Voices of CS: MS Bridge Testimonials

The CS@CU MS Bridge Program in Computer Science equips students from non-computer science backgrounds with the skills and knowledge necessary to build careers in technology.

The program is designed as a year of rigorous “bridge” coursework composed of introductory CS courses. This transition prepares students for a seamless entrance into Columbia Engineering’s MS program in Computer Science after the bridge year.

The program was launched in 2020 and the second cohort is currently in their bridge year. We asked these new students what their favorite class is so far.

Aneeza Asif
BA Cell and Molecular Biology, Barnard College (’21)

Through the few classes I have taken so far, COMS W1004, Intro to Computer Science has been my favorite. Professor Paul Blaer is such an amazing instructor, he truly takes time out to ensure students understand the material with the way he structures his lectures as well as his teaching style where he will pause to take questions in between different concepts. Professor Blaer offered Java Labs, which was a supplemental option to the main course, run by TA’s to help students better understand concepts taught in class. I am so appreciative of Java Labs and all the TA’s that helped me throughout the semester, as this was my first encounter with coding and it made for a great first experience.


Ryan Soeyadi
BM Piano Performance, The Juilliard School (’21)

My favorite class so far is Data Structures, mainly because I’ve reached a point where I’m comfortable programming in Java and I felt like I was able to translate my thoughts to code more easily in that class. I learned numerous ways to organize and manipulate data. I also learned how useful it is to draw diagrams with a pen and paper rather than jump to code from the beginning, a mistake beginners like me often make.


Madison Thantu
BS Cognitive Science, and Human Biology and Society, University of California, Los Angeles (’21)

Although only a few weeks into the spring semester, I am currently taking my first course in the master’s program, Artificial Intelligence, which, although challenging, I am very excited about and interested in. This course is synthesizing the information that I have learned in previous computer science and math courses and, for me, it has confirmed that I want to pursue the Machine Learning track once I officially enter the master’s program.


Jacky Wong
BA Economics, New York University (’17)

I enrolled in the MS Bridge program so that I can become a software engineer and build software to solve day-to-day problems. And it has been going well! I really like my Artificial Intelligence class. I have learned how to think computationally – how to model a question into a coding problem and how to turn an algorithm into code.


Jordan Jolley
BBA Management Information Systems, University of Texas, Austin (’18)

So far, my favorite course has been Artificial Intelligence. We not only learn general AI theories and history but also how to develop different algorithms in order to create a rational agent. Although I am not currently planning on pursuing a career in AI, I have found the class both challenging and enjoy broadening my scope of CS experiences.


Basel Hindi
BS Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University (’18)

I am currently enrolled in COMS 4701- Artificial Intelligence, and it is quickly proving to be my favorite class thus far. We are learning about rational agents and the axioms that govern them. I feel that the CS@CU MS Bridge program offers a tailor-made and well-structured transition into the world of graduate-level Computer Science. I believe this transition is critical in order to first hone my knowledge of CS and then apply those skill sets to solve interdisciplinary problems, which are increasingly present within the complexity of the real world.


Sean Jung
BA Nutrition Science, Georgia State University (’19)
MS Business Analytics, Emory University (’21)

I think Data Structures is one of the most important classes in the whole CS undergraduate curriculum. We are learning about different data structures such as ArrayList, LinkedList, Stacks, Queues, Hash Tables, etc, and then combining them with a set of algorithms to solve the problem in a creative and efficient way. This class has been my favorite since it is like a puzzle where I get a sense of achievement when I finally get to solve it.


Voices of CS: MS Bridge Student Testimonials

The CS@CU MS Bridge Program in Computer Science equips students from non-computer science backgrounds with the skills and knowledge necessary to build careers in technology.

The program is designed as a year of rigorous “bridge” coursework composed of introductory CS courses. This transition prepares students for a seamless entrance into Columbia Engineering’s MS program in Computer Science after the bridge year.

Each student takes a different path through the program and most of the first cohort is done with their bridge year. Below are some of their experiences from the past year.

Ethan Garry
BA Mathematics and Statistics, University of Rochester 2016
Associate of the Society of Actuaries in 2019

I tried learning from online resources for several months before applying to the MS Bridge program. CS is a demanding discipline and in order to rapidly evolve my skills, I needed an intense academic setting that Columbia has provided for me. I took four bridge courses over the past year and started the MS this spring. The four bridge courses were excellent preparation for my current coursework and they also provided sufficient knowledge to land a front-end development internship with SuperWorld (a virtual real estate marketplace).

After the program, I hope to either become a front-end web developer or a full-stack web developer for a small tech company focused on helping local businesses.

Muhan Liang
MS Strategic Communication, Columbia University School of Professional Studies 2020
BS Communications Boston University 2018

I come from a communications background and I didn’t have any former knowledge of computer science. The MS Bridge program has provided a valuable and high-quality experience in gaining all the necessary foundational skills in computer science.

I am really excited about transitioning to the master’s program this semester!


Nand Chandravadia
BS Neuroscience, University of California, Los Angeles 2017

I have done research on brain-computer interfaces that piqued my interest in the intersection of neuroscience and computer science. This pushed me to apply to the MS Bridge program to further my knowledge in CS and gain the necessary acumen and technical skills to pursue my research interests. The most important thing I have learned is to view the world from the perspective of a computer scientist. Especially when trying to tackle a research question, a computational mindset can be very helpful in distilling the essence of a question and coming up with a tractable solution (if one exists).

After the MS program, I plan on pursuing a PhD and I am very excited to take the knowledge learned from inside the classroom and apply it to the outside world.


Krystal Briggs
BA Speech-Language Pathology and Linguistics, Brooklyn College Honors Academy 2017

I feel confident that Columbia’s MS Bridge Program will prepare me for a career in medical tech. The program provides exceptional academic advising with professors who truly care about the success of their students.

Once I reach the master’s portion of the program I look forward to specializing in bioinformatics and I plan to further extend my education and work towards bridging the gap in healthcare amongst underrepresented communities.


ZiJia Chen
BA Liberal Arts, The New School 2020

I have started businesses where I created websites and applications but I realized that to truly make these startups successful I needed to learn more about CS and build my technical skills. I want to integrate what I will learn from the MS program with my design background to create interdisciplinary innovation and apply it to entrepreneurship.

I plan to take advantage of my time at Columbia to learn as much as I can, build relationships with classmates and professors, and work with Columbia’s Startup Lab to create something that will help humanity.


Matthew Duran
BA Economics and Mathematics, School of General Studies of Columbia University 2020
Former 3B with the New York Yankees

Now that I have a good theoretical and programming foundation in computer science, I plan to complete the software systems track which will let me dive deeper into the core of modern computing and build systems that everyone uses. I will also take electives such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Honestly, I’m excited about the rest of the program because the possibilities are endless.


Lawrence Lai
BS Accounting, SUNY Binghamton 2011

Aside from doing all the coursework and studying, I have made time to participate in a research project and join a couple of hackathons. These are some of the great opportunities offered by the school.

Overall, the program has been challenging and rewarding at the same time. I look forward to all the exciting work that I will be doing in grad school and beyond.