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La Salle Graduate Sean Milfort Enjoys Career Success in Tech and Teaching with a Master’s in CIS

Sean Milfort’s passion for technology has always driven him to move faster and achieve more. A decade ago, he was an undergraduate working the help desk at his college campus, troubleshooting laptop and network issues. Today, he’s a Ph.D. candidate in computer science, a system administrator for a national pharmacy chain and an adjunct college professor.La Salle CIS master's graduate Sean Milfort

Despite all that he’s accomplished in a short span, Milfort takes it in stride. “I live and breathe computers,” he explained, noting that each milestone unlocks the next level of knowledge he needs to keep growing.

After earning his bachelor’s in computer science from La Salle University in 2015, Milfort spent almost five years  honing his skills in mobile device support and management at Burlington Stores, Inc. Colleagues advised him that pursuing a master’s degree could enhance his career prospects, given the competitive nature of the job market.

In 2020, he enrolled in the online Master of Science in Computer Information Science with a Specialization in Data Science at La Salle to build knowledge in more diverse areas of development.

While Milfort had done some training online, he hadn’t taken college courses in that format. “I was kind of nervous because I can get distracted,” he admitted. “But they keep you engaged. They keep you constantly learning.”

The program also offered the flexibility he needed after relocating from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to the borough of Mechanicsburg in the Cumberland Valley. Milfort was starting a new remote position as a system administrator for WellSpan Health at the time, and he was happy to have the freedom to study at home, on his schedule.

“I could carve out that one hour every so often in the week to get my lecture done, sit there and watch the lecture and be participating in the class,” he said. “If I was on campus, I would have to take it past more than the hour. It’s the time to get there, it’s time to get back to your home, and it could be like a three-hour process.”

Milfort feels that returning to his alma mater for a master’s in CIS was the right decision, and that it set him up for success. He secured a higher-level system admin position with Rite Aid while earning his degree and graduated in May 2022. He began work on his doctorate in computer science at National University the same year, and last fall, he became a lecturer at Gwynedd Mercy University.

“The program was really good, and I recommend it,” he said. “I think it’s a very good investment.”

Managing Projects and Upgrading Skills

The CIS coursework helped Milfort upgrade his coding skills and gain new expertise in web, mobile and client interface development. Learning project management also made him realize that he wasn’t being efficient or collaborating enough, which meant he was doing things the hard way.

Milfort says he had a “go and tackle it” mindset coming into the program that often led him to charge ahead without a plan, whether he was writing a paper or solving a problem on the job. Now that’s changed.

“Instead of just sitting down and trying to write a paper out of nowhere, I sit there and figure everything out beforehand,” he said. “At work now, I figure out ‘What teams am I going to need to talk to and what teams am I going to need to do this’ and I try to incorporate everyone.”

Pivoting in this manner helped Milfort enjoy his final capstone course, where he executed a complex project with support from professors. He appreciated their active participation, plus the advice and motivation they provided.

“They didn’t just say, ‘Hey, come back in twelve weeks and give me a project.'” he noted. “They said, ‘Hey, we’re going to work together.'”

Milfort’s project sorted and organized content from one of the most popular media franchises in the Marvel Universe. “I basically created a web application that updated itself on a database and showed you all the Avenger movies in order and all the TV shows,” he explained. “It came about because my girlfriend started watching the Avengers movies with me and she had no idea which ones to watch.”

In addition to being fun, it gave him the chance to explore new territory as a developer. “I’m very interested in the consumer space for technology and what everyday individuals use in their everyday life,” he said.

For Milfort, the hands-on teaching and learning environment at La Salle was a highlight of the master’s program. The fact that instructors reached out to connect with students and talk them through challenges meant a lot to him. “I never felt like I was on my own,” he said.

The support he received from his significant other and their children, his parents and his sibling was important as well. “They have been cheering me on and helping me keep on track and coordinate our busy lives to make sure that I am able to get things done,” he shared. “They are definitely fans and proud of the things that I have accomplished.”

Investing in the Technology Workforce

Milfort still loves all things tech, and he keeps his eyes trained on its future. Currently, he’s tracking the expansion of virtual and augmented reality. “With devices like Apple’s Vision Pro being out and Meta still working on their Quest 3, I am curious on where both of those things are heading,” he said.

Milfort is also invested in the future of technology workers. He wants to help other professionals in the field rise and advises them not to put off grad school, as he did initially. “When I thought about it at first, it seemed very daunting,” he confessed. “You think it’s unachievable.”

His message to peers considering an online master’s in computer science is straightforward. “If you’re thinking about it, then just do it,” he said, noting that the benefits are clear.

“It gets you more tools, gets you more credibility,” he observed, adding that job candidates who continue to upskill always stand out to employers. “Even if you don’t leave your job at all and look for a new opportunity, you just get better at it from getting more information and looking at things a different way,” he suggested.

Milfort says the coding, development and project management experience he gained in online master’s courses helped him access more opportunities at work, even before he graduated. His role now includes collaborating with software and technology teams and writing code for internal projects.

Working with La Salle professors prepared him for doctoral study as well, and for teaching in the field. He likes passing on what he’s learned to his bachelor’s students at GMercyU each semester and helping them grow. “I’m giving out the same knowledge I got from my own professors,” Milfort smiled.

Being a full-time instructor at the college level is one of his goals down the line, but for the moment, he’s good.

“I am still enjoying being in the technical field while also teaching,” he confirmed. “It is a great balance.”

Learn more about the online Master of Science in Computer and Information Science with a Specialization in Data Science program at La Salle University.

 

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