We need to think not only as engineers, but also adopt the mindsets of social scientists, economists, and end users all at once.
“Taking up software engineering at Amazon seemed like it came out of nowhere,” says NYU Abu Dhabi 2018 alumnus Jovan Jovancevic, a computer engineering major from Serbia. But looking back on his journey, it all makes sense now.
NYUAD’s liberal arts education model allowed him to take on a range of meaningful side projects outside the major, from marine biology to dark matter physics. And it paid off.
Through these experiences, Jovancevic says he grew “as an engineer and team player … and was more than prepared for everything I was to do at Amazon,” where he now works as a software engineer in Madrid, Spain. Computer science and artificial intelligence classes, he adds, helped him land the job.
Fellow 2018 alumnus Isaiah Mwamba agrees it’s important for students to diversify and think “not only as engineers, but also adopt the mindsets of social scientists, economists, and end users all at once.” Mwamba, who’s from Zambia, majored in civil engineering and is currently working as a resident engineer with Kgosigadi Consulting Engineers in South Africa.
“The products we design, the services we offer, and the infrastructure we build will ultimately be used by people, and animals in some cases. We need to consider practicality, ergonomics, and most importantly, environmental and financial sustainability,” he said.
Many NYUAD graduates are working in fields outside their major, including 2018 alumna Yumi Gambrill, a trained chemist who got a job as a consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton in Abu Dhabi. “While I don’t use hard skills from the chemistry lab in my work at Booz Allen, the scientific method, the process of writing a research proposal, and planning a research project have many similarities to the consulting mindset. The internships and other on-campus opportunities helped me hone the soft skills that I rely on every day at work.” Gambrill is among half of employed 2018 graduates who decided to stay in the UAE.