design and Information Assurance classes changed my thinking and perspective. These classes opened my eyes by teaching me current state-of-the-art methodologies and approaches to software development. Secure Software Development and Parallel Computing in Grid & Cloud were equally impressive, self-improving and challenging classes. I am thankful for all my professors and instructors.

What has been the most challenging part of being a student?

I was lucky enough to have an amazing experience in my master's program. If anything, I would say being an international student moving to a new country sometimes had impacts on my onboarding process since some processes were new to me. Also, I want to iterate strongly that writing is a very critical part of the master's program. I encourage prospective graduate students to enroll in the writing courses since the master's program requires writing deep, dense, data-driven technical papers in academic acceptance criteria. Of course, I studied hard knowing a master's degree from UW Bothell would naturally require hard work.

What has been the most rewarding part of being a student?

Being on campus and experiencing the atmosphere in such a welcoming environment felt so good. The students were talented and smart people; so not only did I learn from my professors, I learned from former students in my classes and research groups. The diversity and acceptance of students at UW Bothell is really exceptional.

What advice do you have for future students and to those who may be International?

I encourage future students to know exactly what they want from the program on day one—build a fulfilling course plan and keep iterating it. Another piece of advice is to keep thinking of potential capstone topics from your first quarter on. I also recommend taking classes from both software engineering and cyber security to increase the breadth of knowledge and vision. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of technical and academic writing within the master's program.

Additionally, students should be aware of the services on campus; don’t hesitate to use the support and help of the UW Bothell ecosystem. The Center for International Education (CIE) and faculty are happy to help students. My last piece of advice would be to pursue an internship during summer quarter that supports the program—this was key to my success.

Where are you currently working, and what is your job title? Do you feel the degree prepared you for the work you are doing adequately?

I am currently working as a Software Development Manager III at Amazon Web Services (AWS). I had an internship in AWS during my summer quarter. I feel the master's degree I earned improved and enriched me and provided me means to reason about computer science and software engineering with both deeper and wider perspective and vision.

Any other thoughts you want to share?

UW Bothell is a great ecosystem for graduate students, not only because they have strong academic programs but for the welcoming, embracing and supporting components of the campus. I highly recommend this program for both domestic and international students.