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...: Marsh Chatter

Information Technology: Different Paths - A Recap

Wow what a night. The chapter hosted an audience of 18. Most were students in the chapter; but, several former students of the college returned for the evening, including several who have been in my courses.

My discussion was titled: Information Technology: Different Paths. My goal of the session was to relate to students who go part time or who are experiencing life changes as a result of economic downturn. My approach was to discuss my own travels to this point in time. This involved part time college, degree change, job departure due to unethical bosses (e.g. making the tough choice), and life in Info Tech.

Information Technology jobs are fun, cool, and important in business. A good way to succeed is to "know stuff", to be involved in the company, to network in your community, and even to have some "OOBE" - which the 18 in the audience learned was "Out-Of-the-Box-Experiences".

OOBE's are doing things other than "tech". Going camping, wandering through a library or museum, sailing, skiing, or scuba diving. You have to have down time - but you also don't want to lose focus on your goals. Especially as a student, your goal is to learn and to get your certificate or degree in a reasonable period of time. OOBE's are not spending 10-12 hours playing the latest fad game. Addictions do not move you ahead in business or life. Overcome & Get Focused.

I discussed several experiences with hardware and software. Some were: creative ways to save money, calculating ROI to help pick the right equipment, saving time by using programming, and odd hardware failures. I also related my "out-in-left-field" approach to the people we serve - specifically how we in I.T. respond to them (see Definitions: "User...").

I wrapped up by discussing networking opportunities. This included:

  • Continued participation in local community groups - tech related or not. Get out and meet people.
  • Active participation in regional tech seminars (e.g. Kalamazoo X Conference, Day of .NET, and others)
  • Seeking out charity participation (e.g. Give Camp, or others)

I consider the evening a success because there was continued conversation for about another 45 minutes; which included several students commenting how their own experiences are similar and several wanting to know more about Give Camp. Hooray!

I enjoyed the evening and had fun not only putting together the topic points, but also delivering it. I am glad others found commonality and hope it provides the push they need to stay focused, to learn, and to succeed.