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Sophie Mkrtchyan

B.S. 2002

I started my journey at CSUN in '96 after I transferred from Glendale Community College. The school of Engineering and Computer Science quickly became my second home, since I spent so much time there, both studying and socializing with other ECS students.

Towards the end of my junior year, I was given an opportunity to participate in the Honors Co-op program, which provided students with high GPA's with help on finding a paid internship position. A small company in Reseda, CA hired me based on my qualifications.

I spent the next three years with the company, a nonprofit home for the elderly. The IT department consisted of my manager, myself and one other technician and supported over 700 employees. Our department was in charge of installing, configuring and supporting all the workstations on the premises. We also maintained several servers (a SQL server, and a couple of file servers, which comprised the backbone of the company's network). As the year 2000 slowly approached, we prepared for the migration with application updates, training sessions provided to users, hardware swaps, etc... This was my real technical job in a real work environment. I learned very important skills and gained practical knowledge about client-server architecture, internal hardware construction, etc... Still, I could not apply the knowledge I learned in classes at CSUN.

At one of CSUN's Job Fairs, I came across a mortgage company booth. I started asking questions, and the recruiter offered me an application, gave me his email address and asked me to send him my resume. Three weeks later, I was hired as a Systems Analyst to work for Countrywide Financial, one of the largest and fast growing in the country mortgage companies. I've been with Countrywide for five years now, and have progressed to become a second level Software Engineer. I love my job, being able to finally apply my knowledge gathered at CSUN to practice. My company has a large IT department, comprised of over 200 professionals, who on a daily basis do their best job to keep the company's infrastructure fault free.

Thanks to CSUN and the services offered to students to help them fit into the ever competing job market, I was able to find my place. Because of that, I've been able to expand my expertise in different IT fields, gain new skills, become a good team player and a responsible employee. I want to thank my professors for guiding me through the difficult courses, making me work hard to achieve my goals.

My diploma, which I struggled to complete in 2002, at the same time keeping a full time job and a family, and which ironically came in the mail and was left at my front door, is a constant reminder of my hard work, perseverance and the idea that became a reality that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.