What I Did with My Degree: Information Technology Degree

information-technology-degreeI started in the technology industry when there were very few women, and I was there during the largest growth period in this industry. I have gone from entry level web designer at "dot bombs" to information system manager in the government. I have transitioned major systems from main frames to web-based applications. I survived Y2K, it wasn't that bad. I have touched almost every industry and have worked on almost every type of system.

It has been an exciting career path, and I am looking forward to another decade of wildly wonderful technology!

I have a Bachelors degree that took me nearly six years to get. It is a CIS degree but it is not the run of the mill Computer Information Science degree but instead Computer Information Studies. It is not under the college of Science; it's the under the college of Arts. I got to create my own degree. I had to title this degree, pick coursework and then submit it to a committee for approval and recognition that they would award this Bachelors degree. They did!

It took me this long to finish, because I took sometime off to marry and then jumped around trying out different majors. I started out pre-med, I wanted to be a veterinarian. Worked for a vet and knew eight years plus was going to kill me. I went to my counselor and said, "I have all these sciences and maths, where can they count towards major credits and not as electives?" I was advised that any engineering degree would be good. So I looked: Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical, Ocean and Computer. The one that I thought would be most interesting was Ocean; however, I did not have enough credits to be a Junior (3rd year) to register early for Ocean Engineering courses and since I was coming back mid-year I'd have to wait to take the core classes until the start of the next term. I wanted a degree and out of college. Since I did have some courses in high school on Apple computers and I did own a Commodore 64, I decided on Computer Engineering. After all, I liked computers well enough and did know how to use them.

As any computer major knows, that major requires over two years of programming. I do not like programming and started to panic about midway through. So I again consulted with my advisor. I was advised that the best thing that I could do was spread myself out. This was the best way to market myself and keep all possibilities open and my interesting degree allowed me to do just that.

I started looking for an IT job while I was still pursuing my degree. I was able to secure my first IT job at $7 per hour, doing web design. I left there shortly and worked for several "dot-bombs." Those were basically ISP (Internet Service Providers) that were reselling dial-up services for big telephone companies, and WPP (Web Presence Providers) offering web hosting and design.

After I graduated with my CIS degree from Florida Atlantic University, I got $10 an hour for designing websites and then got thrown into networking when the person doing that job violated his probation. Honestly, that was my big break.

Then I had my first child and took a small break off during the Y2K transition (that might have brought the entire computer world to its knees). Back from maternity leave, I scored my first professional IT job, making $50,000 year! I was a System Administrator at a credit-card processing firm for a year. I received financial and network administration experience with some database work.

I began looking for another job and got one as Information Systems Manager for the Welfare and Unemployment sector of the government. I managed servers, systems, support and IT staff. I acquired management, budgeting and more Systems Admin experience and was there for more than two years. This was in the public service sector and it was a Linux/Unix shop.

Then I had my second child and moved north out of state. I took a year off and then received a job as a Network Administrator at a school board within the government and education sectors. Here is where I received my Network+, LPI 101 (additional training) and Cisco and Novell experience. I was there for two years. After a layoff, I then acquired a job at a newly relocated data center, offering DNS, hosting, e-mail storage and filtering. I worked six months at this e-mail and hosting company in the private sector.

Currently, I am now the full IS/IT Administrator at a manufacturing plant. I handle everything IT from the user to the financial database and routing.

So working in IT has been a crazy ride. Basically I have done it all except medical and security clearance governmental systems. IT has kept me busy and it is not for the meek or lazy. IT has been more than I had hoped for and more than I ever thought that IT would be. My IS/IT degree has gotten me in the door, taken me into all different industries and I love it. I would not change my degree, and I cannot wait to see where IT takes me next!

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