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General SOP for MS/MEng in Computer Science Programs

WigoHunter 1 / -  
Oct 13, 2017   #1
Thank you in advance for reading my draft of SOP and giving me feedbacks. This is a general draft and I will modify at least the last paragraph for each program. I don't have a solid academic GPA, but do have some side projects and also targeting those project-based programs. I would really appreciate any feedbacks and suggestions!

preparation to become a tech leader

I still vividly recall the last few days being a software engineer intern at Microsoft in this summer. As I wrapped up the project and completed my final Pull Request, what struck me with simultaneous fear and excitement was the uncertainty of future. After graduation, the presumably smart option was to accept the return offer from Microsoft. However, driven by my own life goal, which is to render a more interactive and encouraging environment for students, entrepreneurs, and their projects, the fear is that this goal will not be achieved by simply becoming one of the hundreds of new hires Microsoft has each year. I am thus motivated to pursue another journey into a master program where I can keep experimenting with various technological projects with like-minded peers and faculties.

At the University of YYY, I am a Business student with a second major degree in Computer Science. Beyond the academics and maintaining a Second Class Honour (Division One), I have exploited international opportunities with internship experiences and exchange programs in Budapest, New York, and Toronto. The interactions with students from different cultures have nurtured my belief in a more connected and collaborative global environment. I believe universities are one of the most diverse talent pools one can ever get access to. If a student is aspired to build a project, the university and its networks have all the resources and talents to drive its success. Moreover, as technology advances and the amount of opportune data grows rapidly, computers are ready to facilitate meaningful human connections. Driven by this vision, I commenced a group of students organizing workshops sharing topics in Web, Machine Learning, and User Experiences. After a few months, I further led part of the group (Three Engineering students, one business student, and one Architecture student) developing P____, a web-based social platform that matches students by their projects and skillsets.

The challenging yet rewarding development of this project highlights my undergraduate career. We envisioned this platform to be the Linkedin for student projects. However, as existing social platforms dominate the network, we were spurred to take several different initiatives. At first, we aimed to bring students together and organized a student Hackathon, E_____, in which we introduced extra bonuses to promote cross-disciplinary collaborations and acquired partnerships from Microsoft, GitHub as well as local communities. In terms of technical approaches, we also leveraged the power of Facebook, one of those dominating social networks, by building a Chatbot with Natural Language Processing solutions. This way, students could make uses of our web services using just Facebook Messengers. These innovative implementations had led us to the semi-final round of Microsoft Imagine Cup 2017 as well as various fund-raising events. For me personally, I was also internally referred for interviews for the software engineer internship at Microsoft.

However, a series of failures in competitions, fund-raising events and user acquisitions for P____ followed. Beyond the frustrations, I was motivated to learn from the successful ones and chose to join the Geocoding Team at Microsoft over stubbornly try to optimize P____ in the summer. Over the months, I built a data visualization tool for geocoding data and an asynchronous analytical system to optimize use flows of the internal debugging process. More importantly, I was presented with a new and thrilling horizon of Computer Science and its potential impacts. Even the simple functions can be implemented in different approaches so as to ensure performance. I didn't see the significance of data structure until implementing a Queue solving concurrent issues when a vast amount of requests are made. Furthermore, I was fascinated by how connected I was to the colleagues in other countries. I collaborated with senior developers in Redmond, Moscow, and Taipei. To this extent, Microsoft has also proved my vision in global collaborations are feasible and exploitable.

After seeing the gap between P____ and Microsoft in terms of their scales and impacts, as well as recognizing there are more intriguing topics in Computer Science to explore, and inspired by my father who studied at XXX University and founded his company afterward, I am motivated to apply for a master degree and further acquire broader and deeper knowledge in the field while continuously experimenting with projects that connect talents.

The ZZZ program at XYZ especially entices me with its comprehensiveness in Computer Science and the connectivity of technologies. I look forward to working with colleagues in projects for the course COMP4466 while absorbing state-of-the-art knowledge from courses including Machine Learning, and from professors who have extended their knowledge to various fields, particularly KKK whose innovation was even acquired by DDD. These experiences along with the two years in a city where tech leaders are present and reachable for collaborations will surely prepare me to become a tech leader who not only pictures a connected future but is ready to contribute to it.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 13,028 4247  
Oct 13, 2017   #2
Kevin, here is the thing. You seem to be a so-called "professional student" or a person who seeks so much knowledge, he doesn't have time to do actual work in the field of interest that he has been pursuing. This could pose a problem for your application as an MS degree requires the applicant to actually have a professional foundation, rather that purely theoretical, as you present. The reason behind this is simple, the purpose of your application must tie in directly with your professional plans or career growth. Without it, there is no real purpose to your desire to study.

You do present strong academic skills in your essay and you have a clear frustration for certain things. However, none of the information that you currently present can create an interesting and career relevant SOP for yourself. With that said, I am sure that you know what is coming next. I am advising you to please, please present some career related information in your essay.

Where do you currently work? What is your position? How long have you worked there? What problems do you encounter in your workplace related to your interest in this MS course? Why will studying this course be beneficial to your career? Where do you plan to take your career in the future and how will this MS degree help you achieve that?

Additionally, you need to discuss why you chose a particular university beyond the obvious reasons found on their website. What excites you about studying there? How do the courses you will be taking fit into your 5 year career plan? What are your plans post study?

There are so many gaps and problems with this draft that you have to address. The suggestions and questions I posed before you should help you create a stronger SOP in a manner that will be more acceptable to the review officer considering your application.

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