Student Story

Computer Science Student Tabytha Smith '23 Exceeds her own Expectations at Simmons

After completing her undergraduate degree, Tabytha Smith thought it was too late to change fields and study computer science. Now, a student in [email protected], she looks forward to a career in software engineering. She has been hired as a Software Engineer at Aurora Flight Sciences and will begin her position in December, 2022.

Why did you decide to attend [email protected]?

I didn't know what computer science was in high school. My first bachelors degree is in business, and right out of college I worked in human resources at an Aerospace company. I was exposed to computer science and data analysis there because that is what the employees were doing. I earned my first Bachelor's degree in business, and right out of college I began to work in the Human Resources department at an Aerospace company. I worked my way into an HR data analytics role, and started to talk to software engineers to gain insight into what they worked on. I didn't know what computer science was in high school or college, so I thought it was too late for me to gain those technical skills.

I started to teach myself Python during the pandemic, and in 2021 I started to research online Computer Science degrees catered towards working professionals. A lot of programs out there had online classes, but required you to be online from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Simmons was the only program offering lectures in the evening, which was exactly what I needed. The smaller class sizes were appealing, and I loved that the program was marketed towards females, especially for a male dominated field. In the future, I hope to become a software engineer in the Aerospace industry, I believe Simmons is setting me up to achieve that goal.

Tell us about your Simmons experience thus far.

It's been fantastic! I don't think I could have asked for a better experience. The professors are so welcoming and encouraging. They create an environment where I am not afraid to ask any question. The classes are small, and I've joined study groups with one or two other students in the class so we can check in on each other. The community and overall culture has been a highlight of my experience.

How is Simmons preparing you to become an everyday leader?

Professor Aspen Olmsted has taken the time to conduct interviews with former female students to talk about their experience being a woman in tech. He posts these for us throughout the semesters, and it has been so inspiring to see women working in all different aspects of technology. I'm not used to hearing stories about women in technology, so hearing their pathways has been really enlightening and inspired me to become a strong leader. Simmons alumni have connected with me and other students on LinkedIn, whether they are on the ground students or online, so we're all building an alumni network!

Any advice for prospective students considering a return to school via online courses?

You are more capable than you give yourself credit for! I recommend taking no more than two classes your first semester, so you can understand the workload and how much time it's going to take. Even if you take one course at a time, nothing bad can come from learning something new. The professors understand that we are working professionals, and the courses are built to accommodate that. They often record lectures that you can watch at any time, and the environment is so welcoming. I do a lot of work during the weekend, but I know it will be worth it!

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