Software engineering student benefits from big data lab research

MALVERN, Pa. — After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and working for two years as a software programmer in India, Sushrut Kanetkar decided to pursue a master’s degree in the United States to broaden his scope and knowledge.

He reviewed the U.S. News and World Report rankings and applied to Penn State Great Valley’s Master of Software Engineering program. Once he was accepted, he communicated with current students on Facebook and LinkedIn to hear their experiences. He enrolled and started the program in August of 2016.

A few weeks into the program, he saw an online posting for a research assistantship with Adrian Barb, associate professor of information science. After applying, he accepted the position and began working with Barb in September in the newly established big data lab. Kanetkar helps to administer and maintain the infrastructure of one clusters — a group of computer servers acting together as one system.

Kanetkar’s position in the big data lab has exposed him to a variety of tools and systems that will help him secure a job once he graduates in December 2017. Gaining hands-on experience will provide him with a competitive advantage in the ever-changing field of software and information technology.

“It has been wonderful to work under the guidance of Dr. Barb,” he said. “He has extensive knowledge of Java, and I’ve learned a great deal from this opportunity.”

The research assistantship has exposed Kanetkar to a variety of programming languages and software, including Java, Linux and Docker. He’s also assisted with storing and manually arranging data from Twitter for another project in the lab.

Not only is Kanetkar interested in software engineering and programming, but he is also passionate about music. To some this may seem very different from engineering, but he found similarities.

“I look at music through an engineer’s eye,” commented Kanetkar. “I’m interested in the mechanics of an instrument and the inner workings of composition.”

Growing up in India, he loved listening to Bollywood and classical scores. At age 14 he started playing the keyboard. Inspired by YouTube musicians, Kanetkar started recording covers of popular songs and sharing them online. Despite his busy schedule with graduate school and research, he continues to create new videos. He frequently communicates with his YouTube followers to take requests and solicit feedback.

Back at the big data lab, new infrastructure will allow students to create and deploy applications — Kanetkar is looking forward to continuing his work there. He hopes to use his experience to write a research paper for his capstone course.

“The United States is the hub of technology,” Kanetkar said. “After working with various applications in the big data lab I hope to apply my skills to a role in software development after graduation.”