The University of Pennsylvania’s online Master of Computing and Information Technology degree (MCIT Online) is a one-of-a-kind program designed for students without a computer science background. MCIT Online helps professionals in any field leverage data mining, machine learning, and other cutting-edge technologies to further their careers.
Wondering how MCIT Online will fit into your life? Take this quiz from Penn to assess your ability to thrive in an accelerated online degree program.
Here are four specific skills that can help you thrive in this groundbreaking, non-traditional program:
1. Time Management
Online degrees like MCIT are a great fit for many students because students are able to watch virtual lectures. It’s ideal for people with a part-time or full-time job, or freelancers with flexible schedules. However, you’ll need solid time management skills to take full advantage of this opportunity, since the coursework is accelerated.
Success in MCIT Online requires setting aside time consistently every week for your coursework. You’ll also need to set deadlines and hold yourself to meeting them. If you have trouble with procrastination, you might set yourself up for unnecessary stress.
2. Readiness to Collaborate
Jobs in today’s computer science industry are incredibly collaborative. Researchers and computer scientists work together closely in teams, and many companies have programmers work on the same code side-by-side through a practice called “pair programming.”
MCIT Online provides plenty of opportunities to practice collaboration skills through applied group projects. Avoid the temptation to be shy. To get the most out of these collaborations, you’ll need to be ready to participate in chats, online forums, and video meetups.
3. Asking for Help
MCIT Online is designed for students and professionals from non-computer science backgrounds, and most students start their programming education from scratch. Don’t be embarrassed, and be sure to ask questions if you don’t understand something. Chances are, you won’t be the only one asking your question.
Through the online format, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to have questions answered by instructors, TAs and fellow students. This is a great habit to establish for your career, too — as MCIT graduate Theresa Brenier has learned from her work at Google, asking questions is a basic skill for every programmer.
4. Determination to Succeed… Eventually
Programming is hard! And if you’re coming from a non-science background, you might be unfamiliar with the struggles associated with coding and debugging. The good news is that you won’t be alone: every programmer needs to wrestle with tough challenges to get their code to work properly. As Penn Engineering professor Dr. Susan Davidson puts it, “It may take you a while to shift your thought process into more of a computational thought process, but you can do it. Persist, work hard, and eventually things will get easier.”