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Put your skills to work in a tech career.
Are you a critical thinker who is detail-oriented and has great math, logic, and analytical skills? Look no further than a career in computer science/information technology (IT) to use these skills and more.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of computer and information research scientists is projected to grow 11 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.
Computer scientists are likely to enjoy excellent job prospects because many companies report difficulties finding these highly skilled workers who invent and design new approaches to computing technology and find innovative uses for existing technology.
Computer and IT workers study and solve complex problems in computing for business, medicine, science and many other fields. With the development of strong skills and the willingness to go for it, you can excel in an IT career.
Web developers also look to be in high demand, with the BLS reporting 27 percent employment growth from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Here, four tech professionals share their experiences and inspirations, and offer words of wisdom to those interested in following in their footsteps.
CA Technologies’ Martens: Fuel Your Computer Career
What can drive your career, in addition to education and the right skills? Sometimes, what can make the difference is passion.
Helmar Martens, principal software engineer at CA Technologies, started in the banking industry after earning his bachelor’s degree in economics.
“In banking there were many repetitive tasks needing to be done on a daily basis,” relates Martens. “I saw an opportunity to eliminate those tasks through teaching myself a program. From this experience my passion for resolving problems and finding more efficient ways of doing things grew.”
Martens got out of the banking industry, took computer classes and got his certification in computer software development. His journey into an IT career started in an entry-level position as a software quality engineer.
“What I enjoy the most about computer science is that it’s not limited to just cognitive and scientific skills,” notes Martens. “There’s plenty of opportunity to exercise other talents, such as creativity and communication skills. It’s a flexible field - a channel through which I exercise my creativity and contribute to challenging problems.”
A day on the job in the IT world is never boring. According to Martens, there are always chances to collaborate with others, to interact with fun people. For Martens, the day starts out like it does for most of us: checking email, connecting with the team and attending meetings.
“Every day we have an important Agile Scrum meeting,” adds Martens. “At this meeting we connect with all of the team members to discuss activities from the previous day, technical challenges and possible solutions. Then, we know what we need to work on that day.”
Agile Scrum is a more efficient methodology for developing modern software where a development team works as a unit to reach a common goal.
Martens is proud of all of his work achievements. “Recently, I came up with an innovative idea to develop a software solution,” he shares.
“The problem was that the software was complex and not meeting the requirements of our department. I did some research on my own initiative, and I collaborated with a peer. The application was a success; it replaced the old solution, and was expanded to the whole company. It saved a lot of money for CA. I regularly get compliments on the solution, as it makes lives so much better. I like that what you produce in this field is tangible and has an impact on how people work.”
Martens also enjoys the diversity in this industry and recommends learning as much as you can. He suggests getting exposure to all of the areas in this vast field - networking, database, security, hardware, software, web - before you decide on a specialty.
“Learn all of the details by talking to people, and get hands-on exposure in computer classes,” he suggests. “It’s a great field in which you can build an amazing and fulfilling career.”
CA Technologies is one of the largest independent system software companies in the world with its headquarters in New York, NY. There are 11,000-plus employees total. For more than 35 years, it’s been exclusively focused on software. From planning and development to management and security, CA is working with companies worldwide to thrive in the application economy.
CA has also won awards for Best Places to Work in IT (Computerworld 2016 and 2017) and one of the Best Places to work for LGBTQ equality from the Human Rights Campaign 2016. CA ranks as one of America’s Best Employers 2017 by Forbes in a survey of more than 20,000 employees. The company is consistently recognized for its commitment to diversity, equality and human rights.
Go to ca.com/us/company/careers.html for CA Technologies career opportunities and more information about what it’s like to work at CA. Connect on Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and Twitter.
Data Check: CA
CA Technologies is a global provider of information technology (IT) management software and solutions.
Ultimate Software’s Dezayas: Move Forward to Meet Challenges
Frank Dezayas shares that he “wasn’t interested in computers in college; I was an accounting major.”
The current senior IT manager of client technology services for Ultimate Software recalls that when he “landed my first job, at an insurance company, I was working with a software system that had many issues, and I was the one assigned to work with IT to address those issues. It was during this time that I became interested in IT, and nothing has been the same since.”
Fortunately, Dezayas also had a manager who took an interest in him and paid for his computer certifications, which helped him to build his skill sets and qualifications.
Dezayas enjoys the computer field. “There’s always something new that’s being introduced or changing, which makes the work interesting and challenging,” he says.
“There’s also nothing quite like helping someone address an issue that’s keeping them from getting their work done efficiently. At times, it can be challenging to work all night on a production issue, and then, be in the office early the next morning to provide support or assistance, if needed. But, when you know your work helps others do their work, you welcome that challenge.”
A typical work day at Ultimate Software is spent reviewing technology issues being experienced by employees. Dezayas’s role is to ensure these issues are resolved promptly and then to look ahead to what his team can do to make the lives of employees easier.
“This can often involve collaborating with business units and other IT groups to ensure we’re always doing the right thing, one of Ultimate Software’s core principles,” he notes.
“Every day brings its own challenges, especially in the IT field, but because I work with a great team at Ultimate, we’ve been able to achieve great things, and we have even more planned for the future.”
When Dezayas recalls all of his work achievements, he highlights one above the others. “Seeing my staff members move up the ranks to management after performing at a high level has been rewarding,” he mentions.
“We have so many talented people at Ultimate, and, as a manager, it’s so rewarding to witness their growth and to help them achieve success.”
Dezayas offers the following words of wisdom to anyone interested in pursuing a computer science career: “Like anything you decide to do in life, there are going to be challenges. If you get knocked down, then you just have to pick yourself up, learn from the experience and move forward. Working in technology requires you to put in a lot of time, to be dedicated, and to read and learn about the ever-changing world of technology. But it’s a very rewarding field, and if you like what you do, then it won’t feel like a job.”
Ultimate Software is on Fortune’s 50 Best Workplaces for Hispanics and Latinos to Work list and on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work for six years in a row. Seventeen percent of 38 percent total members of minority groups in the company are Hispanic. It’s headquartered in Weston, FL, and its 3,800 employees work in 160-plus countries. Annual revenue for 2016 topped $781 million.
Go to ultimatesoftware.com/careers-at-ultimate to view job openings and for more information about careers at Ultimate Software. Follow on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.
Data Check: Ultimate Software
Ultimate Software is a global cloud provider of comprehensive human capital management (HCM) solutions.
Xerox’s Irizarry: Engineer the Way to Innovative to Infrastructure Support
There was never any question Olga Irizarry wanted to be an engineer when she grew up.
However, while there were chemical engineers in her family, Irizarry, the western hemisphere regional infrastructure services manager for Xerox Corporation, decided she wanted to go in a different engineering direction.
She chose computer engineering. “As an undergraduate I met some brilliant people who helped me see that in this field the possibilities are infinite,” Irizarry shares.
What she most enjoys about the field she chose is that she gets to make sure people have the tools they need to do their work, and those tools are available to them at all times.
“Technology is meant to help people do work in a more efficient way,” she explains. “But this field is also full of the unpredictable. Sometimes you just can’t predict issues, and you just have to be prepared to react.”
At Xerox there are two components to Irizarry’s work day: “One is to make sure we keep the business running and address any issues with the infrastructure services we provide to the employees we support; and the second is to work with the infrastructure team to support the implementation of changes or the deployment of new initiatives in the infrastructure.”
Irizarry also advises that it’s a must to keep changing along with this field because it’s constantly changing.
“I support countries in Latin America, and I work closely with the countries’ local teams and with the corporate infrastructure team,” she explains. “I spend my days speaking in both English and Spanish. In the future I hope to become fluent in Portuguese, as well.”
Irizarry has worked at Xerox for the past 27 years in many different areas. She’s proud of all of the work she’s done.
“But if I had to pick one achievement, then it would be the work I did in the information security organization, which was my previous role here at Xerox,” shares Irizarry. “I managed the awareness and training program. We developed and deployed an information security training program for all employees, globally. Technology alone can’t keep our information safe because people play a critical role. The training program was meant to increase awareness around cybersecurity so our employees would be more equipped to do their part.”
According to Irizarry, the most important skills in a computer science career is to fully understand the company’s business and keep focused on that.
“To be able to support our employees so they have the tools they need to support and grow the business, we need to be able to see the big picture,” states Irizarry. “We all contribute. Even if it may not feel like that sometimes, everything we do in this field is to enable the business.”
Xerox is headquartered in Norwalk, CT, and it has approximately 35,000 professionals working in offices in 160-plus countries. Global diversity and inclusion are an essential part of the corporate culture.
For information about jobs at Xerox, visit its website at xerox.com/en-us/jobs. Connect on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.
Data Check: Xerox
Xerox Corporation globally provides document technology, services, software and supplies for graphic communication and office printing environments of any size.
Please treat this profile as a sidebar, and put it last:
ALPHA’s Carbonell: IT Makes A Difference
Julio Carbonell, chief information officer for the Association of Latino Professionals for America shares, “I had no idea that I would wind up in IT.”
In fact, he earned his accounting degree from the New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn, NY, and began his career in the banking industry.
“Fortunately, both accounting and banking provided me with an opportunity to gain experience in systems development and implementation, which led to a desire for a different career path,” details Carbonell.
“During my exploration I met with a friend who said he knew someone at the [Major League] Baseball Commissioner’s [MLB] Office, and that they were looking for an IT manager. I’m a huge baseball fan. So after realizing he wasn’t kidding, I spent the next six months pursuing my dream job. I studied everything I could about the business of baseball: every team, every stadium, every sponsor, the minor leagues, the scouting bureau and, of course, what technology platforms were in use. I was not about to let lack of preparation be my downfall, and it eventually paid off.”
The head of broadcasting and the deputy commissioner of MLB took a chance on Carbonell and entrusted him to lead MLB’s growing technology footprint. As vice president of IT at the MLB, Carbonell led the strategic direction and evolution of technology services for MLB’s central offices and teams.
“It was beyond my imagination,” relates Carbonell. “It catapulted my career in a whole new direction, and contributed greatly to my success. I’m eternally grateful to them and to my good friend for the introduction. From then on, I made it a rule to be as prepared as possible when facing any challenge or opportunity.”
Prior to joining MLB, he was a vice president and product manager with Citicorp information resources. He’s also worked as senior vice president and CIO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), a national non-profit entity dedicated to the humane treatment of animals.
As the ASPCA’s first CIO, he developed the strategy that led to the transformation of tech services to better align with the mission of serving victims of animal cruelty and of providing positive outcomes for at-risk animals.
Now at ALPFA there’s no such thing as a typical work day, which, for him, is part of the excitement of working in IT.
“For example, one day or minute, I could be bogged down chasing some esoteric system anomaly that’s temporarily disrupting a crucial activity,” shares Carbonell.
“And then the next day I could be exploring how a more aggressive strategy could improve the chances of achieving our objectives. Technology touches every part of our lives. I can’t imagine any other field in which you have a better opportunity to be involved in all facets of an organization.”
For those interested in pursuing a career in the IT field, Carbonell emphasizes that you have a unique opportunity to make a difference.
“People will rely on you to deliver technology that makes their lives better,” states Carbonell. “Be the best that you can be, and relish the ability to have a positive impact on others. Avoid getting caught up in the hype. Don’t forget about what I like to refer to as A2A (attention to accuracy). After all, we didn’t get to the moon without somebody making sure the calculations were correct.”
ALPFA is the longest-standing Latino organization with 81,000-plus members in 44 professional and 160-plus student chapters across America. It continuously works to expand opportunities for Latino leadership in the recruitment space. And its career center connects employers seeking top talent with members.
According to ALPFA, there’s a need for more Latino leaders. At a time when the business community desperately seeks talent and America’s young Latinos desperately seek opportunity, ALPFA is a bridge between the two, resulting in thousands of Latino college students in paid professional internships and careers.
Established in Los Angeles, CA in 1972, ALPFA now also has offices in New York, NY, Boston, MA, Austin and Houston, TX and Orlando, FL.
For more information, to search jobs and to upload your resume, please visit jobs.alpfa.org. Follow #ALPFA on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.
Data Check: ALPHA
The first national Latino professional association in the country, Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) continues to empower and develop Latino men and women as leaders in every sector of the global economy.
The top three computer science schools in the world are right here in the U.S. They are, in order, MIT, Stanford University and Carnegie Mellon University.
Source: The 50 Best Computer Science Schools in the World, businessinsider.com
Tech Salary Check
Occupation 2016 Median Pay
Computer & Information Systems Managers $135,800
Computer Programmers $79,840
Computer Support Specialists $52,160
Computer Systems Analysts $87,220
Database Administrators $84,950
Graphic Designers $47,640
Information Security Analysts $92,600
Multimedia Artists & Animators $65,300
Software Developers $102,280
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Web Dev Details
Web developers are in high demand thanks to the growing popularity of mobile devices and ecommerce.
2016 Median Pay $66,130 Annually
Number of Jobs, 2014 148,500
Job Outlook, 2014-24 27% (Much Faster than Average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 39,500
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
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