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Dan Harbor
IT Specialty:
Web Development
Job Title:
Web Developer
Apollo Group Inc.
Bachelor’s in Computer Information Systems. 

Q. How long have you had your degree?
A. I have had my degree since December 2006.

Q. Do you feel your degree adequately prepared you for your technology career?
A. I wouldn't be where I am today with just a degree in Computer Information Systems.  That degree alone did not teach me enough to be successful in this career, although it is very important base.  The majority of my knowledge came from my experience in the field (part-time positions, internship, playing around programming).  However I wouldn't have been able to get those part-time positions without the degree.  So in summary, the CIS degree was not enough alone to prepare me.

Q. Do you have any certifications in addition to your degree?
A. Yes, certificates in Web Development, Database Development

Q. Have the extra certifications you’ve received prepare you for your IT career?
A. The certifications have helped.

Q. How many years have you been in the IT field?
A. I started developing websites about 12 years ago, but this was nothing formal.  I began my CIS degree 6 years ago. I began semi-formally working in the IT field 3 years ago (part-time positions, running my own business). I began formally working in IT fulltime about a year ago.

Q. Have you ever worked in a field outside of IT?
A. I am a co-owner in a Landscaping Business.

Q. If you answered “yes” to the above question, in what way did working in other fields prepare you for the IT field?
A. Co-owning a business has taught me a lot.  This gives you a whole different mindset from non-business-owner employees.  The best thing I have learning from owning a business is, don't rely on other people to do any work for you.

Q. What personality traits and skills do you possess that you feel help you in your specific IT field?
A. The one personality trait that has helped me thus far is a "You can do anything" mindset.  Since I believe that, it becomes reality. 

Q. What steps does someone go through to get a job in this field?   

  • Have Passion in the field
  • Get some type of formal training   
  • On your own time, work on your knowledge of the field. I feel that I was hired for my current position because of the part-time positions I had in college and also my internship.  From the research that I had done when applying for different positions, it seemed that EVERYONE required at least two years of experience to even consider you with very specific details on what a developer needed.  Everyone in the market is looking for experienced developers and it is very hard to get your foot into the door, but once you have those 1-2 years of experience it seems finding a decent job wouldn't be as difficult.

Q. What are ways to advance in your field?
A. Things that would help to advance in this field would be learning new technologies (For example: AJAX, XML).  A higher education level also would be beneficial along with a certificate in the Microsoft Certified Professional field. Years of experience is also critical to succeed and advance in this field.

Q. What is the most enjoyable thing about your job?
A. The most enjoyable thing about my job would be the gaining of knowledge.  I love the fact that everyday I am learning something new, and I have projects that require me to learn new things.  Everyday is practically different.  Also I love the feeling that I am able to do something that most people can't.

Q. What is the biggest challenge regarding your job?
A. The biggest challenge would be keeping up with all the technologies.  In this position you have to be very dynamic and up-to-date on the current technologies.  You have to know what everyone else knows to excel.  A lot of research is involved with this position. 

Q. What are your daily tasks like?
A. My daily tasks differ from week to week depending on what kind of projects I am assigned to and how large of projects.  Currently I am assigned to a larger project so this may differ when I am assigned to smaller projects.  I start of the day by knowing my tasks to complete.  (This task list helps me be more efficient).  After I know what I have to do, I get started.  I program for about 5 or 6 hours a day if my project is large enough.  The other 2 or 3 hours of the day is spent researching, information gathering, or in meetings.  I am in meetings for less than 1 hour per day.   

Q. What skills do you use at work?
A. In summary: Patience, keeping an open mind, foresight, and being detail oriented. Patience is a key skill in Technology.  A lot of things I deal with are new, and the information that is available is limited, so you have to play with things and think of new ideas.  Along with that, you need to have an open mind.  For every problem there can be 10 or 20 solutions so you always have to keep an eye out for which you think is the best way.  Another skill would be foresight. Developing a successful application requires you to think ahead of everyone.  And of course being detailed oriented.  In terms of computer skills: SQL, Database Design, ERD's, HTML, ASP,, C#, JavaScript, AJAX, Component Art, XML, XSLT, OOP, CSS, Visual Studio 2005, Application Design, Visio, Word, Outlook, Excel.

Q. What percentage of your day do you spend working independently or in a group?
A. I spend about one hour a day (depending on the phase of a project) in a group.  When making a new design of an application or finishing an application, the time I work in a group is much greater.

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. The best advice I would give is do what you enjoy. A person can adapt to which ever career they choose.  The person may not have a clear idea on which career to choose, but they should know what the specific reasons are that they want to go into the field.

Q. If you could give me one quote about why you feel Information Technology is “THE” field to be in what would it be?
A. Knowledge is power.