SHREVEPORT – Rohan Maharjan didn’t intend on pursuing a computer science job in the medical field.
When he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science from ULM in the spring of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was raging and jobs in the “computer science market were dry.”
But Maharjan did land a job at LSU Health, which he parlayed into a masters in computer science technology degree from LSUS this past spring.
Using knowledge gained in the classroom and as an app developer at LSU Health, Maharjan landed a position as an app developer at the prestigious Office of Clinical Informatics at the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research in Ann Arbor, Mich.
“I create apps to help medical researchers,” said Maharjan, who is affiliated with one of the top medical research centers in the country. “My love of computers started me down this road, but I figured out later that creating this software can improve people’s lives and society overall.
“One of the main reasons I chose (MICHR) is that what I do directly affects their research. I want to have an impact and improve the health of people.”
Maharjan’s love of computers started in his native Nepal, and he began learning computer language around the eighth grade.
He sought to move to the U.S. because of the quality of education and for adventure.
“I qualified for an international scholarship, and that helped a lot because education in the U.S. is expensive,” Maharjan said. “ULM, and then later LSUS, were affordable.
“I can grow here (in the U.S.), and the opportunities are endless.”
Growth certainly occurred at LSUS, and Maharjan credits the rigorous course work and helpful professors.
“LSUS played a huge role,” said Maharjan, who has worked in Michigan for about a month. “I finished my masters in a year, and there was a lot of pressure, but it was good pressure.
“I was part of a team that created an e-commerce app (Pilot Hub) and full-fledged website in (faculty member Keyvan Shahrdar’s class). It took a huge amount of knowledge, and we had to execute it in a short amount of time. We were offered tips and resources from professors, and this helped me develop skills that made me a good (job) candidate.”
Shahrdar, who teaches a software engineering project class, said experiential learning is critical in computer science.
“Our program’s emphasis on comprehensive projects is integral to bridging the gap between academic learning and real-world application,” Shahrdar said. “These projects simulate a professional environment, allowing students to experience the complexities and challenges of software development in a controlled, educational setting.
“By engaging in these projects, students gain hands-on experience in coding, team collaboration, and project management – which are crucial skills in the tech industry.”
One of Maharjan’s credentials is that he is a full-stack Java developer, meaning he can write code in all three layers of a web-based application (the front end, the back end, and the database layers).
“It’s very important to understand all three,” Maharjan said. “If you don’t have proper understanding of all three, you won’t have an idea of the big picture.
“Most of the time, employers are looking for all three in a developer.”
Maharjan sharpened his skills at LSU Health, mostly designing applications for internal use.
“For example, physical therapy requested a mobile app that allowed them to create events on campus for people to take part in,” Maharjan said. “When I started learning in this field, it’s fascinating that you can create something and see your work instantly.
“That was a big draw.”
Shahrdar added that Maharjan’s transition from a talented individual programmer to a key team player increases his value in the workplace.
“Rohan’s journey in our program has been remarkable,” Shahrdar said. “He has a deep understanding of programming concepts, an eagerness to learn, and the ability to adapt to team environments.
“His ability to grasp complex concepts quickly and apply them effectively in team projects sets him apart. His dedication, coupled with the skills honed in our program, undoubtedly contributed to his successful placement in Michigan and further reinforces the effectiveness of our educational approach.”