Networking and Business Smarts Add up for Computer Information Systems Students

My internship gave me the chance to prove my worth and learn new skills; it allowed me to be in the right place at the right time.

Computer Information Systems (CIS) students Amber Snow and Donald Dean have multiple qualities in common. Both students came to Ferris State University as transfer students, they are currently seniors in the CIS program, and are interning at Ferris State University’s Enterprise and Application Services (EAS) department.

Ferris’s CIS program integrates information technology, computer programming, system design, and a business foundation to provide students with a well-rounded degree. “I have interest in both Business and Information Systems. You get a taste of both aspects in this program,” says Dean.

The EAS department works on a variety of informational systems and technology servers that support university students, faculty, and staff. Both students work within the department, but their job responsibilities are quite different. Dean works with “maintaining the applications that are in use” and “the ticketing system which IT uses to track work orders.”

Snow works upstream of application users, “coding in SQL and WebFOCUS languages.” As an intern, she’s learned, “Getting your foot in the door is half the battle, and professional networking is so important! It doesn’t matter what you know, it’s who you know. Take time to maintain a professional image.”

This mentality has led Snow to expand her internship into a full-time position! Four undergraduate classes separate Snow from a Ferris State University diploma and a position in the university’s Applications Department as an Application Analyst, an accomplishment she credits to her networking skills.

“My internship gave me the chance to prove my worth and learn new skills; it allowed me to be in the right place at the right time,” Snow says. “When I started interning I got the chance to meet important people and learn the systems, which made me valuable to the company. When they were hiring, I had an edge because I knew the system and people.”

Dean agrees that networking skills and a sense of confidence are essential to succeed in the industry. He recommends that other students seeking computer degrees at Ferris join the Association for Information Technology Professionals (AITP) to breakout of their comfort zones: “It has helped me network with others.”