Alumna Deirdre Jonker’s time as a CSU Global student can be quantified in “twos” — two continents, two degrees, and twice the honor of being the university’s Commencement student speaker!  

Graduating in 2021 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Master’s in Information Technology Management, Jonker’s road to graduation was not straightforward — as is the case for many students — but it certainly was worth it. Read on as Jonker shares the advice she gleaned from her experiences. 

 

In-Between Degrees

Even after graduating with my B.S. in Criminal Justice, I still was unsure what career path to choose. I loved criminal justice and the career options it provided, but I began to consider more education. A family member shared an article about how technology was experiencing growth across many sectors. While talking with former CSU Global President Dr. Becky Takeda-Tinker about career opportunities, she shared that CSU Global offered a Master’s Degree in Information Technology Management program with a Specialization in Cybersecurity. Just like that, I became a student once more.

In full transparency, the first IT course I took was far outside of my comfort zone. I had leaned on my paralegal experience to get through my criminal justice classes, but I had no technical background in IT concepts. I told myself something that kept me going: “You may not know much about this topic right now because you are just starting off, but in a year from now, you will have completed this degree. Take your time and be easy on yourself.” 

When you feel overwhelmed in your courses, don’t give up, no matter how scary, daunting, or new it feels. Lean into the discomfort and that’s where you’ll find growth. That’s exactly what I did. If someone would have told my high school self that I would be a CSU Global double alumna and student commencement speaker, I would have never believed them. My speech centered on the notion that we don’t know what the future holds. We are given an opportunity to live the life that we are sculpting every day. If someone chooses option A as a career and switches to option B,  celebrate the fact that they are building a masterpiece of their life, which, just like a work of art, is not a linear process!

Publishing My First App

Before embarking on my education, I couldn’t have anticipated creating something that would be published in the app stores. I began thinking about how people suffer from addictions and behavior related to the use (or misuse) of pharmaceuticals, and I wanted to provide an alternative that would help people mentally, physically, and financially. 

I had been dabbling with the coding language Python since 2016, but progress was slow as I earned my degrees. I did some research on how to get apps published and finally chose to participate in the Google Developers Console. From March until December 2020, I worked on the coding and finally managed to get my app, Comspeare, published in the Google Play Store on Jan. 26, 2021! I was so proud that my first app was available to download! 

Next, I explored how to get Comspeare published on the Apple App Store. The entrance fee is $99 per year, with no guarantee it’ll be accepted. I was initially rejected twice; I was so discouraged. It felt like I was not meant to work with technology. I was frustrated by the lack of help Apple offered and they declined a refund. Finally, I got a phone call from an App Store employee explaining what I needed to do. I followed her guidance and on Sept. 18, 2021, Comspeare was finally published in the Apple App Store. The moral of the story. Do not give up! Find another way of doing things. Get creative and ask for help to reach your goals! 

On the Horizon

These days I am living in Amsterdam, promoting Comspeare on YouTube, and reaching out to medical and health care institutions to see if my app could benefit their patients. I’m happy to be an independent developer at the moment, I am exploring my employment options with various tech firms. 

Wherever my path leads, I feel confident that my degrees from CSU Global have set me up for success. I can’t wait for the next chapter!

 

The first blog of this two-part series can be found here.