Xunjing Wu on a mid-career switch to computer science

Xunjing Wu was working as a GIS analyst in a global infrastructure company in 2015 when she signed up for her very first computer science course online. With a background in urban planning, she used spatial data and GIS software regularly, but thought that the Python programming language would help her be more efficient in her role.

Xunjing Wu posing in front of Mt. Rainier.
Xunjing Wu. (Image: Penn Engineering Today)

“Working there and at a startup afterward reinforced the idea that I needed to have the skills and the tools to understand data better,” Wu says. “As a kid, I didn’t have access to a computer, but I remember that after I started working, I knew I needed and wanted to learn programming.”

Over time, this interest in a better understanding of data transformed into a plan to pursue a career in software engineering or product management, which is when Wu started researching her options. She methodically researched bootcamps, on-campus degrees and online degrees that are open to students without a computer science undergraduate degree. When she learned about Penn’s Online Master of Computer and Information Technology degree, it became her first choice, and Wu eventually became part of the program’s first cohort.

“I applied to Penn and only to Penn,” she said.

This unique degree designed for students without a computer science background meant that Wu could earn an advanced computer science degree without restarting her education from the beginning.

Wu has since then successfully transitioned into a new career and she is now a Sr. Product Manager at Comcast. Prior to landing this full-time role, she also interned as a Sr. Product Manager—Technical Intern at AWS.

Read more at Penn Engineering Today.