keywordIt can be hard to remember sometimes that the technology you use every day didn’t just magically appear. From your home security system to your phone, it all started with an idea. Then it was developed. Then it was tested. Then it was developed further — all this before it ever made its way into your hands.

Working in information technology, more commonly known as “IT,” is about identifying areas that need improvement, creating solutions and, ultimately, helping others. And at Grantham University, the IT department is devoted to making your education more accessible to you every stop along the way.

If you ask the IT department what their main goal is, they’ll say it’s to provide constant support to the faculty, staff and, most importantly, students at Grantham. Here’s what software developer Richard Gross, infrastructure admin Josh Johnson and service desk manager Kathy Swanson had to say about working in IT:

The Day-to-Day

“The first thing I tend to do each morning is look at email and then check SysAid tickets to make sure there are no major, student-impacting problems with the applications,” Gross said. “On those rare times when this is the case, those are top priority and everything else stops until the issue is resolved for our students.”

Swanson agreed saying, “First and foremost, our students get the technical support they need. Second, the business units get the support they need (which ultimately supports the student). Lastly, we stay on top of our scheduled university projects.”

“Most mornings, everything is running as it should, so I make a nice cup of tea and look over the day's meeting schedule and my to-do list and begin working to meet those goals,” Gross added.

working in IT

(Richard Gross)

The Fulfilling Moments

When it comes to the fulfilling moments in IT, it’s not about receiving center-stage recognition.

“Typically, any help that is given to students is not seen by the students. We are very behind-the-scenes, upgrading and maintaining the servers the students are working on,” Johnson said.

It’s about “working with students, and working with the various business units,” Swanson added. “Also, the IT team is comprised of great individuals. I truly enjoy working with these teams.”

For Gross, one of the most fulfilling aspects of working in IT is being able to problem solve. “Working on some of the older university software, such as SRM, gives many opportunities to find new and creative ways to fix issues that arise in an ever-changing landscape,” he said. “It requires careful thought and concentration to come up with the best and most effective solutions, and I always enjoy meeting those challenges.”

The Evolution of Information Technology

When it comes to working in IT, this team has seen it all.

“I got my start earning a living writing code more than 20 years ago, writing websites for a non-profit art association,” Gross said. “Html was very basic. There was no CSS. PHP was still to come. Java was something people were just beginning to use. The internet itself was in its early boom time. Things have changed fast, but that has been true for my entire life.”

“I was [also] in IT before there was a thing called IT, so I have seen most traditional business tools and workflows grow from nothing into today’s robust technologies,” Swanson said. “Imagine, if you will, working in corporate America with no internet and no networks, no email, no mobile devices and only a rudimentary word processor. I don’t know how we functioned.”

working in IT

Kathy Swanson

For Johnson, the evolution of IT means acknowledging the changing expectations for IT professionals.

“The biggest thing I have seen has been the focus of IT professionals. There used to be a dedicated storage admin, network admin, exchange admin and security admin. Over the past 10 years, most of these positions have been blended into one, meaning we, as IT professionals, have to be jack[s] of all trades,” he said.

The Future of Working in IT

When it comes to the future of working in IT, the Grantham IT department has different ideas about where it’s headed.

“Technology in the health care sector will explode!” Swanson said. “There are so many emerging technologies, such as telemedicine and remote surgery [for example]. Nanotechnologies for disease treatment will be huge. Nanotechnology is already coming to the forefront in cancer treatment.”

But Gross thinks it may be heading in a different direction.

“Security and accessibility will become much more of a primary focus in the coming years. The user interface and user experience will continue to evolve, as will delivering quality content to multiple diverse devices, including smaller screens and multiple operating systems (although there will likely be some shakeout among tablet operating systems),” he said. “Enhanced reality and virtual reality will both become more prevalent. Wearable technology will see rapid evolution and adoption by the public. This will be driven to some degree by social media and the public's desire to always be connected.”

Johnson’s thoughts?

“I think that the biggest focus for IT professionals 5 to 10 years from now will be mainly on automation,” he said.

working in IT

Josh Johnson

Their Advice?

Most importantly, the IT team at Grantham wants to provide you with some insight if you plan to pursue a career in information technology.

“My biggest piece of advice for someone thinking about a career in IT would be to dive into it. Never have the mindset that something isn’t your responsibility. Your skills will grow exponentially if you try to resolve and troubleshoot things you don’t know,” Johnson said.

Gross added that “IT is a great field with plenty of opportunities to learn and grow, and it's a field where you meet and work with a lot of creative and intelligent people. For a person who enjoys learning and is ready to go as far as their skills will take them, IT — and especially software development — is a great place to be. It's an ever-changing world, and it's never boring.”

Ready to advance your IT career? Earn your Master of Science in Information Technology at Grantham University. Contact us today!

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed our programs, and other important information, please visit http://www.grantham.edu/disclosures/

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