Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology Helps Alum Obtain Senior Systems Engineer Position Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Meet Harry Caskey
Job Title: Senior Systems Engineer
Employer: Carnegie Mellon University
Hometown and current residence: Pittsburgh, Pa.
Degrees earned: Bachelor of Science in information technology, Point Park University; Associate of Science in information technology, computer forensics, and network security, Pittsburgh Technical Institute
Graduation years: B.S. in 2011 and A.S. in 2006
Interests: Emerging technology, quantum computing, space sciences, foreign languages, gym, volleyball, softball, basketball, strategy games, movies, music and art
Why did you decide to pursue a bachelor's degree in IT?
When I was in high school, I had two big passions - IT and art. I've always enjoyed making web pages and taking apart computers as well as painting and ceramics. However, when thinking about my future I ultimately wanted to pursue a career in technology. I had already acquired an associate's degree but to get the job I wanted I knew it would require a bachelor's degree. Point Park put me on the fast track to completing my bachelor's degree for the job I wanted and have today.
What made you choose Point Park?
After completing my Associate of Science degree, I looked at schools where i could transfer in my existing credits. Some schools wanted me to start as a freshman but Point Park accepted most of my credits from Pittsburgh Technical Institute, allowing me to finish my degree faster. Also, Point Park's campus was a very convenient location for me. Being Downtown was right in the middle of everything for me.
What are your key responsibilities as a senior systems engineer?
I am in charge of installing, maintaining, configuring and upgrading the software for all of the Windows Clusters computer labs across Carnegie Mellon's campus. In addition, I assist in new and ongoing projects to enhance the student experience in our computer labs. I'm very happy with my job and the people I work with are very talented and wonderful individuals. Also, staying on the edge of technology is important to me. One of the best perks about this job is that I always get to see the latest and greatest in technology and software applications.
How would you describe Point Park's IT professors?
Amazing. Professors Fred Kitner and Joan Mosey in particular were big inspirations to me during my time at Point Park. I'd take another class with them in a heartbeat. Professor Kitner always knew his stuff and has a lot of experience in the IT field. As for Professor Mosey, she always pushed me to do more and strive for better goals.
What do you think makes Point Park unique?
Point Park is unique because of its small class sizes. I really loved going to class and knowing I wouldn't just be a number to the instructors. One benefit of having small class sizes was that the instructor always knew your name.
What advice do you have for students considering a career in IT?
Internships, internships, internships. I got my first job based on my internship. Start looking during your sophomore year and do any work you can on the side to get experience while you are in school. For my first job in the field, I was a computer technician at Best Buy and even though it was a considered a sales job, having the technical experience was applicable to my career goals. You must get your hands on technology and explore. I can't emphasis this enough. Technology always changes, you have to be willing to learn and grow with emerging trends and technological developments or you could get left behind. Point Park helped me learn and enabled me to grow my skill set. Words I live by: Learn, Acquire then Apply.