Shyama Sastha Krishnamoorthy Srinivasan, a graduate student in Northeastern University’s MS in Computer Systems Engineering Program, talks about his Northeastern journey, including his progress and the challenges he had to overcome.
Internet of Things Program at Northeastern
Coming from an electronic and instrumentation background, Shyam has always been interested in creating and designing machines, learning about robotics, and making products “smarter.” After investigating available computer systems education programs, Shyam decided an IoT concentration was the right opportunity for him, giving him a chance to hone his knowledge of both software and hardware.
“I came over here and attended [Northeastern’s] orientation. There was this professor who told me about a course, IoT, which is the sister branch of computer systems engineering. He talked to me about how interesting this program is, what’s new about IoT, and how it’s going to take over the development of smart things around the world. So that’s the main reason I decided to switch to an IoT concentration [from studying computer systems engineering].”
Regarding Northeastern’s graduate curriculum, Shyam notes how supportive the program director was of his journey. “He let us take courses from any department, as long as it’s something relevant to IoT or smart electronics.”
This curriculum flexibility—the ability to take a wide range of courses related to IoT—was the main reason why Shyam chose Northeastern’s reputable program.
Northeastern’s Experiential Learning Opportunity: Co-op
Shyam chose to pursue his co-op in a security role at Bose Corporation. Ironically, he says, while his work is typically not related to security, he was still able to complete his co-op in the field, which taught him many multidisciplinary skills.
“They were impressed with my skills and knowledge on electronics, the hardware security that I’ve done before, and the courses that I’ve taken. That’s some of the main reasons they picked me as a candidate,” Shyam says.
The co-op provided him an opportunity to work closely in the field of his interest—smart products.
“During my time at Bose, I worked on security issues related to smart speakers and soundbars, like making sure vendors are not listening when they’re not supposed to, and trying to track behaviors,” Shyam says.
He emphasizes that while working on his co-op, he learned a lot about American values and how to interact with the U.S. work culture. This helped him understand how to approach things at work and advance in the professional environment.
“Dealing with stress and with how to juggle [multiple tasks] are some of the things that I learned. It was an enriching experience.”
The Indian Student Experience at Northeastern
Regarding the Northeastern campus and community, Shyam remarks:
“The amount of resources available at Northeastern for students to utilize during their time here is tremendous. The environment on Northeastern’s campus is closely knit together and there are a lot of research facilities, and other opportunities to learn. There’s also a gym, auditorium, and meditation center as well.”
He highlights that there are specific classes for around $50 that help students to improve their focus on their writing. There’s also a separate center at Northeastern’s Snell Library that is designed to help students refine their vocabulary, writing skills, and individual theses. Praising Northeastern, Shyam says he hasn’t heard about any other place which has such great infrastructure and facilities.
According to Shyam, two things stand out among all the amenities in the Northeastern: its library and the way classes are conducted.
“I have lived in the Northeastern library for 2 to 3 days at a time, especially during exams. It’s such a pleasant environment. You can stay over here and prepare for your exams peacefully. You even have access to watch TV shows or movies. A library is a safe place for us to explore and relax to perform better in academics.”
Shyam was never an erudite student, but what he loves about the classes at Northeastern is the interactive sessions provided by the professors.
He has not noticed a major change in his personality, he says, but he has improved in many ways from his Northeastern experience. He mentions that taking classes in which both undergraduates and postgraduates study together gave him a different perspective on every individual’s educational journey and how each one of them came to Northeastern University. The diverse exposure which he attained helped him expand the paradigm of his knowledge.
Adjusting to Life in the United States
Shyam notes that moving to the U.S. was not an easy task, and searching for a roommate was even scarier. However, he says that WhatsApp groups remained his lifeline when searching for housing, connecting him with people who were also looking for apartments. These groups allowed him to develop a local community, get to know people from similar backgrounds, and socialize with peers.
Shyam says he faced several big challenges when moving to the U.S. “Many people are unaware of the fact that while renting a house in the U.S. if the landlord charges a security deposit, he is supposed to return the deposit with interest. We did not know about this and we were scammed. The location you live in also plays a crucial role in whether you feel at home or not.”
Advice to Prospective Graduate Students
Shyam recommends studying at Northeastern to every talented student who believes in achieving their goals and dreams while gaining wisdom. He says,
“My dreams were to make products smarter and that’s something which has inspired me to join Northeastern. IoT is a course that is not offered anywhere else. The university also offers world-class research facilities, gaming room, and co-working spaces where you can collaborate with people and have enriching experiences.”
Furthering his recommendation, he says that younger students aspiring to study at Northeastern University shouldn’t be daunted by the tuition costs—he says the journey is well worth the experience and exposure they’ll gain.
“The entire purpose of attending Northeastern University is to gain experience and gather impactful learning,” he says. “Enjoy the experience.”
Quick-Fire Questions with Shyam
Q. What is your favorite spot at the university?
A. The library.
Q.What is one thing that you miss from back home in India?
A. The food.
Q.What was your favorite course and one thing about the professor who teaches it?
A. The high-level design of hardware-software systems. The professor intellectual and funny. He engages the class, and it’s great to be in a class where you can learn more than what the subject promises.