Ling Lin: From Morgan Stanley to Amazon
With two degrees in finance, Ling Lin went to work as a financial analyst at Morgan Stanley and expected to spend the rest of her career in the financial world. Then she started listening in on her roommate’s Python lessons—and discovered a new passion. Now she’s an MCIT Online student at Penn and looking forward to a second career in software development.
We caught up with Ling recently at Microsoft in Seattle during an MCIT Online West Coast meet-up to learn more about her interest in CS and what she likes best about MCIT Online.
What got you interested in computer science?
My roommate had a boyfriend who studied computer science, and he taught her Python every single day for one hour. They would sit in the living room, so every day I listened, and I thought it was pretty interesting. So I asked, can you please also teach me? And he said OK. So that’s how I first fell in love with computer science. I applied to schools, and when I got the offer from MCIT Online I quit my job as a financial analyst at Morgan Stanley.
How did you choose Penn Engineering Online for your degree?
I heard about MCIT Online from a friend who studied MCIT on campus and then got a job at Goldman Sachs as a software development engineer. She told me this program is really good for people who don’t have a CS background, like me. All my life has been about finance. I have my bachelor’s degree in finance, and my first master’s degree is also in finance. I applied to different schools and I got a lot of offers, but I finally chose MCIT Online because it was the best program for me.
What is your favorite aspect of the program so far?
I really like the course plan, because the courses start out not too hard and gradually get harder. That makes it very manageable. And after five classes, I’ve learned enough to be an SDE [Software Development Engineer] intern and do real-world projects. I just love this program. It changed my life.
What advice would you give to prospective students about Penn Engineering Online?
I highly suggest that people take Penn’s free classes on Coursera if they don’t have a background in CS. I’ve heard from other students that it’s very helpful in getting prepared for the program. I also suggest that people don’t expect this program to be easy. It’s accessible to those who don’t have a CS background, but it’s not easy.
How did your first year in the program go?
For the first semester I took 591, 592 and 593, which is a lot for people who don’t have a background in CS. But for me as a full-time student, it was OK.
During the second semester I took 594 and 595, and that’s when I got an internship offer from Amazon. We had a final project for 594, and I was able to apply the concepts from the project directly to my internship. And this helped me get a return offer from Amazon.