Q&A with an Undergraduate IT Major Student
Can you please tell us a little bit about your life on campus?
I live in the dorms, which means I have classes in the same building where I live. That was actually one of the reasons I chose Roosevelt University. And I honestly love it. The dorms are very nice. It definitely boils down to getting along with your roommates and your suitemates. We built a real friendship within the walls. There are four of us, two and two in each room. Our schedules do not conflict too much. Everybody is quite happy. What is interesting - all three of my roommates are international students: one guy from Hong Kong and twins from the UK.
At first we had cultural barriers but then we found a common ground and things we could relate to. We are into the same music. We like sports. We like shoes. I am into music; I produce as well. One day we were just hanging out together and I pulled out my laptop and there was specific software they use as well, and they noticed it in my computer. Eventually, we ended up building a major friendship after that.
Why did you choose an IT major if you are so into music?
Two reasons specifically. One - I was always good with technology. When I was a kid and the Internet went down at the house, I would be the one to call NetGear and look at the modem and figure out what were the issues. I have always been good with computers. And the second reason is kind of an ode to my stepfather. He passed away on my high school graduation day and he was the chief staff director for the Information Technology at the City Colleges of Chicago. My original plan was to be an associate at Harold Washington College and take his job after him. But once he passed away I had to change the whole plan. I applied to all these city schools. And there was something about Roosevelt that attracted me the most.
On top of that, the music industry is going more digital now than it’s ever been. So, it gives me an advantage. Beat making software, audio engineering side - it is done with computer’s help now, so knowing how to maneuver and use them is extremely important.
What is the difference between Computer Science major and IT major?
Computer Science majors are the ones who program, who make the applications on your phone, while the IT guys install software on the devices and show people how to use them in a proper way. There is a lot more that goes with it but that’s my explanation in a simple way.
Do you have any friends who are Computer Science majors and do you think that your school programs are quite different?
IT majors have to take two programming classes: Computer Science 1 and Computer Science 2. I specifically think that IT majors should only be able to take Computer Science 1 because in the majority of the work that we do I don’t think that we are going to be programming as much as actual CS majors. In a Computer Science 2 class we are learning a lot of detailed computer science stuff that will not be used in my future job. But on the other hand, they will respect you more at a work place if you can speak their language when it comes to computers.
What inspired you to choose Information Technology as a major?
I would say music for sure. Because knowing the IT aspect I can get together with a visual team and figure out how my lightning would be for my show, or the pictures or PowerPoint behind it. And again, going back to my stepfather, he couldn’t properly work using iPad but had a very nice paying job in IT. I think it’s more about character than anything else.
What is your plan after you graduate?
I do have an internship for the summer so hopefully that goes well. I will be doing some IT work for Blue Cross Blue Shield. One of my mentors recommended me to this company, I sent my resume over, and they interviewed me. The interview was actually very tough but I guess they liked what I said so they gave me a call and I got the offer. Blue Cross Blue Shield also has a hire on program which means if the company likes you and your work, they reserve a spot for you when you get out of school, so hopefully everything goes well and they offer me a full-time position. But if that falls through I will just start to apply here and there, do more internships and see what comes. I would come back for a Masters if a company offers me a sponsorship. I really want to be in the music industry but there is no harm in seeing what corporate America is all about, and again build more connections.
What are the advantages of studying in Chicago, basically in the heart of the city?
Everything is here. The companies are right here. For example, if any of my friends who go to school in Wisconsin got the same offer I did, they would have to make the trip to go to the office. All the corporate buildings are here; all the connections are here. I have everything I need here and see no reasons to leave.
How would you describe Roosevelt University?
It is strictly a place to work and study. It is not a party school. But it is Chicago, so you always can find something to do.
What has been your favorite class and professor so far and why?
English class with Professor Vincent Francone is definitely my favorite one. The intro to Sociology was also amazing with Professor Stephanie Farmer. There was a lot of things I didn’t know until I took that class. The African American studies was also very interesting. As you can see all these courses are outside of my major. Subjects I had no previous experience with before are probably the ones I took away from the most.
Do you have friends who are international students?
I have made more international friends this semester than ever before. I am meeting more international students at my core classes, and I also live with three international students who introduce me to their international friends, so the circle gets bigger.
Why is it important to have a diverse group of classmates from different backgrounds and countries?
It is very important I think. It is important to get different perspectives. And you never know what every person will end up doing in the future. You meet those people only in school but outside of it they might have connections that you actually could use and vice versa.
Why do you think it is important to study IT?
The world needs technology. This is just who we are right now. I think we are going to a point when everything will have a robotic component. Now we are at the point when they are trying to get autonomous vehicles on the streets. And that’s amazing. Every field soon will need IT education. For example, one of my good friends who goes to Notre Dame is an Accounting major, and they urged them to take a coding class. Technology is needed because it is everywhere.
If not IT what other major would you go for?
I would have been an English major because I like to write. I am creative. I can easily write a 4-5-page paper for a class and get not less than a B. But honestly, IT is what I want to do right now. Let’s see what the future will bring.