Shawanda Littlejohn is currently a tax accountant in the last year of our Online MS in Information Systems program. She graduated with a psychology degree from Stevenson University. Shawanda shares with us why she opted for a career change, her love of coffee, and the versatility of data science.
Information Systems: You are currently a tax accountant at Fidelity. What led to the decision to change careers and pursue your MS in Information Systems?
Shawanda Littlejohn: I desired a career change when I discovered that most of the processes within my current role were manual. Since the pandemic I have gained an interest in data, especially covid data. With my current role, I do a lot of data wrangling and I am good at it. It became my passion. While on winter break, I constantly read research articles about data and artificial intelligence. Information tells a story and it has also allowed me to use my critical thinking skills to solve real world problems.
Information Systems: What made you decide to attend UMBC’s Online MS program?
Shawanda Littlejohn: UMBC has an incredible reputation for education. The online program was a perfect fit for my busy schedule. It’s flexible and has 24 hour access to blackboard.
Information Systems: Why did you decide to pursue the data science specialized track and how has that experience been for you thus far?
Shawanda Littlejohn: I decided to pursue the data science track because it is very versatile. Data science has been used in healthcare, business, finance, and education just to name a few fields. It can be used to help make decisions and see patterns in data.
Information Systems: What advice would you give prospective students thinking about pursuing an MS in Information Systems?
Shawanda Littlejohn: The only advice I would give to prospective students is to make sure they are putting in the same amount of effort into learning the information that they wish to get out. The degree is for you, your professors have their degree(s). You are responsible for your own education.
Information Systems: What are your plans immediately after you graduate?
Shawanda Littlejohn: When I graduate, I plan to obtain a position in my specialized field. Also, I plan to work on getting into a PhD program. I would like to further my research skills in the areas of artificial intelligence and data science.
Information Systems: What do you like to do in your free time?
Shawanda Littlejohn: I am a coffee connoisseur. I love trying the different roasts, beans, and brews. Wherever I go, tasting the coffee is a must. I also enjoy cooking and shopping.