What are a couple of your favorite things about your program of study?
There are so many different avenues you can take to end up in a career you love! Technology is everywhere, and not only do I like to use it, but figuring out how to apply it to specific situations to produce innovative products is a great skill. My program of study requires me to explore areas outside of the computing world, so I can apply the things I am learning in class to environments other than computer labs or server rooms. One of my passions is theatre and television production, which you might not immediately associate with Computer and Information Technology. Still, I am able to take classes in production and do research with professors on the implementation of technology in these settings using the skills that I am learning in my technology courses. CIT teaches you skills that you can take and apply to any industry in pursuit of your dream career.
What has been one of your favorite class projects?
My favorite class project so far was a group project for my "Systems Analysis and Design Methods" course. My group was motivated, and I was able to collaborate with other people in my department and also meet new people. We analyzed a case-study about a franchise chain store and its inventory management processes. Our job was to design a more efficient and reliable technology infrastructure that could automate some of these processes and scale as the company grew. The company also wanted to implement a new eCommerce platform to reach more customers. At the end of the semester, we had a fully functional prototype that could be implemented into the organization, and I had experience in developing a large-scale system for a growing corporation. We learned about AGILE development methods, industry-standard software, and organizational structures in class that we were able to use in our project to keep it on schedule and under budget. It exposed us to the process of systems development in a real-world situation.
What other activities are you involved in on campus?
I am a member of the Association of Information Technology Professionals, a club that helps with internships, resumes, career fairs, and so much more to shape students into workforce-ready professionals. I am also a member of the Purdue Dance Marathon "Productions" committee. We take pictures, record video, and create promotional content for the largest student-run organization on campus (it's also REALLY fun and supports a great cause!). Additionally, I am a member of the Purdue Swim Club. Joining intramural sports or club sports is such a great way to make friends on campus (and the "Freshman 15" is REAL, so it's a great way to stay active). I also do research with a professor in the theatre department on ways to apply technology in theatrical settings. It's super interesting, and it has led me to explore possible career options in a similar field.
What do you know about your program of study now that you wish someone had told you when you were choosing a major?
It's okay not to have everything figured out! Sometimes there seems to be a lot of pressure to have the next ten years of your life planned out by the time you're applying to schools, but nothing needs to be set in stone. College is a great place to figure out what you like and what you don't like, and it's okay if your idea of a "dream career" changes as you go along. CIT provides you with different classes that will expose you to so many aspects of the technology world. It's easy to narrow down what you want to do in the future by just seeing what classes and projects you enjoy. Even if you are confident in your career choice, you might take a class that you absolutely love and change your career goals because of it.
What would be one piece of advice for prospective students or new Purdue students?
I would tell prospective students to visit campus (especially when it's warm)! I don't know how to describe it entirely, but when you are visiting schools, you can sense the "vibe" on campus and evaluate whether you see yourself there in the future. Ask your tour guides about their personal experiences and how they found community at the university. You'll get to hear first-hand what it's like to be a full-time student! It was one of the main reasons I chose Purdue! Academics are important, but you are also living here for the next four years, so you want to make sure campus life sounds like something you'll enjoy! Also, make sure you take a look at the plan of study for whatever major you are considering at every college. Do the courses line up with the skills you want to learn? Do you get hands-on right away? Is that further down the line? Is it not there at all (this is a big red flag!)
What made you decide to choose your specific major?
When I joined my high school Radio/TV class, I loved the technology involved. Still, my favorite part was taking people's ideas and making them come to life. I thought I wanted to pursue a career in television, but I decided to take a Computer Science class. I soon realized it was everything I loved about creating, except it used the logic my brain understood. I spent the next summer teaching myself code and developing an app for "The DOG Radio", my school's new radio station (available now on iPhone and Android). The real-life experience with lawyers, IT professionals, and administrative teams, along with my teacher's focus on career pathways, allowed me to see a future for myself in technology but also showed me that I enjoy a hands-on/head-first style of learning. After visiting Purdue, I realized the Polytechnic school and the Computer and Information Technology major were perfect fits for me because of the hands-on approach to instruction in technology. Students develop functioning prototypes and work on real projects that directly apply the skills they are learning in the classroom. There's a reason big companies are hiring Polytechnic students: they come out of school with real experience on top of a degree from one of the top IT programs in the country.