It wasn’t just a master’s of liberal arts in software engineering that Lena Hajjar of Stoughton, Mass., walked away with. The Harvard Extension School graduate credits her work there as a confidence-builder. Now a software engineer with EverQuote, Hajjar received her bachelor’s in biostatistics and mathematics from Emmanuel College.
Harvard extension: How has this experience helped you in your career or personal development?
Hajjar: Every project or class I finished increased my confidence in myself: If I can do these projects, then surely I can ace a job interview and work in the field. Ultimately, between the coursework and the support from Harvard Extension’s faculty, this program is what landed me my job.
Harvard extension: What types of student resources and special options did you take advantage of as a student at Harvard?
Hajjar: I used as many resources as I could. My adviser was always available to talk, whether it was in person or over email. I would always go to office hours if I needed help. I also relied on the advice and resources from Career Services when it came time to look for a new position. Everybody I met with treated me like I was their only student, and they were always there when I needed them.
Harvard extension: Do you have a favorite class or faculty member?
Hajjar: In my second semester, I took “Unix/Linux Systems Programming” with Bruce Molay and “Computer Architecture” with James Frankel. That was the hardest semester I ever had, but they are by far two of my favorite courses because I got a real sense of what the software engineering field can be like. The faculty was very encouraging and offered a lot of time to help us really understand the material. By the end of the semester, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I could do well in the field.
Harvard extension: Do you have any advice for new students?
Hajjar: Be ready to master your time-management skills, and do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Harvard extension: Describe your Harvard Extension School experience in one word.
This article was originally published on Harvard Extension School’s Student Spotlight web page in May. It has been lightly edited.