Major: Computer and Information Science
Sydney Morse has always loved problem solving.
“This started when I was in elementary school and got the chance to participate in the Challenge program,” she said. “We practiced logic puzzles and learned more advanced math concepts. I think discovering this early love of math and ‘figuring it out’ ultimately pushed me toward getting a degree in physics, which included some computer programming and modeling as part of the course selection. This was the first time I learned about programming and I fell in love.”
After earning her degree, Morse taught physics in high school while practicing programming in her free time. This provided her with a more complete understanding of computer science and she began considering it as a career choice.
However, before making a commitment to pursue a second bachelor’s degree or graduate school, she decided to enroll at College of DuPage and take classes through the Computer and Information Science program.
Enrolling in CIS 1230, Microcomputer Database Application, changed the trajectory of her life.
“I can't say enough about Dr. Dejang ‘DJ’ Liu and how much he helped me take the next step in changing careers,” she said. “This started with getting MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist) certified in Access. This was a requirement for the class, but I decided to take it early on in the semester.
“After I passed the test, I felt more qualified and more sure of the job I might want. Dr. Liu always told me that I could apply for these jobs even though I had not yet finished the certification program. He would always tell me, ‘Just keep moving forward!’ I will be forever grateful for his advice and mentorship, because it worked: I was certified in Access on Oct. 30, 2018, and accepted a job with my current company as a data specialist by Dec. 12.”
Morse has completed the Database Proficiency certificate and is currently working on the Enterprise Database Proficiency certificate as she improves her skills in SQL. After finishing at COD, she plans to work on a master’s degree.
As for her career, Morse feels lucky regarding her current position and is grateful to have “an incredible mentor” and looks forward to future growth opportunities. She encourages any student interested in programming to try out COD and the CIS program.
“It offers great opportunity, networking and, most importantly, mentors who will do everything to help you achieve your goals. To students who are struggling in this program, I would offer the same advice Dr. Liu offered to me: ‘Just keep moving forward!’ To me, this means not letting anxiety or not feeling ‘good enough’ hold you back from working toward your goals.
“COD has already helped me accomplish an extremely difficult goal of starting a career in a new field. At COD, I was able to find my passion and gain the tools I needed to get a job. All of the professors I have had at COD seem like they genuinely care about each student’s progress and life goals.”