Tech Leadership Series: UPS STEM Innovation and Diversity

This October, the Seidenberg Tech Leadership Series had not only one, but three amazing guests from UPS at the Seidenberg Lounge: Diane Chan, Senior Manager of Applications Development, Carla J. Garcia-Maier, Director of Cloud Platforms & Technology, and Stacie Morgan, Senior Application Development Manager. Being that tech has always been seen as more male-oriented, it’s refreshing to see and meet women who have found tremendous success in this field. Their presence proves that women in tech have the ability to flourish in any aspect of technology.

Diane Chan
Diane Chan, Senior Manager of Applications Development

Diane Chan, like many college students, started school with one major in mind and finished with a degree in another. Through trial and error, she was able to recognize that her passions laid less with finances and more with technology. Initially an accounting major, Diane graduated from Pace University with a degree in Management Information Systems (MIS), thus demonstrating that college grants students the ability to explore other topics of interest.

 

Carla J. Garcia-Maier
Carla J. Garcia-Maier, Director of Cloud Platforms & Technology

Carla J. Garcia-Maier had a similar experience. It was in the U.S. Army that Carla developed her love for technology. After serving, Carla tried to follow in her father’s footsteps as a real estate agent, but quickly realized that she desired a career involving technology and leadership. Once that decision was made, Carla joined UPS in 1999 and has been working there ever since.

 

Stacie Morgan
Stacie Morgan, Senior Application Development Manager

Stacie Morgan discovered her interest in technology after realizing the application of computers for business problems through programs like VisiCalc and dBase. Although her interests involved technology, she later found that she was more interested in the organizational side. Once hired by UPS, Stacie started off as an Information Center Analyst and was promoted to Lead Programming Analyst until, in December 2015, she was finally promoted to Senior Application Development Manager.

Because technology is being used in every aspect of our lives, the market for jobs in the tech field has increased tremendously – and so has job competition. With so many people who are equally qualified competing for the same positions, how do you make yourself stand out?

Diane’s answer to this is: “You have to step out your comfort zone.” This was a lesson she had to learn throughout her career at UPS. She stressed that, in order to be recognized for your accomplishments, it’s important to take that extra step and make yourself known. Once you’ve accomplished that, you’ll become one step closer to success.

Carla had her own guidance to offer. When asked about her transition from military to civilian life, she explained one perk of working with people whose background differed from her own: the increase in expansive ideas. When working with people who don’t share that military background and are more relaxed in their way of thinking, the chances of coming up with the same idea is much lower. Solutions become more creative and individualistic that way. When everyone thinks the same, deliberation stops, and you end up settling on an answer that may not be the best or most efficient answer to the problem. Being open-minded is key to working in the technical field, especially because a majority of the work gets accomplished in teams.

Despite a majority of those in the tech industry being men, when asked how it feels to be a woman working in that field, Stacie confidently answered, “I’ve never seen myself as a woman in information systems,” thus, highlighting that women in technology are people first before anything else. Unfortunately, because there is a major disparity between the number of male and female workers in tech, a disparity with a ratio of 4:1 to be exact, women may often feel isolated in their careers. Stacie, on the other hand didn’t fall victim to this. Surprisingly, it wasn’t until she was given her managerial position that she noticed how few women were on her teams. She suggests that, as a woman in tech, it’s best to pay more attention to the task at hand. Focusing more on their capabilities as a person in tech will help them pay less attention to that gender disparity.

Thankfully, here at Pace University, our Women in Tech club provides a safe space for female students studying technology to connect and relate. If you’re a Pace student feel free to stop by one of their meetings every other Monday. Click here to be added to their mailing list and see all their latest events!

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BA versus BS in Computer Science: Which should you choose?

Congrats! After months or even years of debating, you’ve finally decided on majoring in Computer Science. The decision’s been made, and you’re completely set on your path as a Seidenberg student. Or so you think. Although you have decided on being a CS major, there’s still one pesky decision to be made – which degree in Computer Science is best for you: a BA or a BS? At other colleges, you may only have one option, but here at Pace University, we have both, which in some ways makes things a bit more difficult. So, before you go ahead and decide here are a couple things you should know.

         Without even comparing the exact course requirements of both degrees, here is a general idea of their key differences.

The major difference between a BA and a BS in Computer Science is that a BA has an incorporated minor, whereas a BS does not, meaning that you have to declare a minor in order to complete your BA. On the other hand, for a BS in Computer Science, you don’t need to declare a minor (but you can if you want to!). Just note that doing so with a BS may take more time to complete because you have more CS related courses to complete than a BA. Below is a quick comparison between the number of computer science classes you’d have to take for a BA and a BS.

Computer Science Courses (BA vs. BS)

Bachelor of Arts

Bachelor of Science

Note: This is a screenshot of Degree Works from my Pace Portal. The green checkmarks indicate what’s been completed, the blue shows what’s in progress, and the empty checkboxes show what is neither completed nor in progress.

Just like it’s easier to add a minor, it is also easier to double major with a BA in Computer Science. That’s because with a BA, you’re more likely to have an overlap between the classes needed to fulfill your course requirements. Also, double majoring with a BA is generally less stressful than double majoring with a BS. Although it is possible to do so with a BS, be aware that classes for BS majors are typically more demanding, meaning that you may have little room for interests outside of your studies.

Note: A double major and a dual degree are actually two different things. Double majoring means studying two majors of the same degree. For example, studying for a Bachelor of Arts in both Computer Science and Creative Writing is considered double majoring. On the other hand, a dual degree means pursuing two majors for two separate degrees. Studying for a BS in Computer Science and a BA in Creative Writing is considered a dual degree, meaning that when you graduate, you’ll receive two different degrees instead of one. An easy way to remember the difference between the two is that double majoring means two majors of the same degree and a dual degree means two majors of the opposite degree.

Majoring with a BS in Computer Science is better if you want a more technical job. If you want a job that’s more creative, then pursuing a BA may be better for you. Here is a list of the type of jobs you can get with either degree.

Note: Don’t be discouraged if you’re interested in a BA but are drawn to any of the jobs that fall under the BS category. When it comes down to the type of degree you have, the work that you do outside of that may have more weight. If you’ve completed any projects that lean more towards the technical side, be sure to add that to your resume. That will show that you have the skills to do beyond what you’ve learned in school. The same goes for a BS. If you have a BS but are interested in any of the jobs that fall under the BA category, try to do more creative projects and add that to your resume.

Weigh Your Options with Degree Works

       So, what is Degree Works? Degree Works shows you your current major and/or minors, if you have any. The great thing about Degree Works is that it has a “what-if” section that allows you to see the course requirements and credits needed for any other majors or minors you may be interested in. If you’re trying to decide between a BA and a BS in Computer Science or any other degree, Degree Works is perfect for weighing your options. If you already know how to access Degree Works, feel free to skip this portion.

To access Degree Works login to Pace Portal with your Pace ID and password. Once you’ve logged in, select Degree Works at the bottom left of the screen to be redirected to the system.

At the top of this new page, you’ll see your degree, college, major, and minor on the right, and below that you’ll see the requirements for your current major, along with credits you need and credits you’ve already completed.

Time to test out the “what-if” portion. To the left under the worksheets tab you should see the “what-if” tab. Select that, and you’ll see this.

To compare the requirements for a BA and a BS in Computer Science you must select a degree (one of the two) and a catalog year, along with filling in Computer Science for your major and Seidenberg for your college. Splitting your screen in two can make the comparison process easier. The process may be different for Mac and Windows users.

The Takeaway

            It’s important to remember that this is a decision that you and only you can make. It’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing and what your family wants for you, but to make a decision based on the opinions of others is a disservice to yourself. If you choose something you never wanted to do and change your mind later, you might delay the time it takes you to graduate. When it comes down to deciding, try speaking with your advisor. Doing so can help you weigh your options and choose something that works best for you. If you don’t know who your advisor is, try using degree works to find their name and email.

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