Dependable Software Systems — Oksana Hlushko
Alumnus Story — Oksana Hlushko
Although Oksana Hlushko originally intended to be an air traffic controller, after graduating with a degree in air navigation she began working in information technology and never looked back. Honing her technical skills at a software company in Kiev, she worked her way up from a customer support role to eventually become a product owner.
Pursuing a graduate degree was the next step, but she wasn’t sure if she wanted to do a master’s in computer science or an MBA. “The MEL was the perfect fit because I couldn’t decide which degree I wanted to do more, and it basically offered both,” she says.
The 12-month program length and UBC’s location in Vancouver were also key selling points.
Hands-on technical classes
Having been out of school for six years, Oksana initially found the software engineering courses challenging. The error-resilient computing systems class, for example, required a fair amount of coding – something she hadn’t done much of in her prior position. She rose to the challenge by working hard, asking questions and sharing the workload on group projects.
“The concepts in the software verification and testing class were also new to me, as I didn’t have a professional background in testing,” she says. “But this class really stood out and highlighted how important it is to dedicate time and resources to testing the software you are developing.”
Overall, she says, the depth and breadth of the software engineering classes enabled her to expand her technical knowledge and expertise. She also worked over the year as a TA in the computer science department and completed a short-term research internship in a lab.
Creative Destruction Lab another opportunity for hands-on learning
About 40 per cent of the Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) in Dependable Software Systems is taught through UBC Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School. In addition to a series of core business and leadership classes, students can choose one or two electives. Oksana successfully applied to participate in the Creative Destruction Lab Venture Program, a course in entrepreneurship that is run in association with an international accelerator program for scalable science and technology companies.
Along with other MEL, MHLP and MBA students, Oksana worked with emerging startups that had been selected to participate in the Creative Destruction Lab, helping them with market research, situational analysis and other business-development activities to launch and scale their growth. “This was a fantastic – and intense – experience and I was able to contribute to three separate ventures,” she says.
Now working as a product manager
Oksana began attending networking events and applying for jobs in the fall of 2019, received a job offer in November and started a full-time job just as she was completing her MEL coursework in December. She’s now a product manager at Fabric, a US e-commerce company with a product development team in Vancouver.
“Having a master’s degree from UBC certainly helped me get this position,” she says. “In addition to the credential itself, the knowledge and skills I developed over the year gave me confidence – helping me throughout the job application process and in my new job.”
She’s excited to be working in Canada and encourages others who are interested in living and working abroad to consider professional graduate programs. “Going to school helps ease the transition to a new culture, making it easier to quickly adapt and make connections.”
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