CCI: What is your current job role and what kind of work do you do?
Serpe Boyer: I work as an interaction designer at Google, where I focus on designing how users confirm their identity in a secure and seamless way while using various Google products.
I work on everything from user flows and wireframes to mockups and prototypes of user interfaces, all while keeping the business and user implications in mind. To accomplish this, I frequently work with colleagues from various fields, such as product managers, researchers, content strategists and engineers.
CCI: How did Drexel CCI prepare you for your career?
SB: The information systems courses were diverse and flexible enough to take courses directly related to my day-to-day work, such as human-computer interaction and data visualization. I also learned about many new topics that I was not familiar with, such as relational database systems and information retrieval, both of which are related to how end-users search and find what they need online. All of the courses that I've taken have placed a strong emphasis on group projects and collaboration. This approach is extremely relevant to how I collaborate with other colleagues at work. Gaining more experience collaborating remotely enabled me to consider new approaches in being more direct and precise in communication.
CCI: What were your favorite aspects of the master’s in information systems program?
SB: Gaining exposure to new subjects and skills was challenging but rewarding. The courses in my program were initially beginner-friendly, making it easier to learn new subjects while deepening my knowledge; I found it helpful as I came from a non-science background. There was a lot of emphasis on system thinking, considerations for accessibility, and ethics; all of which are important for making well-rounded decisions, while designing and building applications that positively impact society. Many professors in my program also had job experience relevant to their fields, and so their teachings were applicable to the challenges I was facing in my work.
CCI: Prior to coming to Drexel, did you have any prior experience in your field?
SB: I developed an early interest in design as a child, learning about printmaking and fine arts from well-known artists in my home country of Turkey. I continued my design studies by attending a fine arts high school before moving to the United States to purse my bachelor's degree in multimedia design. During my undergraduate studies, I became interested in UX while working in a screen-printing shop. Later, as a UX designer, I worked in industries such as e-commerce, advertising, cybersecurity and finance.
When I was growing up, I was not exposed to much technology and first began connecting to the Web using a dial-up modem on an older computer that took forever to load a single page. Many websites were difficult to navigate back then, with little regard to simple and accessible design, and they were not well equipped to improve our daily lives. It's fascinating to see how technology has evolved over time and how we interact with it in various ways.
While I was fortunate to discover my passion at a young age and to gain work experience, technology evolves quickly and constantly, so there is still much more for me to learn. As I design for others, I feel responsible for educating myself and increasing my awareness of issues that are important to our world.
CCI: Why did you choose Drexel for your graduate studies?
SB: While working in my field, I realized I wanted to broaden my knowledge, improve my systems thinking and advance in my career. After talking with peers who had master's degrees, I decided that going to graduate school could help me reach my goals. Drexel's online master's program in information systems seemed more attainable than in-person programs since I was hoping to keep my full-time job and knew I needed flexibility. I started at Drexel just before the COVID-19 pandemic and classes continued with no breaks because they were already offered online.
CCI: What would you tell someone who’s considering Drexel’s online MS in Information Systems program?
SB: I highly recommend the online program, especially for full-time workers or those with other responsibilities. It still requires time commitment, but the flexibility makes it easier. I would advise students to seek assistance from academic advisors and professors, who are always approachable and provide valuable advice when asked. Aside from academics, Drexel has many other resources for online students, such as counseling and virtual events that can help you stay connected and get support as you pursue your goals.
CCI: Is there anything else you want to share?
SB: I consider myself fortunate to have had a family who encouraged me to pursue the arts, then technology, and to be the first woman in my family to earn a master's degree. Being an international student in my undergraduate studies and pursuing my career interests were both challenging at times, but my family's support and persistence over the years opened many doors. Technology is a rapidly growing field that offers numerous opportunities for women. While learning new skills can be a big investment, it’s worthwhile for your future self. It is never too late to be bold and challenge limiting messages about what is possible.