University of Minnesota
Master of Science in Software Engineering
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Jason Nikolai

MSSE Grad:
2002

Current Job:
Customer Environment Test Team Lead
IBM Corporation

Jason’s Story:
“I joined IBM Global Services in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. My role when I started at IBM was a multidimensional database consultant. After a couple of years, I changed roles and became an eCommerce consultant within IBM Global Services. While working at IBM, in 2000, I started taking courses in the MSSE program. During the final semester of the MSSE program, in 2002, I changed careers within IBM and moved into the IBM software development lab test organization. I have been in test and quality assurance since that time.

“The knowledge and experience gained from the MSSE program helped me to make the change from consultant to tester. Since the job change in 2002, I have taken on many different roles within the IBM test organization. Currently, I am the team lead for the IBM Virtualization Engine Customer Environment Test team. Our team utilizes IBM Virtualization Engine technology in complex customer–like environments to ensure product quality prior to the release of the product.

“Although the drive from Rochester to Minneapolis was painful at times during the winter months, I made it to class every week. The MSSE program offered excellent courses in difficult subjects and provided a forum for social and business networking with other technology professionals. Ideas generated from discussions with students with diverse backgrounds proved to be beneficial for expanding my knowledge of software engineering. Furthermore, course work and interaction with other students helped me solve problems at work.

“The courses provided by MSSE offered a balance of technical and process knowledge. Undergraduate programs are good at teaching computer science theory and programming, but seldom focus on the difficult problems of software quality and development process issues. The MSSE program provided me with the knowledge to accelerate my career in quality assurance and software development.”