Shannon Pawloski

Software Engineer


University of Michigan, BSE Computer Science Engineering, 2014
University of Michigan, MSE Industrial and Operations Engineering, 2015


I began my career as a software engineer in a rotational program at Capital One that allowed me to work on different teams and included professional development programming. While I came in with primarily backend experience (given that CSE at Michigan was very C++-focused), I got a lot of practice with front-end development through the roles I held at Capital One. I learned about web accessibility, product development, and user experience in addition to picking up technical skills and tools. I eventually became the frontend expert for one team, which set me up for my next job at Airbnb. I joined Airbnb as a fullstack software engineer and immediately got assigned to frontend projects. This gave me a lot of familiarity with the product and the system, and since then I’ve led technical development on a number of projects and been actively involved in product discussions. Through each of these roles, I’ve gained confidence as a software engineer and professional and had the opportunity to make an impact on my teams.

How does your Master’s degree differentiate you from others?

My IOE master’s degree was beneficial in a few ways. It gave me an opportunity to explore a somewhat new field and to practice solving different kinds of problems with new tools. This expanded my mindset and helped me to think about the bigger picture. It also gave me confidence. Additionally, my master’s degree made me stand out to recruiters, who recognized the additional coursework and practice, and the expanded scope of my education, so it gave me a leg up when applying for jobs. Because I ultimately moved into a software role, the content of my master’s degree might seem less relevant in the face of the technical knowledge I need for my day-to-day work. However, the habits I picked up in grad school inform a lot of my other interactions and have enabled my involvement with product development and my partnership with the business side of my team. I love that I can work in such a cross-functional way, and I believe I owe some of that to my master’s degree.

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

My advice is to try different things – take a class that is outside of your major, join a student organization that sounds intriguing, or attend any of the incredible events and shows on campus. Don’t be too concerned about joining the “right” organization or taking just the “right” classes. Whatever you do, you’ll be learning, challenging yourself, building your network, gaining valuable experience, and hopefully having fun too.