Ana Rita Rodrigues, Master of Software Engineering

Ana Rita RodriquesAna Rita graduated in 2002 from the Instituto Superior Técnico with a B.Sc. in Informatics and Computer Engineering. She is now a software developer at Portugal Telecom-SI where she works for the Billing Department. Before Portugal Telecom she worked for Optimus, a major cell phone operator, where she was involved in configuration management. In her free time, Ana Rita enjoys spending time with her nephews, traveling abroad, and studying photography.

How is the Pittsburgh campus different from your home campus?

“The Pittsburgh campus is larger, since it is composed of several colleges and institutes. So, there are many extracurricular activities that are very interesting. Although the campus does not have a well-defined limit, [the MSE program] is mostly at the western end of the campus. Back home the campus was smaller and we were in the center.

Since we are the first group of MSE students in Coimbra, we have a room just for us on the campus there. Here in Pittsburgh we share an open space and schedule meeting rooms, which can be tricky. But this has been an opportunity to know people from different cultures, since our colleagues come from different parts of the world.

What do you think of living in Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh has cultural places there are very interesting, like the museums. The program is very demanding so I don’t often have the opportunity to visit them all, but I'm planning to. The parks seem very nice but in this time of the year the weather prevents me from enjoying them as much as I'd like. On the other hand, I had the chance to practice sports. It has been an adaptation to be away from family and friends, with such cold weather (although I like the snow), and without some of the things I'm used to (like a car). Still, I consider Pittsburgh an interesting experience.

Why did you decide to do the dual degree program?

I selected this program because it is aimed at professionals in my area and because it will contribute my professional growth. The semester in Pittsburgh was an additional motivation, because it allows me to be in the top university in software engineering and close to experts in the field. Also, it gives me the chance to learn about different cultures.