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Pictured is IT student and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette intern Justin Smith.

Meet Justin Smith

Currently pursuing: Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
Intern title:
Web Developer for Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's advertising department
Pittsburgh, Pa.
High School: Brashear High School
Expected Graduation: Spring 2013
Interests: Programming, video games, and technology

Hear more from Justin Smith

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Why is information technology the career field for you?

Since I was 4 or 5, I've had an interest in technology. I used to get into a lot of trouble with my parents since I would take everything apart to figure out how it worked. My interest in computers matured when my dad brought home an Apple computer. Being able to tinker around and familiarize myself with this technology was a great opportunity. I then got my first Windows machine, a Windows 95. Becoming a "Windows guy" made my interest in technology blossom even more.

How did you land an internship with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette?

I took the final project in Professor Natalya Goreva's web design class very seriously. My effort paid off; she was impressed. I asked her about possible internship opportunities, and she said that if anything came her way, she'd recommend me for the position. A month later, the Post-Gazette contacted Point Park about a possible intern, and Professor Goreva recommended me just as she said she would. The staff at the Post-Gazette was impressed with my resume and portfolio and two weeks later I was doing work for them.

What are your key internship responsibilities?

I manage three websites right now which are PGClips, PittsburghMom, and PG Daily Deals. My responsibility is to migrate two of the sites, PGClips and PittsburghMom, to new templates, and to fix any problems that surface as a result of the migration. The template is handled by a PHP framework called Joomla. However, oftentimes I still have to delve deep into the HTML and CSS in order to fix errors and make the page more functional. PG Daily Deals, on the other hand, has no framework. All of my work on that site has to be done by manipulating HTML, PHP, and by using subversion. I have other projects to work on in the future as well.

What has been your favorite class so far?

I don't think I can pick just one. "Web Design and Development" with Professor Goreva was great. I knew some HTML before that class, but I never had touched Javascript. Being able to learn that was a good experience. "Intro to Programming" with Professor Joan Mosey was also an amazing class. Then there was "Intro to Sociology" with Dr. Martin Samuels. I know it's not an IT class, but it was one of the most informative and educational experiences of my life.

What are your future career goals?

I want to develop and program software. I program every day in C++, Java, Perl, HTML, and Javascript. I like networking too, but I really think programming is my true calling. If I become a decent programmer, I want to begin programming video games. Seeing things I create come to life is my true goal.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

I've been told to learn just one thing about information technology, and to learn it well. However, I cannot do that. Technology is just too fascinating to limit yourself to only one area, and why should you? Nothing I mentioned in this interview I am perfect at. But that is what is so great about being passionate about something: you do not have to have a large memory capacity - you just have to be passionate. When you are passionate about something, you will learn it because you love it.


More About: Pittsburgh Public Schools, internships, information technology