Ian Gergin (MAIST 2012)
Associate Director, Group Risk Management, Royal Bank of Canada
I completed two degrees at YorkU — a BAS in Information Technology and the MAIST graduate program. I am currently Associate Director, Credit MIS within Group Risk Management at RBC Royal Bank of Canada.
During my later years in undergrad I became interested in cloud computing and virtualization as these were upcoming trends in the industry at the time. I was looking for a graduate program which offered cutting edge subject areas and expertise from an experienced faculty—a program different from traditional computer science degrees.
I selected the MAIST program at YorkU after carefully considering offers from multiple universities in Canada and Europe. What attracted me to MAIST was the subject matter expertise of the faculty and the flexibility of the program structure. For the next two years I worked on designing an autonomic feedback loop controller that could manage virtual machine resources relative to user demand in a public cloud infrastructure.
I received generous support from my supervisor, research lab and the program's industry sponsors. Upon completing the MAIST program I immediately entered the financial services industry and I was able to apply the technology, management and business analysis skills in a variety of roles including project manager and business analyst. After working at multiple Canadian and US financial institutions (e.g. TD Wealth, Invesco, National Bank) over the next few years, I progressed into management at RBC.
My graduate degree allowed me to bridge the gap between technology and business. I now lead multiple programs using cloud and big data infrastructure and the knowledge I acquired helps me to enable my group’s long-term vision through the use of cutting-edge virtualization technologies and infrastructure.
Parisa Zoghi (MAIST 2014)
Business Systems Analyst, TD Bank Group
I completed my MA in Information Systems & Technology at York University in 2014.
I decided to study Master’s in IT and advance my career in business analysis. York University was the only institution offering graduate degree in IT.
MAIST at York offers both theoretical and practical courses, which tailors to the needs of students with different backgrounds. Each course is designed to have group research projects, paper discussions, and presentations. With each project and presentation, I learned how to think critically and deal with people and work in a team.
I was interested in the realm of requirements engineering research, but I had no specific topic to pursue. However, my supervisor, Professor Marin Litoiu, encouraged me and helped me develop my interests in the area of adaptive systems. My research dealt with designing adaptive systems on cloud and I proposed a methodology to elicit and rank control points for adaptive systems.
I had a great opportunity to work with an intelligent and a talented group of researchers and post-doctoral fellows supervised under Professor Marin Litoiu. Despite of challenges that I had on my way, I was always supported by my peers and supervisor to tackle those challenges and reach my potential. All those long discussions and constructive feedback on my research shaped my thinking process and how to approach problems at work. I use this knowledge continuously in my daily basis at work.
Also, one of my greatest experiences at York and being part of Adaptive Systems Research (ASRL) Lab (http://www.ceraslabs.com/) was the chance to meet other researchers and fellow Master’s and PhD students outside of classroom to see their work in progress and discuss their research interests.
After my graduation, I secured a position at TD Bank Group as a Business Systems Analyst leading projects under Operational Risk domain. My hiring manager at the time was very impressed with my Master’s degree in IT, especially with my research focus on (Requirements Engineering) RE, which fitted their needs. The very first questions that I was asked were about my paper and what I had learned from studying the literature on requirements elicitation and how I can improve requirements gathering techniques. My research and experience at York provided me with an opportunity that I was looking for to advance my career.
Vasileios Theodorou (MAIST 2013, International Student)
PhD Candidate, Polytechnic University of Catalunya
I completed my MA in Information Systems & Technology (MAIST) at York University in 2013. Currently, I am a PhD Candidate of the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate in Information Technologies for Business Intelligence—Doctoral College (IT4BI-DC), my home university being the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) in Barcelona, Spain and my host university the Dresden University of Technology (TUD) in Dresden, Germany. At the moment, I am finalizing the conducting of my PhD thesis with title “Automating User-Centered Design of Data-Intensive Processes”, while at the same time preparing for my new role as Staff Engineer with the RnD division of Intracom Telecom, starting this November.
My experience at York university and MAIST has been a unique asset that has significantly contributed to my successful progression throughout my subsequent endeavors. On one hand, I had the opportunity to meet, collaborate and become friends with amazing people in an international and multicultural environment and on the other, I was actively involved with cutting-edge research and technologies.
Through the coursework of MAIST, I learned pivotal principles about applying research methods in Information Technology, which guided me during my research work for my PhD. I was provided with the resources and tools to master Software Engineering techniques and Architecture designs, focusing on areas such as Requirements Engineering that I subsequently used during my work on coming up with a user-centric design. In addition, I was accustomed with technological areas that are vastly transforming today’s IT sector, such as Service-Oriented Architectures and Cloud Computing. My knowledge in such areas was greatly improved by our regular group meetings, where we had the chance to discuss, make and answer questions that really triggered my curiosity. The same holds for my presentation skills, as we regularly had to present our slides about our work or about some other interesting work that we studied in literature. Furthermore, my participation in multiple groups of various backgrounds for the completion of our group projects has taught me many important lessons about being part of a team, contributing to the tasks, always maintaining an open mind and understanding for the other team members and essentially, trying to bring the best out of everyone.
Regarding my research, I had the great luck of working under the supervision of a very knowledgeable professor - a leader in his research areas with demonstrated world-class work. The research areas involved cloud computing, autonomic computing, data modeling and management, while I also had the chance through my use cases and experiments to obtain desirable skills in rapid web development, mobile app development, data transferring and processing, as well as virtualization and data persistence through comparing different database technologies. Added to that, I was offered a great internship with Juniper Networks, where I could apply much of the theory taught in class, in practice and broaden my horizons even further by enriching my knowledge with the newest technology on SDN and NFV.
All in all, after the completion of my master at the MAIST program, I was fully prepared to conduct research with publishable outcomes in international journals and conferences and I was feeling very confident with designing, developing and deploying software for any use case that I would come across, as I did with the prototyping tools that I built for my PhD.
Roni Sandel (MAIST 2014)
Consultant, Global Business Services IBM
I started my Master of Arts in Information Systems and Technology after completing my undergrad degree in Business and IT. At the time, MAIST was relatively new and I only heard about the program from a close mentor of mine, who recommended I apply. I was still debating whether I should do a Masters or go into the industry and come back later to do a Masters. After attending the information sessions and hearing more about the program, I decided to apply.
Throughout the MAIST program, I had exposure to leading practices and technologies, as well as challenges being faced in the industry. The program also introduced me to Big Data, in which I pursued my research in for my thesis. While doing my thesis, I had a great amount of support and was working alongside distinguished scholars in the field. By the time I finished my Masters, not only did I complete/defend my thesis, but I also had the opportunity to help make several different publications for IEEE and CASCON. Having this incredible opportunity not only benefited my CV, but also helped expand my professional network.
After completing my Masters degree in 2014, I am now working at IBM as a Consultant in their Global Business Services division. In my current role, I apply the different concepts and applications I learned in the MAIST program every day including but not limited to statistical analysis, cloud technologies, big data, business process management, and service oriented computing.