Dependable Software Systems
Alumnus Story — Tunde Akinniyi
When Tunde Akinniyi learned about the MEL in Dependable Software Systems, he immediately knew it was the right fit for him with its industry focus, technically advanced classes, one-year time frame and opportunities to develop his business and leadership skills.
A few years into his professional career, Tunde Akinniyi began thinking about a master’s degree, but says it was “hard to find something that would suit my professional needs.” He enrolled in a part-time master’s program at an Ontario university in the fall of 2015, but when he heard about UBC’s new Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) program in Dependable Software Systems he knew he’d found the right program, “both because of the pillar specialization as well as the program’s interdisciplinary nature.”
He applied, and in January 2016 he joined the first cohort of students in the Dependable Software Systems program.
A new approach to software problems
Tunde says the MEL’s technical classes offered an excellent balance of depth and breadth. “I was introduced to the latest cutting-edge technologies and research areas in fields such as big data systems, machine learning, software testing and resiliency. My studies in these areas were nothing short of exciting, challenging and inspiring.”
He also notes that these technical classes fundamentally shifted the way he tackles software engineering problems. “Having studied scalability, reliability and testing from an academic viewpoint definitely gives me a more creative approach when faced with traditional engineering design problems at work. I now better understand and appreciate the unique challenges of the software engineering discipline compared to other engineering disciplines – in some ways, the management of software engineering is as much an art as it is a science.”
His leadership and business classes — which made up 40 per cent of the program — provided numerous opportunities to learn the “artistry” of managing fast-paced and complex projects. Tunde says that the business classes placed a strong emphasis on teamwork, developing students’ collaborative skills and enabling them to experiment throughout the year with different organizational and management styles.
Mastering business and technology
After completing his MEL, Tunde returned to NCR Corporation, where he had been employed for five years as a software engineer on a range of innovative projects, including developing a robust enterprise web application that interfaces with hardware cheque scanners and a hybrid mobile solution targeted at the payments financial services industry. Since returning to work he has been given more challenging technical projects and leadership roles and is currently the build master for the commercial mobile deposit application.
No matter what the project, Tunde says he is excited to now be in a position where he can bridge the gap between business and technology. To that end, the MEL in Dependable Software Systems has given him an exceptional educational foundation that would have been hard to find elsewhere.
“It would be hard to find another professional master’s program that offers the technical depth in advanced software courses alongside business leadership training specifically tailored to the software industry. Such a ‘best of both worlds’ combination in advanced technical and business leadership training is a rare find and certainly gives you a deeper understanding of how to solve the challenging problems many tech firms face today.”