Master’s degree in software engineering
Gordon Marshall III
Software development lead
Gordon Marshall III is a software development lead and a member of a software engineering team. Marshall serves as an embedded software engineer for a defense contractor. He earned a bachelor’s degree in information systems and technology with a minor in business from Drexel University. Afterward, Marshall went on to earn a master’s degree in software engineering from Pennsylvania State University’s Great Valley Graduate Center.
What made you decide to pursue graduate study in software engineering?
I wanted to be able to distinguish myself from the others to potential employers. I came to the opinion that today’s master’s degree is to my generation what the bachelor’s degree was to my parents’ [generation]. Everyone today has a bachelor’s. My employer was willing to pay 100% of a technical degree. I decided on software engineering because I wanted to be able to apply what I learned in the classroom to my day-to-day job.
How has your master’s study in software engineering built on your undergraduate program in information systems and technology?
It really made me more marketable to potential employers.
What did you find the most interesting about your education in software engineering?
I attended a school that was geared to working professionals, so working in teams with all the different people with unique skill sets and experiences.
What was the most challenging part of your education in software engineering?
This really depends on a person’s strengths and what they may do for a living. For me, since most of the coding I did during my day job was not object-oriented, grasping some of the more complex design patterns at first was difficult.
In what ways do you apply what you learned in your software engineering education to your current line of work? (Feel free to discuss both applicable knowledge and skills)
I actually apply the majority of what I learned in my day-to-day job. Everything, from design patterns and requirements engineering, to project management and managing a software team. Most of my school books I still use as reference material.
Do you have any advice for students who are considering majoring in software engineering?
To make the transition easier, though you do not need coding experience to get into the programs, I would recommend taking a few introductory programming classes.