Student Story: IT Degree Leads to Career Reboot
As a systems engineer for one of the world’s leading health IT companies, Ronald Crayton supports and manages information solutions and software for healthcare clients around the world.
It’s pretty amazing, Crayton admits, given that he knew relatively little about computers several years ago.
Here’s how he got to where he is today:
Looking for a change
Six years ago, Crayton had just moved to Atlanta from New York and was working as a telemarketer. He didn’t know what he wanted to do in the long run, but he wanted a change.
"I was sick and tired of my job,” he remembered. “I was working long hours for low pay. I just felt it was time to do something."
Crayton knew IT was a growing field, and that earning a college degree would help him unlock new career opportunities. He was right – his IT degree put him in the running for some of the most in-demand jobs today, and helped him launch a successful career at a multinational corporation.
“The more I looked into it, the more I felt that IT would be a good fit for me,” Crayton said. “I liked the idea of solving problems.”
“I knew Herzing was the school for me as soon as I walked through the doors,” Crayton said. “From the admission advisors to the faculty, everyone was very friendly and welcoming. It just felt right.”
An IT career is ideal for those who, like Crayton, are drawn to working with computers and technology and enjoy troubleshooting and resolving technical problems.
“I also really liked the fact that as a student I would have the chance to work with physical hardware and software that I was learning about,” Crayton said. “Working with routers and switches and getting to test all of the different parts of a system was a huge part of my learning experience and really helped solidify the concepts I learned in class.”
A fresh start
Crayton graduated from Herzing in just three years with his bachelor’s in information technology and a concentration in security technology. He also earned his CompTIA A+ certification, which, among other industry-recognized IT certifications, is becoming a valuable differentiator for new IT professionals entering the workforce.
Shortly thereafter, he began a career as a systems administrator for a medical center in Atlanta, serving as the organization’s main point of contact for IT support needs. It wasn’t long before he was contacted on LinkedIn for another job opportunity – this time for a position at a leading health information solutions provider.
The company liked Crayton so much, they even paid for him to relocate to Kansas.
IT graduates like Crayton have the opportunity to pursue careers in a variety of industry sectors and work in many different environments, from small businesses to government agencies.
Employment for IT and computer-related professions are projected to grow by as much as 13 percent between 2016 and 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and experts predict much of the future growth in IT will be driven by a greater emphasis on cloud computing, big data and cybersecurity.
In fact, a 2017 report from the Center for Cyber Safety and Education estimated there will be a shortage of 1.8 million skilled cybersecurity workers by 2022.
Cybersecurity is a major point of concern for industries that handle sensitive data, such as financial services organizations and healthcare providers. A breach in the security of patient data, for example, could have long-lasting effects on an organization’s reputation.
That’s why professionals like Crayton are so important. On a typical day, Crayton oversees 2,000-4,000 servers, troubleshoots system issues and ensures smooth operations for healthcare providers worldwide.
“Herzing really helped change my life,” Crayton said. “Completing my bachelor’s degree helped me become well-rounded IT professional. I feel that now I have the skills and the knowledge to really make a difference.”