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IT-oLogy partner and local Columbia IT firm VC3 has recently unveiled Cognito Forms, the first of a cloud-based family of applications, called Cognito Apps. Users can now use Cognito Forms to build and tailor customizable online forms to collect data and gain relationships with their customers.

Cognito Apps was born out of a void for affordable, yet customizable, applications for organizations, according to VC3’s Director of Development, Jamie Thomas.

“We do consulting, and have for well over a decade, and we felt there was an untapped need for this type of product,” Thomas said. “Our customers would come to us with a need, but when we looked at the market and the products available, they would only get them fifty percent of the way there.”

After noting the “ridiculously high” customization costs for available products, Thomas’ team, comprised of five developers, a testing manager, user interface manager, and IT infrastructure manager, started its development of Cognito Apps.

“Our goal was to create products that solve real problems and were easily reachable and accessible. We’re not trying to be everything, but we’re trying to be a piece of the solution by creating applications that can integrate with an organization’s existing infrastructure.”

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The VC3 Cognito team.

The concept for Cognito Apps began 3.5 years ago as a way to bring its users closer to their customers. Cognito Forms can not only be used in business, but also every day life, for instance, for a local soccer league wanting to register parents for snack duty. The app has even received the stamp of approval from Thomas’ 9-year-old son, Michael.

“I asked my son—he had never seen the product—to make a form. I didn’t tell him what to do, I had never shown it to him,” Thomas said. “Michael had recently filled out a registration form for Minecraft, and he said he wanted to do that. So he was able to sit down and build a form, and that was a good feeling for me.”

After three rounds of usability testing and countless modifications, Thomas thinks that Cognito Apps is exactly what the market needs: a product that is user-friendly, instinctual, and simple.

“If a 9-year-old can build the form, then something about it must be intuitive, and we must be doing something right.”

VC3_AIM_Logo copyFor the time being, the application is free to all customers, actively engaging and creating web forms.

In addition to Cognito Forms, the introduction to the Cognito payment platform was launched on February 24th. While testing the platform with only a handful of companies, Cognito Payments has already managed over $1 million in charges. In the next year, Thomas’ team plans to fully execute its payment offering and make it available for all organizations to try.

VC3’s plans for the immediate future are to make Cognito Forms more feature rich, adding Likert fields for surveys and a payment feature for organizations to collect payments from their customers. The team also has plans to integrate across a variety of platforms, such as WordPress, a widely used content management system. The WordPress plugin will make it even easier to create, embed and manage online forms all within your WordPress website.

To begin using Cognito Forms for free, visit https://www.cognitoforms.com, and check out the Cognito Apps blog for the newest updates http://blog.cognitoapps.com.

IT-oLogy partners interested in highlighting a new IT development can contact our Communications Assistant, Emily Lott, at communications@it-ology.org.

POSSCON 2013-770

The following post was written by IT-oLogy Columbia Executive Director, Todd Lewis.

Calling All Current and Future IT Leaders!  You’re Needed Now More Than Ever.

The longer I have worked in the information technology industry, the more I realize the importance of leadership.  It is the most important factor determining the success of a project, or any endeavor for that matter. However, I’ve noticed that strong leaders are difficult to find, in all fields, including information technology.

So with the importance of IT at an all time high (an opinion we hold here at IT-oLogy), and the need for effective IT leaders never greater, what does an organization dedicated to growing the IT pipeline and profession do?  We create a Leadership Series, of course.

I’m immensely proud to announce the 2014 IT-oLogy Leadership Series, and I encourage any current or future IT leader to strongly consider participating.  The Series will consist of the following one-day events:

South Carolina Summit on IT, April 23

summitbannerThis first event will feature IT leaders from across all industry verticals in South Carolina, including CIO’s, CTO’s, CEO’s, economic developers, state and municipal officials, elected officials at every level of government, and educators. The purpose is to discuss the state of IT in South Carolina, how IT influences every industry sector, and what we need to do moving forward to ensure South Carolina remains competitive. To register or find out more information, click here.

Connections, June 11

In partnership with Connect South Carolina, IT-oLogy is hosting Connections to showcase unique uses of technology and innovative design in a range of industries. In addition, this event serves as the annual summit for Connect South Carolina and their work that facilitates the deployment of broadband throughout South Carolina.

Trends, September 10

Along with ITs|SC, Columbia’s Insurance Technology and Services Cluster, Trends 2014 will take a forward look at current market trends for business leaders to prepare their organizations and embrace IT challenges. In addition, we will focus on Columbia’s increasingly strong insurance sector to showcase innovative examples of coming trends.

While countless books and articles have been written about leadership, I personally define leadership as the ability to influence and lead others toward a goal due to deep knowledge and experience in a particular area, combined with strong communication skills. Needless to say, all three of the aforementioned events provide that opportunity for knowledge and networking opportunities to hone your IT and industry specific IQ. In addition, your communication skills will be infinitely better when you know more, and learn how to convey it effectively by listening and learning from others.

So who’s invited to these events and who should attend?  I emphatically believe every CIO, CTO, and IT manager should as well as anyone aspiring to have influence in an organization.  As I said earlier, we desperately need more leaders in the IT field.  We need to make current leaders better, and we need to provide face-to-face opportunities for those who will lead in the future.

We’ll continue to develop and deliver K-12 programming, and we’ll continue managing CoursePower and other initiatives in higher education, but for professional development, this series could not be more important. Leadership is often the difference between success and failure, and I very much want to see Columbia and South Carolina succeed.

To contact Todd Lewis about these events or with other questions, send an email to todd.lewis@it-ology.org.

PrintColleges and universities that want to thrive in today’s changing world understand that training students in technology is crucial to prepare future leaders in business. West Texas A&M University near Amarillo, Texas has taken the initiative to develop unique programs that attract and prepare students in computer science and information technology. Led by Professor H. Paul Haiduk, the school has joined hands with IBM and its System Z mainframe academic initiative—one of only six schools in Texas participating in the program—and continues to graduate top candidates for IT positions among the nation’s largest employers.

This emphasis on IT education was showcased in February when IT-oLogy Dallas attended a career fair on campus. Students were met with a number of companies offering internships and entry-level jobs in banking, agriculture, marketing, sales, and law enforcement in the local area. However, several major IT employers also attended, including Texas Instruments, CA Technologies, BMC Software, and Fidelity Investments. IT managers from each of these companies recruited current students for summer internships and permanent employment upon graduation.

IT-oLogy’s role in career fairs across the nation, led by Teach IT Director Bethany Ferrall, allows us to be a conduit for IT students and companies seeking IT talent. At WTAMU, we spoke to over 50 IT students regarding their careers aspirations and collected their resumes to pass along to our partner companies interested in hiring interns and recent graduates. One of the principal tools in IT-oLogy’s career placement efforts is our IT Gateway, where students can upload their resumes and search for positions among our partners. A free service for students, the IT Gateway is just one more way we can advance IT talent.

Last fall IT-oLogy Dallas participated in the school’s technology summit to foster on-going conversations about the need in academia to do what WTAMU is doing so well. On April 7, 2014, the school will again highlight IT education, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the mainframe computer. WTAMU has asked IT-oLogy Dallas to speak on technology in today’s changing world at the event.

Schools like West Texas A&M University are thriving because they understand that technology drives our global economy. And preparing students to meet the future talent needs in information technology shows the kind of academic leadership that will create significant partnerships with businesses that foster economic development in cities around the world.

Winthrop-Cyber-SaturdayThe launch of the 5th location for IT—oLogy Cyber Saturday for Middle School students took place February 22nd. Winthrop University sponsors and hosts this newest Cyber Saturday.   The Greater Charlotte branch supported the effort.

After volunteering multiple times at the Cyber Saturdays held in Charlotte, Laura Fanning, AAA Carolinas, CIO, and Edward Granger, Winthrop University Computer Science major began planning the first Cyber Saturday at the Winthrop campus.

Edward engaged students from the STARS Computing Corps of Winthrop University under the supervision of Dr. Marguerite Doman, Assistant Professor of Computer Science…   STARS Corps involvement was a perfect match for the IT-oLogy Cyber Saturday.   STARS (Students & Technology in Academia, Research & Service) mission is to increase the participation of women, under-represented minorities, and persons with disabilities in computing disciplines through multi-faceted programs focusing on the influx and the progression of students from middle school through graduate school in programs that lead to computing careers.

Middle school students were introduced to HTML and CSS as they created their own web pages.   Winthrop STARS students led the teaching and provided support throughout the session.   Time went quickly and many students stayed after the session to continue their learning with the support of the STARS students.

The next Middle School Cyber Saturday at Winthrop University is scheduled for April 5th from 9 am – 12 pm.  For more information, contact Kay Read, kay.read@it-ology.org

 

PrintIT-oLogy Charlotte is planning the revival of the regional information technology Blue Diamond Awards. Veteran Blue Diamond chairs, Karen McIsaac, The Abeo Group, and Dan Royle, Ettain group, are leading the charge.

The Blue Diamond Awards were awarded annually in Charlotte for over 20 years.   After a seven year void, IT-oLogy is bringing back the awards to recognize the advancements in IT!   The awards recognizes the region in terms of IT talent and significant achievements in leveraging technology to support business innovation and growth.  Teams, individuals and scholars are recognized – so everyone can have a ‘diamond’.

You and/or your team can be recognized as a winner or finalist. You have the opportunity to network with people within your industry.  You will have some fun learning about how others are leveraging IT for their organization’s benefit or their own benefit.  You’ll be contributing to a great not for profit that is focused on developing and promoting the next generations of IT industry professionals.

For more information or to volunteer for the 2015 Blue Diamond Awards, contact Kay Read, kay.read@it-ology.org.

DSC_0460IT-oLogy is proud to be the recipient of a $25,000 grant from Time Warner Cable to fund its popular Cyber Saturday programs in Columbia, SC and Charlotte, NC.

Time Warner Cable will continue to sponsor Cyber Saturday, a program for middle and high school students focused on exploring IT. The program takes place once a month at IT-oLogy Columbia and IT-oLogy  Charlotte and introduces middle and high school students to careers in IT through hands-on projects and activities. Through Cyber Saturday, IT-oLogy will be able to reach approximately 6,000 students and parents over a one year period.

“Cyber Saturday at IT-oLogy is a perfect fit for Time Warner Cable’s Connect a Million Minds initiative and a great way to help make fun STEM programs available to so many kids in the area,” said Charlene Keys, area vice president of operations, Time Warner Cable South Carolina. “Connect a Million Minds is all about exposing students to STEM in engaging ways and we believe these programs will accomplish that and much more.”

“Time Warner Cable’s decision to become a partner in IT-oLogy allows us to multiply and magnify our efforts to reach more young students about careers in IT and at the same time further the mission of Time Warner Cable’s initiative Connect a Million Minds,” said Lonnie Emard, President of IT-oLogy. “Cyber Saturday has been a hit and their support enables us to expand the program to more underserved groups.”

The Cyber Saturday program offers students the opportunity to learn more about IT careers while engaging in hands-on activities. For more information about Cyber Saturday in Columbia and Charlotte, please visit the Events page at www.it-ology.org.

managed applications and services.  Time Warner Cable Media, the advertising arm of Time Warner Cable, offers national, regional and local companies innovative advertising solutions. More information about the services of Time Warner Cable is available at www.twc.com, www.twcbc.com and www.twcmedia.com.

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Leaders at the Dallas Innovation Center of IBM, one of IT-oLogy’s founding partners, invited IT-oLogy Dallas to showcase the latest technology during Engineering Week at two world-class science museums in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Celebrated around the world each February, Engineering Week provides an opportunity for the public to understand first-hand the significant contributions engineers make to the advancement of our world.

IBM has been a sponsor of Engineering Week in the DFW area for twenty-five years along with other major corporations like Lockheed Martin, Exxon Mobile, and Texas Instruments. Public, private, and home school groups participate in the hands-on activities in local museums where cutting-edge technology is on display with the goal to inspire more young people to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

IT-oLogy Dallas recently showcased 3D Printing and Robotics at our local Cyber Saturday event, which caught the attention of one parent who is a Distinguished Engineer and Master Inventor at IBM, Romelia Flores. With a career at IBM spanning three decades and includes more than two dozen patents, Mrs. Flores saw the excitement among students around the 3D printers during the IT-oLogy workshop and wanted to impact many more students during Engineering Week, when some 10,000 students pass through each of the two major science museums in DFW: The Perot Museum of Nature and Science and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History

With kind assistance from local IBM staffers, IT-oLogy Dallas presented a display of four 3D printers for five days at the IBM station in each museum, speaking to students, teachers, and parents about the marvel of 3D printing in education, research, and manufacturing. The excitement was non-stop and dozens of teachers signed-up to have IT-oLogy Dallas schedule speaking events at local schools.

The contribution that IBM makes on local education is a model for other technology companies who see the long-term vision to impact generations to come to meet the technology needs of the future, advancing the IT talent pipeline with young people who will become the leaders of these major enterprises that will change our world.

Shelby

The following was written by Shelby Switzer, Social Media Manager at Voterheads.

When I tell people what I do, and then answer the inevitable “What was your major in college?” I’m usually faced with exclamations of surprise, bewilderment, or just plain confusion.[1] My answer to the latter question usually garners some semblance of that response anyway, even though I always thought that Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic was a totally normal university course that anyone in their right mind would elect to take.[2] But what most people can’t seem to piece together is how I went from a degree where I learned medieval Welsh, recited Latin and Irish poetry, and studied Anglo-Saxon kings,[3] to a career that seems so deeply rooted in modern technological culture: programming.

Maybe some of the shock has to do with the century gap – most of my time in college was spent pouring over texts written a thousand years ago, and now my daily life centers around languages invented in the past few decades. I think most of the confusion, though, arises from this prevailing concept that humanities degrees cannot lead to STEM[4] careers.[5] This is utterly mistaken.

I’m not here to give my life story on how I made the “transition” from whatever “normal” humanities-major folk do and what “techies” do – whatever any of that even means – but to reflect on my experience and share how my extremely esoteric, impractical, fantastically interesting, unique, and fun humanities degree did in fact give me skills that I use on a daily basis. Skills for which I am infinitely grateful, and which are highly needed in my field.

1. Communication

I can’t even begin to stress how important this is. My communication skills were improved exponentially when I had to write three- to five-thousand-word essays every week and discuss[6] them verbally in supervisions. Now, whether I’m pitching crazy awesome apps[7] to a potential investor, or more regularly, explaining to clients why a certain feature addition just isn’t a practical use of my time or their money, I have to be able to communicate well. Contract programming is half coding, half negotiation.

But on an even more basic level, communication is key to making good software. How many times have you used a gem[8] or other program with not only poor (or nonexistent) documentation, but obtuse methods that don’t elucidate what on earth the code is trying to accomplish? When have you inherited a piece of software to hack on, only to find a similar situation, as well as a tight deadline that leaves little time for figuring out what the previous programmer intended? Computer languages are great and all, but they’re used by humans, and they need to be well-communicated.

2. The Power of Language

This brings me to my little rant on how awesome language is, and how central it is to programming. I can just see you busting out the duh face now – “Well, they’re called computer languages, dummy!” – but hear me out. My intense study of multiple dead and living languages embedded in me an innate grasp of syntax, grammar, and just general linguistic structure across incredibly different language families. When I first saw = and == in a Ruby program, I could immediately pick up on which contexts they were frequently used in (e.g. when one was declaring the value of variables and when the other was being used in conditional statements).[9] I never even read the documentation or had a real tutorial before I began taking = and == and using them (reasonably) correctly. When I first look at a piece of code, my mind starts recognizing, memorizing, and using patterns like this, so new computer language acquisition is a rather speedy (and thorough) process for me.[10]

But natural attention to linguistic structure isn’t all that my humanities degree imparted to me in this regard, but also a sheer joy in linguistic diversity and nuance. When I learned that a new array can be created by either array = [] or array = Array.new, I was freaking stoked.[11] The first is simple and quick, while the second allows for arguments to be passed into it, like Array.new(2, “baller”) (which yields [“baller”, “baller”]). Which one you choose to use entirely depends on what you feel like, or what your situation calls for – akin to how in Irish both and madra mean “dog,” but both have different connotations and would be used based on personal choice or context.[12]

3. Informed Decisions

As simple of an example as this is, choosing between [] and Array.new can only be done well through understanding the range in meaning and usage of each one. These can be learned quickly if you’re already trained in what to look for, and especially if you’re already used to the amazing flexibility, dynamics, and nuance of human languages. But my humanities degree also trained me for making good decisions on a larger scale.

The programming community is constantly discussing what are called “best practices.”[13] The medievalist community is constantly discussing whether Arthur originated in Wales, France, or Mars. I know the parallel should be obvious, but in case it’s not, let me explain. When I’m writing a paper on the origins of Arthur and I argue that there are Byzantine references in some texts that suggest the legend of Arthur started on the Continent and not in the British Isles, I really have to do my research. I have to cite scholars who agree and scholars who disagree – and assess these scholars’ credibility. I have to determine if the references were introduced at the same time the text was originally written, or if they were introduced later. I have to look at these examples of Byzantine references myself and determine if they are strong enough references, or even if they’re referring to Byzantine culture at all.

The same goes for when I’m architecting a piece of software. If I hear about some cool new programming trend, I have to do just as much research. Does this trend fit with “best practices”? Are “best practices” – which change frequently, mind you – really the best, whether overall or just within my current project? Who’s promoting the trend, who’s dissing it, and do I respect those individuals’ work?

If I’m considering using a gem in my application, I need to read the gem’s code to see if it was even done well before I blindly just plug it into my program. I want to see who made it, who uses it (if possible), if it’s being maintained, and if it can really fit within the scope of my project. It’s so irritating to start using a gem without doing enough research and end up ditching it (and having to do clean-up) because it wasn’t suitable or was poorly crafted.

Long hours of research, meticulous citation, and argumentative writing taught me how to immediately approach making decisions based on critical thinking and strong research and evaluation, as well as the ability to change my decisions in light of new evidence or compelling arguments. These skills are essential when both coding and designing software. It keeps you from just hopping on the latest code-wagon and helps you argue your case when talking to your team about the decisions you’re making – which also goes back to the importance of communication.

4. Making the Pieces Fit Together

One of the things I only realized recently about myself as a programmer, and really as a person, is that I’m good at keeping the big picture in mind. You could account this to my personality type,[14] my zodiac sign,[15] or whatever, but I think a lot of it has to do with my humanities degree.[16] Why? Because of having to write 15,000 word essays that are at least somewhat coherent! All those paragraphs and arguments you make and block quotes you use[17] have to be tied back into your original thesis: everything must be relevant. So when I’m writing an application, I’m very aware of all my models, objects, controllers, views, partials, etc, and constantly thinking about how they piece together and work towards a specific feature’s, or the whole app’s, goal. Not saying I don’t forget things, but I do find myself frequently asking teammates how something is going to play with an object or feature they have forgotten about. I believe I learned a lot of this behavior from writing extensive essays, pulling together every corner of knowledge I have to fit into arguments, and trying to keep my structure coherent, cohesive, and concise – all three alliterative adjectives which I think apply to good programming.

Writing essays, conducting research, learning other languages, having to defend and communicate a position verbally and in writing, are all key components of humanities curricula that can help make better coders, technologists, careerists, people, dogs, anacondas — you name it. I’m not saying that I’m a perfect programmer, or even a great one, but I do think that my humanities degree prepared me pretty darned well for this life of code I’ve stumbled upon.[18]


[1]          Not to mention the occasional marriage proposal from Tolkien nerds.

[2]          I still think that way – I’ve just come to realize that most people aren’t in their right mind.

[3]            And often dressed up like them.

[4]           Read: “successful.”

[5]            Which I think stems from an even more prevalent, and in my mind more troubling, idea that the primary purpose of degrees is to prepare you for a career.

[6]   i.e. defend; i.e. try not to look like an idiot.

[7]   Shameless self-promotion: http://www.voterheads.com/

[8]   Which is essentially a plug-in in the Ruby programming language.

[9]   See how I just used those great grammatical terms in a newbie observation about code?

[10] And similarly, I imagine, for others who already know one computer language. Furthermore, it’s enormously easier than acquiring new human languages. That’s why I find programmers who call themselves “polyglots” intolerably pretentious. I mean really, a rough equivalent of = and == in Irish Gaelic could be and bheadh. I’d like to see a so-called coder polyglot pronounce those words, let alone immediately understand the difference based on context.

[11] Okay, maybe that’s a mild exaggeration. I definitely thought it was super cool though.

[12] This is sort of a simplistic semantic example, but if you’d like to hear my nerdier, more technically parallel examples between Ruby and Irish word choices, get in touch and we’ll geek out together.

[13] This is especially true for those of us who use RubyOnRails, with its cult of DHH versus the rebellious factions vying for fame and glory.

[14] Which would probably get about 0 matches on OKCupid.

[15] Capricorn, by the way. Yes, that means I’m coming after you, Aquarius.

[16] If you can’t tell, I think my humanities degree was absolutely amazing, worth every penny, and great preparation for life as a human in general.

[17] To try to reach the word count minimum, until you realize that quotes aren’t counted in the official word count.

[18] Like that internety reference? I’m so clever.

POSSCON 2013-770The following blog post was written by IT-oLogy Columbia Executive Director Todd Lewis.
As Executive director of the Columbia IT-oLogy office I regularly meet people in the Information Technology field from all over the Midlands as well as the State of SC, and I am constantly amazed at the world-class talent and ideas we have here.  After 10 months of these meetings and conversations one thing has become crystal clear – people need to get together, share their great ideas, observations and issues, and formulate a plan as to how we collectively address IT moving forward as a state.
The reason for this is twofold:

- Information technology is driving innovation and impacting job creation across all sectors of our economy.  Currently more than 67,000 people across South Carolina are employed in a technology-related occupation at an average salary of $64,693, and the numbers of these jobs and their economic impact will only increase in the future.

- South Carolina MUST remain competitive in this area if our economy is to remain strong and grow.  Whether we realize it or not, other states recognize the importance of IT and are doing everything possible to stay a step ahead.

I am happy to announce that on April 23 that event will take place in Columbia at IT-oLogy headquarters.  Called The Summit on Information Technology, the purpose of this day long event is to inform and educate attendees about what’s currently being done across the state (establish benchmarks), to gather input from attendees in various industry verticals, and to exchange ideas.  The ultimate goal is the Summit will serve as the starting point of a comprehensive strategy in which stakeholders from across the state work together and collaborate moving forward.

The target audience will be IT leaders across all industry verticals, elected officials at all levels, as well as economic development officials from local and state organizations.  Specifically, that includes CTOs, CIOs, CEOs, IT Directors, and IT decision makers of all types in education, state and municipal government, manufacturing, healthcare, professional services, banking, and entrepreneurship (the start-up community).

Finally, we will tackle important questions. Is South Carolina competitive on a national and regional level? What incentives and innovations are being implemented here and elsewhere and what best practices should we pursue? How does IT impact economic development? What are we doing to stay competitive with an educated workforce? What role does public policy play in making us a progressive and more IT/business friendly state?
I sincerely hope all IT-oLogy partners recognize the importance of this event and decide to participate.  Information technology is in everything we do, every business we run and every job we pursue in 2014 and beyond.  Will we in the Midlands and in South Carolina be at the forefront or will we merely react and fall behind others?  The choice truly is ours.
Find out more information on the Summit by visiting the IT-oLogy website.

Dan Wright Picture

The following guest post was written by Dan Wright of Unitrends.

My name is Dan Wright and I have an IT story to tell. My journey into the IT world has been full of great memories, hardships, and risks. All of these worked together for my good and landed me a fulltime job at one of the fastest growing IT companies in South Carolina.

The University of South Carolina has an Integrated Information Technology (iIT) B.S degree which focuses on the applied understanding of IT with a business perspective. I discovered this degree while attending Midlands Technical College and soon realized this opportunity would change my life. I stepped out in good faith knowing that taking the risk of uncertainty for the future would someday pay off.  Spending the last two years of my education at USC showed me what I needed to improve and how to achieve that. A class that impacted me the most was the HRSM 301 Professional Development Seminar. This course is given to all students in the College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sports Management at USC. HRSM 301 focuses on improving your resume, interview skills, professional dress, and networking skills. Attending this class pulled me out of my fears to be myself in any environment. It also transitioned directly into my desire to obtain an internship at a local IT firm. With these skills I pressed forward to achieve my professional goals.

A requirement of the iIT program at USC is a 400 hour internship course. I had access to many resources that placed me on the right path of finding an internship, one of which was the S.E.T fair hosted by USC. During my visit to the S.E.T. fair I connected with the IT Corporate Recruiter from Unitrends. I accepted an internship opportunity at Unitrends during my last semester at USC.

Unitrends provides an All-In-One disaster backup solution, and our passion is to give a peace of mind backup solution that is reliable, easy to use and simple to place in any IT environment. Immediately after my arrival at Unitrends this passion of providing support to those in need became very clear. My job was to ensure the highest quality of customer support to those who had need. Over the last year I have embraced the Unitrends Support culture, which has not only changed my way of working, but also transitioned to how I treat others in my daily life. Unitrends has been a great place for an intern to learn and I have grown my knowledge of the IT world. After serving my 400 hour internship I was asked to join the Unitrends Support Team full-time, and I am now continuing the Unitrends support culture of ensuring the highest quality of customer support.

My education at the University of South Carolina played a large part in my opportunity at Unitrends, but I would be leaving out an important piece if I did not mention IT-oLogy. The iIT program at USC can be found housed at the IT-oLogy offices on Gervais Street. This partnership allows for the growth of local IT talent within and extending beyond the university. IT-oLogy also provided me the opportunity to follow up with the IT Corporate Recruiter shortly after the S.E.T fair at their own IT-focused career fair for professionals and students. This last meeting solidified my interview with Unitrends, leading to my internship and eventually fulltime employment. I believe in the cause IT-oLogy stands for in producing local IT talent to a world that is in drastic need.

My IT story is a journey that is still in progress. There have been valleys and peaks, but I know they are all for my benefit. My experience at USC and with Unitrends and IT-oLogy have strengthened my IT skills and prepared me for the rest of my career in IT. If you take one thing from this post, step out in good faith and know that the opportunities and risks taken can and will pay off. Be a strong and courageous future IT professional!