Dependable Software Systems
Alumna Story — Krupa Harthi
Title: Intermediate Systems Design Specialist
From Bangalore to Vancouver
Krupa Harthi worked in avionics for six years, rising to a position at Honeywell Aerospace as a senior software engineer working on communications and navigation solutions for airliners and business jets. She was interested in pursuing graduate studies, and after reviewing a list of potential universities and programs around the world, she settled on UBC.
“The university has high international rankings, best-in-class professors, a diverse student population and a good support structure for international students,” she says. The Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) in Dependable Software Systems was also attractive, with its innovative curriculum and close connections to Vancouver’s software industry.
Krupa moved from Bangalore, India, to Vancouver to enter the 12-month program, choosing to live on campus. “Vancouver is a beautiful and diverse city, with amazing food. And life at UBC is great – it’s very vibrant.”
Technical and business classes provide a powerful foundation
About 60 per cent of the courses in the Dependable Software Systems program are technical in nature, and Krupa says a few of these classes really stood out for her. “The software verification and testing class taught various validation techniques, and gave us a range of tools and processes to ensure the correctness of software,” she says. “Error-resilient computing systems was a class that strengthened our ability to solve complex problems in a methodical way. Finally, the software project management course — taught by the program director himself — taught us the skills and understanding required to manage distinct software projects.”
Her other courses, taught by UBC Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School, focused on business and leadership skills. While Krupa says she initially found the courses challenging, they ultimately proved to be a transformative experience. “The business courses helped me understand what it means to be a leader, introduced me to the tools and techniques that I can use to measure a team’s success and broadened my knowledge of how to bring leadership skills into my workplace.”
She also says it was valuable to attend the business and leadership classes alongside all MEL students and those from the Master of Health Leadership and Policy program. “Coming from the software industry, I know software. So I liked being part of diverse teams and learning how people from completely different industries approach problems.”
Capstone project puts learning into practice
For Krupa, the best thing about the Dependable Software Systems program was the capstone project. She and three classmates worked with industry professionals at MDA (now Maxar Technologies) to develop a map navigation system. Over a period of 6 months, the team visited MDA’s offices every two weeks to review requirements, demo the work they’d done and gather feedback. “This was a great opportunity to connect with industry and apply the skills we learned in our technical classes,” she says. “It was a very good learning experience.”
Krupa is now seeking a position where she can put to use both her previous experience and the new skills she’s developed from the MEL. “The practical knowledge I gained during the capstone project and group work over the year have made me a different person,” she says. “I now know so much more about business and project management, and I’ve enhanced my team work and communication skills. I see myself playing a role as a key team member sharing technical strategies to achieve business goals.”
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