The College of Engineering & Computing (CEC) is proud of its alumni. Meet alum Jose Maldonado who works at one of the largest video gaming brands owned by Microsoft as a software engineer.

Name: Jose Maldonado
Hometown: Quito, Ecuador
Degree/Major: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science ’17

Where are you working? Position title?
I am working at Xbox as a Software Engineer.

How did you get your job?
I got my first job through Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE), a large tech-based community that aims to provide every student the opportunity to develop professionally and technically. Microsoft eventually recruited through the club.

What was your greatest fear going into your first job, and how did you face/overcome it?
My biggest fear was not being ready for the rigor of a real, high-performing workplace. I overcame that by being patient and letting myself ease into professional growth; I also quickly learned my peers did not expect me to perform at full capacity right out of college.

What surprised you the most about your first job?
Contrary to popular belief, I actually spend about half of my time programming. The other time is spent collaborating with peers on designing solutions and solving technical problems.

What advice do you have for those beginning the job search process?
I would advise students to check-in with student organizations like UPE. These types of organizations often have relationships with employers or people who might connect you to your next opportunity.

What does a day on the job look like?
My mornings are usually reserved to catch up on emails and meet with coworkers. The afternoons are spent coding. I also appreciate that my workplace offers flexibility, and I can work remote from home or at the office.

How does your job connect back to your coursework?
I believe learning the fundamentals is important in any field, and I think my degree in computer science alongside my involvement with UPE prepared me for the problems I face at work every day.

How was your transition from school to work? How do you balance your time?
This is a great question! It is important to note that your goals are defined at school, and there is a clear end that culminates with graduation. In the workplace, this is not the case. You have more freedom to choose where you spend your time and what goals you want to achieve – this can be intimidating. I found balance by finding a community of supportive colleagues that faced similar issues.

What has been the coolest thing about your job so far?
I work at Xbox. I get to work on things that bring people joy and fun!

How well do you think FIU prepared you for your career?
I think FIU gave me the necessary fundamental skills to start in the field, as well as provided clubs like UPE, which provided the fertile ground to grow and serve students like myself.