“I needed to go somewhere where the technology was happening.”
Khadar Alikhan’s career in technology has taken him from England and Dubai to Silicon Valley where he enrolled in the UCSC Silicon Valley Extension Information Technology certificate program as an international student.
“I needed to go somewhere where the technology was happening,” he says, citing a surprising level of opportunity, the potential, and the number of tech companies in the region. He wanted to be a part of it.
“This is where things get created, where you can launch a product and get financed to build world-class products. It was really exciting for me. What better way to be a part of this legacy?”
From IT in Finance to Big Data
Alikhan had worked several years as an IT manager at an investment bank and was particularly interested in Big Data, analytics, mobile computing, and security. He had been looking at master’s programs, but decided that UCSC Extension curriculum was more unique. Applying as an international student was “remarkably easy” and “fairly quick and straightforward.”
“I am pleased to say that I made a good choice,” he says. It’s given him a different perspective and another set of tools. “I come from a finance industry, and now I see how I could potentially talk to old employers, or new banks, and bring new skills.
Favorite Big Data Courses
In particular, he enjoyed the Big Data analytics courses, describing them as “a real eye-opener” with strong relevance to industry. The “Big Data: Overview, Tools, and Use Cases” course was particularly useful as an introduction to the field.
“I learned what is in demand in the industry at the moment, how companies are using Big Data, and how it could be useful to a lot of companies,” he says. “It’s not easy to keep up-to-date because things change every six months.”
With a background in IT, security, and networking, he’s now added a skillset for Big Data, which he was able to practice in an internship at a local networking and security startup.
“I came here to start up something and this is the place where it can be done, to really contribute to Silicon Valley, Alikhan says. “I want to help people out, and to use technology to solve their issues. I’m really looking forward to working in Silicon Valley. The opportunities are everywhere. In the Middle East, it was different. Here, we have entrepreneurship and innovation.”