Going, going, back, back to….. school??

Written by: Forest

Well folks, I didn’t really ever expect to be saying this… but I’m going back to school to get my Masters in Computer Science. It will be completely online through Georgia Tech. Tech is a highly regarded engineering school and is difficult to get in, so I don’t anticipate the fact that it’s online means that it will be easy… haha. I start my first semester in May!

It’s kind of neat how it has all worked out, because like I mentioned, I had no ambitions of ever going for a graduate degree (especially in Computer Science). For those that don’t know, I originally started my undergrad at IPFW in Computer Science. My first year of college was spent learning Java and all these other programming languages. I struggled (I managed to get B in the courses) but after a year as a CS major I had to get out. I couldn’t see myself sitting behind a desk writing code all day, so I switched to Computer Engineering Technology – which required programming, but was more hardware/network focused.

So here I am today, 3 years removed from graduating IPFW with my BS and 3 years deep into working at AT&T as a network engineer. It’s become very clear that the focus of AT&T, and the telecom industry for that matter, is switching to a virtualized environment. The buzz words these days are SDN (Software Defined Networking) and NFV(Network Function Virtualization). Software is taking over the networking landscape and eventually the nodes and hw that we plan, design, and manage will all be sitting in a server farm somewhere being controlled by software *hence SDN*. Our Officers have made this very clear and have recently partnered with Georgia Tech to offer this Masters program. I know that if I want to stay ahead of the curve and on top of my game I have to do this. So I told my boss I wanted to take advantage of it. The good news is that I didn’t have to take the GRE and work is reimbursing all my tuition costs so it won’t really cost me anything!!! So here I go…

Just to give an idea of the acceptance rate into the program… almost 3000 people applied for the first pilot program. Only 500 were selected for the first semester; of those 500 only 80 were from AT&T. I was not one of them. Because of the overwhelming number of applicants, they actually did not have time to review everyone’s application before the spring semester started. The first semester started in January and they told the rest of us that we would know by February if we got accepted and would start in a subsequent semester. Well.. I found on out Feb 5 that I was accepted to start in the summer term. Only an additional 120 people were selected into the program so far. So about 650 people were selected out of the original 3000 applicants.. yikes..

With that said, starting in May I likely won’t have a life for the next 2 years. It will be all family, work, and school. I’m excited and nervous…

Press 1 for Spanish… Buenos noches, America!

-Forest

photo source

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