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Graduate perspective on Academic Equivalency: Gordon Quach

Sep 13, 2022
Mrunmayi Joshi
Here is an interview with Gordon Quach, a graduate from University of Maryland Baltimore County, which talks about his interesting experience, and perspective as a graduate from the academic equivalency program, especially on how it benefits students even if they choose not to get certified. Happy SEPtember!

Gordon Quach

This interview was conducted in 2022. 

Q1. What is your current role/position?

» My current position is a technologist at Booz Allen Hamilton where I focus on leading data visualization, big data, and automation capabilities for my clients.

Q2. What are your next career goals?

» My career goals are related in growing my understanding/practice in IT and data space. For the first several years, I look forward to having hands practice with the latest tech stack and use such tools to improve the way we store, process, and explain/visualize information. In the near future, I do look forward to taking a leadership role, unsure if that's more of a Subject Matter Expert or a management role. Regardless, I aspire to have a part in driving the technology landscape of an organization and grow the talent by mentoring/coaching new and experienced individuals in the field.

Q3. What have you learned about systems engineering in school?

» When I was studying Industrial and Systems Engineering, I learned about how to use processes/tools like descriptive/theoretical statistics and discrete event simulations to better model systems (healthcare, manufacturing, queueing, etc.). Currently, in my program at UMBC, I've learned the overview of Systems Engineering (V Model, etc.), best practices in architecture, and had a part in implementing a smart city / cloud network system in a class project.

Q4. What interests you about systems engineering?

» I like the mindset of taking complex needs/visions and making them feasible through analysis, stakeholder engagement, modeling, architecture, and implementation/sustainment. I realized that almost everyone becomes a "Systems Engineer" even if they don't use the tools we are taught. Industry is less siloed than we imagine, and rather, it is more collaborative to create something exciting.

Q5. What motivated you to get SEP certification?

» I took an intro course in my Systems Engineering Masters Degree program with Professor Paul Martin. He was a great instructor, and motivated us to pursue further in the field through certifications, like the SEP.

Q6. How did the academic equivalency program benefit you?

» It was great since I was able to learn in a classroom setting and apply concepts through assignments/group activities. When I completed the course with a passing score, I was closer to a certification since the equivalency program help expedite the process.

Q7. How did taking courses under the academic equivalency program help you deepen your understanding of SE?

» These courses help deepen my knowledge of the industry, use cases, and knowledge of systems engineering from professors who are or formerly worked as Systems Engineers.

Q8. What is your advice for students and research professionals pursuing SEP certification?

» Find an opportunity to leverage the academic equivalency program, build strong connections with your peers/professors in classes, and try to apply elements of what you learned to your day in the life at work.

Q9. How can we reach out to you?

» You can reach out to me at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gordonquach/

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