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Tom Hansel
IT Specialty:
Computer Information Systems Careers
Job Title:
Technical Analyst
Major Insurance Company
B.S. in Secondary Education

Q. Do you feel your degree adequately prepared you for your technology career?
A. The subject matter of my degree did not specifically facilitate preparing me for working in the technology sector.

Q. Do you have any certifications in addition to your degree?
A. If so, what are they in? Microsoft Certified Professional, Certified Novell Administrator - Both are computer certifications offered by industry vendors.

Q. Have the extra certifications you’ve received prepare you for your IT career?
A. The certifications facilitated very specific knowledge that is needed to administer computer networks.

Q. How many years have you been in the IT field?
A. 11 years

Q. Have you ever worked in a field outside IT?
A. Yes.  I worked in the Pulp & Paper Industry for 7.5 years.

Q. In what way did working in other fields prepare you for the IT field?
A. My previous experiences afforded me an opportunity to apply the following practical skills: problem solving/troubleshooting, communications of technical concepts with customers, organizational skills, training, and people management.

Q. What personality traits and skills do you possess that you feel help you in your specific IT field?
A. Attention to detail, logical thought processes, ability to "connect-the-dots" with a minority of data.

Q. What steps does someone go through to get a job in this field?
A. My experience has been that many people "fall" into the Systems field.  Other than doing "developer" work, many college degrees do not cater to the other disciplines within Systems.

Q. What are ways to advance in your field?
A. Experience will be crucial for my circumstances.

Q. What is the most enjoyable thing about your job?
A. People interaction

Q. What is the biggest challenge regarding your job?
A. Disseminating information in an articulate and concise manner so that the organization can consume it and react.

Q. What are your daily tasks like?
A. As a Technical Analyst my job is essentially to coordinate the integration of various technologies.  On a daily basis I'm interacting with other staff, providing staff guidance, providing recommendations, and creating communications to help the organization understand the challenges and benefits of integrating specific technologies.  In other words - moving the organization in the direction it needs to, whether or not the collective community understands that it needs to move.

Q. What skills do you use at work?
A. Verbal and written communications are the most used skills.  Both of these skills help the organization move in the direction necessary to position it for future success.

Q. What percentage of your day do you spend working independently or in a group?
A. Independently - 25%, Group - 75%

Q. If you were a person getting ready to choose an IT major for college, what advice/guidance would you give them to help them decide between all the fields?
A. In a large organization, most skills, other than developing code, can be obtained on-the-job.  The crucial skills to learn in college are communication - both written and spoken.  Students in college go through a lot of change, semester-to-semester.  This type of change and the frequency carry through into many IT careers.  Technology changes about as rapidly as anything else in the business world.

Q. Why do you feel Information Technology is “THE” field to be in?
A.  IT Systems will continue to grow in size and complexity.  That growth inevitably requires a large number of people to maintain the systems.