Clayton Nygaard

Computer and Information Technology '14
Storage Engineer for USAA

What factors led you to pursue your current career?

I have had a lifelong interest in computers and technology in general. The NET curriculum within the CIT department solidified my interest in becoming a network engineer. The hands on nature of the NET labs provide a good look at types of tasks that IT professionals do on a daily basis, and the variety of courses help determine which areas to specialize in.

What project are you currently working on?

USAA is currently going through a large lifecycle management effort, replacing old aging storage arrays, and slower switch linecards, with newer arrays and linecards to support the growing business. I am overseeing all day-to-day work on the SAN switches, and coordinating the switch portion of this lifecycle upgrade. I've had the ability to practice some development skills as well, making a C# application to automate zone creation for servers on our fibre channel switches.

Did you participate in internships?

I interned at Allstate Insurance company the summer before Junior year, on their Storage Infrastructure team. I also interned at USAA the summer before my senior year, in their Applied Research and Innovation group. Both internships provided me with a great introduction to corporate America, and large-scale IT shops.

What advice would you give to current or prospective CIT students?

Go to class! Seriously. Especially your CIT ones. Interact with your professors outside of class during office hours, or if they are around during lab time. They are a great resource and they care about you doing well! A lot of them have a good sense of humor too! Internships are essential. Being able to have 2 internships on my resume made the senior year Computer Roundtable a breeze, in terms of getting interviews with various companies. Get involved with on-campus job opportunities.   The wide variety of skills I learned in networking courses, UNIX and system administration courses, and wireless courses gave a great foundation for my career and helped reinforce that I made the right choice picking CIT.  You will get opportunities for class project with real world applications. Take advantage of all of the resources Purdue has to offer. The four years go by way faster than you can imagine, and you will miss them when you look back on them, so be sure to make the most of it!