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FIU Online IoT grad recounts student experience

by Alexandria Segovia

Jan 07, 2020, 9:00 PM.

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Electronic kits, time management and work opportunities offered valuable advantages.

Editor’s note: Alexandria Segovia is an FIU 2019 Worlds Ahead graduate. She is one of FIU’s first graduates of the internet of things bachelor’s degree program. During her education, Segovia gained valuable experience and used skills learned in class toward several projects in a product development capacity. She also secured a cybersecurity internship with United Data Technologies and now works for the company as a cybersecurity engineer.

 

In so many industries, the fundamental goals are simple: safety and security. I was fortunate enough to be one of the first graduates of Florida International University’s internet of things bachelor’s degree programs. The program, which is fully online, trained me fully and offered many opportunities. Today, I am essentially an ethical hacker and assess the cybersecurity posture of other companies in order to help strengthen their networks. 

My journey

After high school, I joined the military and then came back to FIU for my bachelor's degree. I initially chose electrical engineering as my major, but when the IoT degree was introduced, I switched over because the program interested me. The IoT degree at FIU aligns very closely with computer and electrical engineering tracks.  

While pursuing my degree at FIU, I was working at a cybersecurity company as a webmaster. By doing the majority of my coursework online, I was able to maintain a part-time work schedule and eventually continue working full-time. I learned a lot of web development and design in high school and was hired to help a company re-do its website. Eventually, I became more and more interested in cybersecurity and became an analyst and engineer. 

Working throughout my education has helped me gain a lot of experience that I wouldn't otherwise have if it wasn't for FIU online classes.

Online, but hands-on

The IoT degree was very hands-on with a lot of involvement from professors and administrators. Many of my classes did not require the purchase of textbooks—only electronics kits that would be heavily used and experimented with.

Instead of keeping outdated textbooks lying around, I now have a vast collection of electronics parts stored and ready to be utilized for my next great idea. Thanks to my program, I started to enjoy school a lot more than I originally had, and as a result, earned better grades.

Time management

Pursuing the IoT degree online was a great experience. I realized that I am a much better learner and student online than I am in person. I don't have the greatest attention span when it comes to lectures, but if I miss something in a pre-recorded lesson, I am able to rewind as many times as I need to grasp concepts. I can also pause a lecture and research additional resources to aid my understanding if I am not on the same page as the professor. Online learning has been a lot more rewarding to me since I don’t have to be "on time" for a lecture or overwhelmed on a day I would have "too many classes.” I love working at my own pace and on my own time to meet assignment deadlines. 

Despite having a jam-packed schedule with work and classes, I was still able to enjoy myself on the weekends and some weeknights with the right planning. I had enough free time for some fun. I thrive off the autonomy of online learning. Online learning has made me a master of my own time management.

Working is possible

It’s hard enough to stay on top of classes that are in person, but I actually think online classes make it easier. Having a full-time work schedule while simultaneously finishing a degree is difficult, but online classes make it possible to go to work, and get your schoolwork done on your own time. With the proper planning and motivation, it's not hard to stay on top of studies. All it takes is a calendar and time management, as it would with any degree program!

No surprises

One of my favorite things about online classes is that professors usually open the full coursework for the entire semester, and you can complete work ahead of time. I love to travel and am frequently out of town on the weekends camping or exploring a new city. Having exam dates and a detailed syllabus for my online classes on the first day makes it incredibly easy to plan ahead and work around any important dates. 

I consider myself to be very organized and love structure. Online classes make my life easier because of the organization and prior planning that goes into the courses. On my free time, I am an avid outdoorswoman. I enjoy managing and writing for my own blog, mountain biking, off-roading my Jeep, camping, and hiking.

In the future, I do plan on obtaining a master’s degree in cybersecurity, hopefully with FIU! With the ease and convenience of online classes, especially while working, a master's degree through FIU Online would be ideal for me. My advice for prospective students? Take a look at online learning if you need to work. Also, if you like technology, an IoT career may be for you. Cyber-safety and -security are areas with growing needs for companies in all industries.