Mihir Patel, M.S. ’22, information systems, earned his Bachelor of Engineering in Information Technology from K.J Somaiya Institute of Engineering and Information Technology (Mumbai, India) and is a recent graduate of our M.S. in Information Systems program, data science track. Patel took the time to tell us about his passion for technology and how his internship at VITG turned into a full-time DevOps Engineer position. He also offers advice to students as they prepare for a new semester at UMBC.
Information Systems: You graduated with your MS in IS in 2022. Can you tell us why you pursued a Master’s in Information Systems at UMBC, focusing on the data science track?
Mihir Patel: Opting for a Master’s in Information Systems at UMBC, particularly focusing on the data science track, was a strategic and rewarding choice for me. UMBC’s Information Systems department is renowned for its commitment to research, innovation, and a dynamic learning environment. I chose data science because it not only aligns with the evolving demands of the industry, but also caters to the burgeoning significance of data analytics and machine learning. The curriculum covers various areas, including database management, cybersecurity, software development, and strategic information management, all within the context of cutting-edge data science applications. Choosing the data science track allowed me to delve into my specific area of interest as it provided in-depth knowledge and practical skills in handling and interpreting complex data sets.
Moreover, UMBC’s Information Systems department fosters a collaborative learning environment, offering exposure to real-world projects and case studies. The networking opportunities with industry professionals further enriched my educational experience and provided valuable insights into the practical applications of data science in various domains.
The emphasis on hands-on experience, the reputable faculty, and the university’s commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements make UMBC an excellent choice for those aspiring to excel in the field of Information Systems, especially in the realm of data science.
Information Systems: When did you first become interested in the technology field?
Mihir Patel: I became fascinated with the technology field pursuing my Bachelor of Engineering in Information Technology. The program provided a comprehensive understanding of foundational IT principles and exposed me to the ever-evolving nature of technology. Exploring subjects such as programming, network architecture, and database management fueled my interest in leveraging technology to solve real-world challenges. This educational background laid the foundation for my ongoing passion and curiosity within the technology sector.
Information Systems: While a graduate student at UMBC, you also supported the Department of Information Systems as a student worker. How was your experience?
Mihir Patel: During my time as a graduate student at UMBC, I had the enriching opportunity to contribute to the Department of Information Systems as a student worker. This on-campus job provided valuable financial support and also proved to be an incredibly rewarding experience. I was fortunate to work within a dynamic team where the employee and manager relations were exceptional. The department had an environment that encouraged collaboration, skill development, and innovation. Open communication and support from both peers and superiors enhanced my professional growth. Working closely with the department complimented my academic pursuits and allowed me to connect with other students, managers, and even faculty and staff around campus.
The experience enriched my understanding of information systems and highlighted the significance of effective teamwork and mentorship. Overall, the on-campus job was a positive aspect of my graduate student journey, contributing to a holistic learning experience and the development of strong professional relationships.
Information Systems: You are currently a DevOps Engineer at VITG Corporation. Can you talk a little about what your day-to-day looks like in this role?
Mihir Patel: My career trajectory took an exciting turn when my internship seamlessly transitioned into a full-time position as a DevOps Engineer. Embracing this opportunity, I now navigate through the diverse responsibilities of infrastructure management, code changes, deployments, and continuous integration—all while leveraging the solid foundation laid by my academic pursuits in the master’s program. The courses in project management operations, computer and network security, networking, system analysis and design, and database management have equipped me with a versatile skill set and also played an important role in securing my position and allowing me to thrive as a DevOps Engineer at VITG Corp.
Information Systems: How important was interning at VITG in obtaining your full-time position after graduation?
Mihir Patel: Joining VITG Corp as a Data Engineer intern marked the initiation of my professional journey in the tech industry in the US. During the 6 months in this role, I actively contributed to data-related projects and honed my skills in this specialized domain. The internship provided me with a valuable introduction to the company’s work culture, practices, and industry-specific challenges. This firsthand experience allowed me to demonstrate my capabilities, work ethic, and adaptability within the organization.
The transition from a Data Engineer intern to a full-time DevOps Engineer showcased my versatility and eagerness to take on challenges. Having an established presence within the company before graduation strengthened my understanding of its operations and allowed me to seamlessly integrate into the DevOps position with a familiarity of the organization’s dynamics, team collaboration, and expectations.
Furthermore, the skills and knowledge gained during my internship provided a strong foundation for my job as a DevOps Engineer. This continuity in my professional journey, coupled with the academic preparation from the Master’s program, not only helped me obtain the full-time position but also positioned me to excel and contribute meaningfully to the tech initiatives at VITG Corp.
Information Systems: What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
Mihir Patel: As a DevOps Engineer, my immediate goal is to excel in the implementation and mastery of cutting-edge technologies within the DevOps landscape. This involves staying abreast of the latest advancements in tools, methodologies, and best practices. I aim to leverage emerging technologies such as containerization (e.g., Docker, Kubernetes), serverless computing, and advanced automation frameworks to enhance deployment pipelines, optimize infrastructure, and improve the overall efficiency of development processes. By actively engaging with new technologies, I seek to deepen my technical expertise and contribute significantly to the innovative capacity of the organization.
Building upon my technical proficiency and hands-on experience as a DevOps Engineer, my long-term career goal is to secure a managerial position within the organization, where I can use my in-depth understanding of DevOps practices to guide and lead teams. As a manager, I aspire to orchestrate cohesive and high-performing DevOps teams, oversee strategic planning, and contribute to the organization’s growth and success. In this role, I would focus on aligning technological initiatives with broader business objectives, fostering a collaborative work environment, and ensuring the efficient and reliable delivery of software products. Through a managerial position, I aim to contribute to the technical excellence of projects, shape the organizational culture, and drive overall success.
Information Systems: What is something you would like to share with current students as they begin another semester at UMBC?
Mihir Patel: As you embark on a new semester, embrace challenges, build a strong support system, and maintain a balance between academics and personal life. Explore opportunities, stay curious, and practice efficient time management. Seek and value feedback, and remember to celebrate your achievements, big or small. Your time at UMBC is a unique chapter, so make the most of it by engaging in learning, connecting with others, and pursuing your passions.