Jon Hurley and a colleague at a recent My Life! My Plan! session
July 19, 2017
Written by Jonathan Hurley, Senior Network Engineer, Baird
My road to a career in IT and joining IT United is something I love to share with the students I interact with during the annual IT United Technology Career Fair and My Life! My Plan! sessions.
I grew up in Waterloo, Wisconsin where my interest in computers first started. My parents started a small computer store in Waterloo in 1998 and I watched my school transition from ancient IBM PS2 25’s to real Windows PCs. The more I learned about computers the more I knew I wanted to work with them. My school’s technology administrator was thankfully very welcoming of my interest and constant questions, and encouraged me to keep exploring.
My IT career started in the United States Air Force in 2002. I began as a Satellite Communications Systems Controller for the Air Force Satellite Control Network for the 50th Space Communications Squadron at Schriever AFB in Colorado. After a couple of years I was deployed to Doha, Qatar as a Server Administrator for Central Command Headquarters providing support for both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. My Air Force enlistment ended in 2006. Back home in Wisconsin, I worked in several IT positions with FISERV and got my Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology. For the past three years, I’ve worked with Baird, most recently as a Senior Network Engineer.
Baird has a company culture that has a strong focus on giving back to the community through supporting contributions and volunteer efforts. When I received an email from Greg Treichel, Baird’s Director of Project Services and member of the IT United Council, about the IT United Career Fair, I jumped at the chance to be a volunteer.
What surprised me most about the Career Fair was the number of students representing the schools. Each and every table was nearly full. At every table there was, without fail, one student who was very interested in either the technology or the career path or both. This led to discussions about the use of real-world IT careers, which allowed me to share my story and passion with the students.
The My Life! My Plan! counseling sessions were a change from the career fair as I found myself sitting with students at their schools. Most of the students at my table already showed a great interest towards a college education and career, but I was surprised by how many students had not yet considered how IT can be applied to so many different career fields.
My favorite part of the My Life! My Plan! sessions was goal planning with the students. Nearly all the students had some goals started, and I helped them adjust so their goals were specific and measurable.
I’ve reached a point in my career path where I often find myself doing more teaching and knowledge-sharing. I’ve participated in on-boarding of new employees, interns, as well as participating in mentorship programs as both mentee and a mentor. I’d like to share with young people that the field of IT has many opportunities that are challenging, rewarding, and applicable to nearly every industry.
You may see me around Milwaukee in the summer as I continue volunteering for Baird Gives Back program, which coordinates variety of volunteer opportunities in the local community. In addition, I am a proud member of the PATRIOT associate resource group at Baird. My passion is IT, and now that I’ve discovered IT United, I’m looking forward to participating in future events.
Are you an IT Professional looking to share your passion to impact local students? Learn more about IT United.
Already a member? Save the date for IT United’s Member Connect event on September 6th. Learn more and register.