My name is Diana. I graduated six months ago from Georgia State University (GSU) where I earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in computer information systems and a certificate of international business. The IT field is always changing, and I excel in dynamic environments so computing was a great fit for me.
While I was in school, I completed an assistive technology internship with the Office of Disability Services at GSU. Assistive technology is technology used by individuals with disabilities in order to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. It promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish by providing enhancements to the technology. Assistive technology can include hardware or software such as alternative mice or screen readers.
What sort of work are you doing?
I currently work at a bank as an information security officer, and my goal is to transition to a government organization and conduct IT assurance work in addition to IT security. Information security means protecting information and information systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, perusal, inspection, recording, or destruction. I like thinking of ways to protect systems from intruders and remediating systems that have been compromised.
Did your disability affect your education?
My primary disability results from multiple surgeries to my right foot. I also suffer from chronic migraines and sleep apnea. My disabilities affected my education experience slightly. My migraines affected my class attendance and would sometimes conflict with project due dates or final exams. My physical disability affected my class schedule and the routes I took to get to my classes. GSU is located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, and the city is not very wheelchair friendly. I had to strategically plan my schedule based on the classrooms’ accessibility. I was able to succeed in my academic career thanks to the Office of Disability Services and the accommodations they provided me.
What can I do while I’m in high school if I want to pursue a career in computing?
Students interested in computing should learn as much as they can about the field and area of interest. Internships are very important because they give you an opportunity to apply what you’ve been learning in the classroom. Networking is also important. It’s not always what you know, but who you know. Be sure to stay informed about changes in the field, and be willing to adapt to these changes. You don’t want to get left behind and miss out on opportunities in new fields.
The outlook for IT jobs in the security field is good. But as the computing world changes, some jobs are becoming obsolete. So make sure to do your research and figure out if the job field you are interested in will be relevant in the upcoming years.
I recommend that students subscribe to IT magazines, attend online forums, participate in online discussions, or attend conferences to stay connected and network. The computing field has different areas that students can concentrate on. Find out what works best for you and follow that path and you will be successful.
June 28 2012