UL Lafayette Online Programs Create New Career Opportunities in Systems Technology and Computing | Sponsored: University of Louisiana
Online degree programs have brought higher education within reach for those who want to advance their careers without stepping back from their current position or straying from other priorities.
Dr. Mary Farmer-Kaiser, University of Louisiana Dean at Lafayette Graduate School, says creating that access through meaningful and relevant degree programs is a campus-wide priority.
“The industry across Louisiana, the Gulf Coast and the world is changing and emerging every day,” Farmer-Kaiser said. “Our mission is to equip professionals to meet these challenges, using their professional expertise as well as the critical and creative problem-solving developed by higher education.”
Among the University’s online degree programs, the Master of Science in Computer Science and Master of Science in Systems Technology are unique offerings in Louisiana designed to respond to these changes.
IT: bridging business and technology
The University launched its Master of Science in Computer Science in the spring of 2018 and now also offers the program 100% online. Because the program can build on any bachelor’s degree, it has attracted students from a variety of backgrounds, including business, psychology, architecture, engineering, computer science, and more.
“The focus is on enterprise computing, which is large-scale computing, as well as data science and data visualization,” said Dr. Michael Totaro, graduate program coordinator and professor. associated with the School of Computing and Computing at UL Lafayette. “It’s a very technical program. Most registrants want to work in supervisory or management positions in fields such as network administration, database administration, business intelligence, business analytics, or data science.
Totaro said the UL Lafayette program is unique because few universities in the country offer such a deep focus on computer science, which differs from fields such as computer science and computer engineering due to its stronger emphasis on technological solutions and applications in several disciplines.
“Our graduates have gone on to great positions and are all doing very well,” Totaro said. “They work on big business projects, big data projects and IT project management. The knowledge they have gained here has helped propel their careers forward. It is truly wonderful to see this success.
The program requires 33 credit hours, spread over 11 courses. Both with and without thesis tracks are available.
UL Lafayette leaders are optimistic about the growth of the Master of Science in Computer Science program with the online-only offering. Totaro said students can complete assignments at their own pace, as long as they meet all required deadlines, and can work from anywhere. For example, a new student in the program works in finance in Manhattan.
“Most of our graduate students work and have families, but they want to incorporate this education into their lives,” Totaro said. “The response has been very good and the numbers are already increasing.”
Systems Technology: Creating design and life solutions across industries
Meanwhile, UL Lafayette’s Master of Science in Systems Technology has been available since fall 2014 and has established a track record of successful graduates. Most students are working professionals, which makes the online program ideal, said Dr. Shelton Houston, head of UL Lafayette’s industrial technology department. Most students enroll part-time and hold an undergraduate degree in engineering, technology, science, or related disciplines.
Houston said the MS in Systems Technology offers a 30-hour thesis or 33-hour project option with coursework focused on manufacturing processes, lean manufacturing, project management, risk analysis, development research proposals and more, with the possibility of interdisciplinary choices.
“We also encourage students to take a few master’s-level management courses, especially if they want to go into management,” Houston said.
Houston added that graduates of the program have gone on to various careers. Some now teach in higher education institutions. One is an aerospace industrial engineer. Another now oversees major oil projects for his company.
“Our graduates seem to be successful in a wide variety of fields,” Houston said. “We’ve had several who worked in industry and have since changed careers to teaching. Many of our graduates also work in safety-related positions and have analyzed situations in their companies that have helped those companies improve their training and processes, thereby reducing liability.
Houston said the online option has opened up the UL Lafayette program to students around the world, who can work at their own pace as long as they meet assignment deadlines. Most students take two courses per semester. The program can usually be completed in three or four semesters.
“As long as they have good internet access, they can take classes from just about anywhere,” Houston said. “We have had students from all over the United States, Canada and South America. One of our graduates completed his course while working on an oil rig in Thailand and South Vietnam. The program is flexible, which we believe is best suited for professionals as they can finish things on their schedule. »