Catching Up With … Dakshal Shah ‘18

Were you always interested in computers and technology?

I was interested in robotics and mechanics when I was younger and had no intention of going into the field of computer science until high school. My mom was a high school computer teacher and she also ran computer coaching classes, which I found fascinating.  She helped people maximize their business profit and maintain their daily store balance sheets by using software as simple as Excel. I decided that I wanted to study computer science so that I could learn how to write this type of software.

Dakshal Shah

What made you decide to attend Hofstra?

I was so impressed with Hofstra’s Big Data Lab and the faculty were very helpful and supportive.

How long did it take for you to complete the MS in Computer Science program?

I completed my degree in two years and took classes both online and on-campus.

Was there a professor, mentor or administrator who inspired you?

I would say Dr. Krish (Dr. Krishnan Pillaipakkamnatt professor and chairman of the Department of Computer Science) was the person who inspired me the most. He guided me through every step of the program and was always responsive and available to answer my questions.

How did Hofstra prepare you for your career at Google?

The availability of classes, opportunities for hands-on experience and the support I received from my professors prepared me for my current position at Google. I did a summer internship while I was pursuing my degree and (with the help of Co-op Director Philip Coniglio) I also did a 6-month co-op internship at Oerlikon-Metco, a global technology firm providing equipment surfacing solutions, which helped me gain industry experience. 

Also, for a year I had the opportunity to work as a research assistant which helped me strengthen my understanding of data science and machine learning concepts.

What career trends do you see for computer science students?

Most of the people I graduated with are working in machine learning and artificial intelligence but there is also a big demand for network and security specialists and application developers.

How should students prepare for a career as a software engineer?

Data structures and algorithm skills are most in demand.  Computer science students should focus on strengthening their knowledge in these areas.  Also, industrial experience and in-depth knowledge of programming languages are helpful.