My name is Samuel. I am studying information technology (IT) at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. I expect to graduate next year. IT is a mixture of hands-on experience with programming, database, and networking. I chose this major because I know it is good experience and will help me prepare for my career. So far, I’ve taken classes related to programming, databases, multimedia content, and Flash design. I am looking forward to take more courses to gain knowledge and skills. Last summer I interned at Cisco Systems in San Jose, CA for three months. While there, I worked on chat clients to be used in various Cisco systems.
Does your disability affect your career?
I am deaf but I can hear more with hearing aids. I use an interpreter and note-taker during all of my classes. Without these primary resources, I would be lost in classes. Despite my disability, I’ve been able to succeed studying computing.
How did you get interested in computing?
I fell in love with computing when I was a kid. Not only did I enjoy using computers to play games, but I was interested in exploring how computers worked. I received my first desktop computer when I was eleven. I took my old desktop apart and explored. I would research the computer parts online and discovered that I could upgrade them to make the computer faster than before.
What have you done in college to prepare for your career?
While in school, I’ve used my computing skills to develop multiple websites. I’m the founder of DeafTechNews, which provides news related to technology that benefits the Deaf and hard of hearing community. I also founded DeafCEOs.org to create a community of Deaf business people and spread awareness of these businesses in the Deaf and hard of hearing community. I have learned that there are lots of deaf businesses, which proves that deaf individuals can succeed in many career paths. I want to support these businesses as much as possible. Deaf business owners have shared with me some business tips that will help me as well.
What are you going to do with your degree?
After I finish my bachelor’s degree, I may study business or marketing. This knowledge would help me learn how to better run and market my own business and would also give me business skills that would make me more employable in the job market. I’m interested in working for private industry or government in a technology-related field perhaps as a database analyst or a software administrator. I’m hoping that, through my work in computing, I’m able to help people make connections and make good use of technology.
What can I do while I’m in high school if I want to pursue a career in computing?
If you’re in high school and want to prepare for a career in computing, do what you can now to learn about computer hardware, including networking. Try to explore more aspects of computing. You might install Linux as a hobby or learn how to dual boot a machine. The computing job market is highly competitive. The more skills you have, the better chance you’ll find a job you want. It’s also important to get a good grasp on math–the logical thinking skills will help when you’re programming or learning about databases. English skills are important to develop to effectively communicate with instructors, supervisors, and clients.
There might be hard work ahead, but don’t give up easily on computing—there are lots of great jobs in computing fields.