Yaaliny Balachandran

Yaaliny Balachandran

HBSc Computer science Specialist (Specialized in Software Engineering)

I’m a recent Computer Science graduate at UTSC, who specialized in Software Engineering. I’ve always loved Math and problem solving, so I decided to major in Computer Science after taking Computer Science courses in high school. And after hearing about UTSC’s co-op program, I jumped at the chance of attending a good school with a solid program to help students gain experience.

As a woman in CMS, it was a bit alienating at times because you go from being surrounded by dozens of girls in high school to sometimes being one of two-three girl in your tutorials. And despite everyone in CMS being welcoming, there’s always a feeling that you’re the odd one out among a sea of guys, especially in your first few years of university. But, as I progressed through university, I made good friends and we were able to form a good support system for each other. And with the help of WiCSM, which I joined from the moment they began, it was nice to be able to meet more girls who shared similar experiences.

My advice to first years would be that university is tough and it’s okay to struggle. I feel like a lot of us breezed through high school and then we’re blindsided by how difficult university is, but that’s completely normal - I promise. Make sure to reach out for help; talk to professors and your classmates. People are more than happy to help and make sure to make friends! I’m so grateful for the friends I made in university especially. Thanks to them, my university experience was a lot more enjoyable.

So overall, specializing in Computer Science was a tough experience, but I’m so grateful for my university experience. It helped me grow and it flourished my love for coding. And I’ve met great people along the way. So to those of you majoring in CMS, good luck. You got this. I’ll be rooting for you the entire way.