Judy Tamir

Judy Tamir

Senior Software Architect
Department of Environmental Protection of New York City
Judy Tamir
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I've been a software engineer since 1985. it's a great career with fun projects and fun people to work with. Through my job, I've been able to travel, and at times work from home. The best thing about my job is that it never stands still. I'm always learning new things and working with new technologies.

BS Computer Science, 1985 SUNY Albany MS Compunter Science, 2000 Boston University
  • I am willing to be contacted by educators for possible speaking engagements in schools or in after school programs or summer camps.
  • I am willing to serve as a sponsor or coach for an engineering club or team.
  • I am willing to serve as science fair judge or other temporary volunteer at a local school.
  • I am willing to be contacted about potential job shadowing by interested students.
  • I am willing to be interviewed by interested students via email.
Answers by Judy Tamir

Hi Aileen,

Each College/University will probably answer that differently.  Your math background will influence what type of applications you will be qualified to work on.  If you are strong in Math, then you will be a great asset to a company that is writing software to do financial applications, or graphical packages or any other software that requires a good understanding of higher math.

If you are not strong in Math, but are strong in logic, don’t worry, there are a lot of applications that need people that are logical and meticulous and good listeners.  Software Engineers have to be good at hearing what a client needs and translating that into a software program that fulfills those needs.

Good luck Aileen!


Dear Amy,

Being a software engineer is a great choice. I believe Physics would be required as it gives good background on how computers work (among other things), but it is best to ask your school counselor for that information. Other good courses to take would be Math (Calculus), Logic, and any programming courses you can find.

More importantly, YES! Software engineers are the ones who get to design and write apps. Some apps run on your phone, some apps are internet apps and run in Chrome or Firefox and some apps run on your PC. Some apps run on PlayStation or Wii. Some apps run on the cash register at the store. Some apps run on washing machines or cars. Software is running the world these days, and so software engineers are very much in demand and have A LOT of work to do.

Hope this helps. Write to me anytime if you have more questions!


Dear Curious,

I don’t know what you need to do to get into schools like MIT or Stanford, but what I think is MORE important is what you do while you are at whatever college you get into. Getting into and graduating from MIT is not a free pass into the “life of your dreams”, but it probably does make the way a little easier. There are plenty of good engineering schools out there, so don’t be disappointed if you don’t get into one of the top 10.

What can you do now? Decide on something you’re interested in learning about and start to read about it. If you’re interested in designing a web application try creating a simple web application. If you’re interested in mobile apps, write an iPhone app. There are tutorials on the web (google can you help you find almost anything! Try “iphone app tutorial”) that can teach you how to write simple applications and many times the compilers you need are free if you’re a student. There’s nothing like practical experience to point out the things that interest you. If you’re interested in computer security, read about hacking and what needs to be done to prevent hackers from getting into a system. Choose a project, join a club at school, ask a teacher at your school to help you with a project, or even to suggest a project.

I don’t know if you need to be good at coding/programming NOW to get into a software engineering program at a university, but certainly, if you want to pursue a career in software engineering, you have to like to program. It’s a lot of fun when you can get things to work. This field is constantly presenting new challenges and changes and “paradigm shifts”. You’ll never be bored if you don’t want to be.

Bottom line: to make yourself a more attractive candidate for any university you need : good grades, good SAT/ACT scores and a background that shows that you are a person that likes to learn and achieve. Do as well as you can on your grades and SATs, and then get involved in all sorts of extracurricular activities. LOTS of them. Be active in them. But don’t just do it to make yourself attractive to colleges, do it because you want to learn and make yourself a better person.

Judy Tamir