Molding a Career in Computer Science at AUA
Sona Margaryan (MSCIS ‘20) is a double alumna of the American University of Armenia (AUA). After earning her undergraduate degree in computer science, she continued her education at AUA’s MS in Computer and Information Science (MSCIS) program. She attributes her career achievements to the knowledge and skills gained at the University. Read the below interview to learn more about Sona’s educational and career path to success.
What influenced your choice of profession initially?
The first thing that influenced my choice was, of course, my potential and personality. I believe that potential can be a legitimate criterion for choosing a career, and a career chosen based on a person’s potential has a great chance of success. Very few are able to determine their potential and choose the subject of knowledge accordingly. Ever since my school years, I was competent in mathematics, physics, computer science, information technology, and other exact sciences. I really enjoyed studying those subjects, and from an early age, I knew this was my area of interest. Another factor is that my parents are role models for me. The positive experiences of my parents in computer science influenced the career choices I considered for myself.
How did you come to choose AUA? Tell us about your student years at AUA?
I was in tenth grade when I heard that AUA was going to launch undergraduate degree programs. After a lot of research and listening to many opinions from AUA alumni, I made the final decision to apply to AUA. And from that moment on, my goal was to enter the university. I was so inspired by AUA that I didn’t even consider applying to other universities.
It was a really long journey at AUA, starting with my bachelor’s and then continuing to get my master’s. And now on reflection, various memorable moments emerge. At first, studying at AUA was challenging precisely because of the language barrier. However, over time, thanks to the friendly and supportive atmosphere at AUA, I overcame those difficulties. I will never forget the hours of preparation for exams and presentations at the AUA AGBU Papazian Library late into the night. We had interesting interviews for our group projects with representatives of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, ambulances, various hospitals, and even with priests serving in the Armenian Apostolic Church. Additionally, we had various hikes and parties, the most memorable one was the visit to the Dolma festival with our professors. And lastly, I want to highlight our two amazing graduation ceremonies full of emotional moments.
As an AUA alumna, how would you evaluate AUA’s contribution to your current achievements? What input did the CIS program have in your career growth?
As an AUA alumna, I can confidently say that the contribution of AUA to my current achievements is truly enormous. First of all, I gained specialized knowledge in my field of study and related fields via the courses, seminars, and conferences that are an integral part of the AUA curriculum. In the CS program, I gained basic, general and theoretical knowledge in my field of study, which helped me to have a strong background at the beginning of my career. At the same time, the CIS program provided me with a wider range of courses and gave me the opportunity to try myself in different areas of my field. The CIS program gave me more specific, advanced and at the same time practical knowledge, which undoubtedly became an invaluable experience in my career. Additionally, at AUA I acquired specific soft skills, such as critical thinking and analysis, team working, communication and leadership, ability to deal with complex, unpredictable issues, and taking responsibility for my own learning and development. I want to say thank you to AUA, the Akian College of Science and Engineering, my professors, and the amazing AUA community for giving me a strong education, excellent knowledge in my field of study, many opportunities, and of course for the friendly atmosphere.
What was the role of AUA in molding your future choice of profession?
At AUA, I had the opportunity to take a wider range of courses and try myself in different areas of my field. For me, it was a great experience in shaping my future career choice. For example, besides software development, I also dabbled in cybersecurity and machine learning. In terms of professional development and gaining experience, this was invaluable and helped to more accurately determine my chosen profession among various options in my field.
Tell us a little about your current occupation?
Now I work as a software engineer in one of the largest companies in Armenia — Armenian Software (Armsoft). I design and develop banking software using different languages and technologies. In addition, I am a teaching associate for the Object-Oriented Analysis and Design (OOAD) course at AUA. At this stage in my life, I am trying to get more experience in this area and advance further. Therefore, I have decided to definitely continue my education, and now I am applying for a PhD program.
In general, how would you define success in a career?
For me, career success is a combination of achieving a reasonable level of financial stability while doing work I enjoy and then finding that I am also happy and fulfilled with my life and career choices. Additionally, I realize that money and titles aren’t the ultimate goals, and I know that I must also experience inner peace and joy for it to really matter. Now, in such a difficult time for our country, like never before, I consider it my duty to do everything possible to achieve success and new heights in my activities that will help my country and will make even the slightest contribution to its development. This is exactly what I would consider to be a personal success in my career.