In Detroit, a city that once relied only on age-old, time-tested industry, information technology has found a new, burgeoning home. The opportunities for small businesses to take root in the growing metropolises of downtown and midtown has brought in an entirely new core of young talent — much of whom are highly educated within the expanding field of technology.
for Duo Security, an authentication and mobile security startup. He has worked professionally within a wide range of technology areas including Linux architecture, information security and web development. He has also earned a bachelor of science degree in networking and IT administration as well as a master of science degree in technology studies.
After graduation, how hard was it to transition into the working world?
“I was very fortunate to find a wonderful full-time position with the University of Michigan during my last semester of undergraduate education. During my years as an undergrad at Eastern Michigan University, I did a good deal of part-time and contract work within various realms of information technology, including working on campus for four years. Those efforts, I believe, allowed me to have the real-life experience and resume needed to gain that employment so quickly.”
What is the most relevant aspect of your education that applies to your day-to-day job?
“During my work in graduate school, I was fortunate to have a class on the topic of business continuity and disaster recovery. This class…helped to educate me on a set of topics that would provide important foundational knowledge for many business and technical conversations. In six years of college, these sorts of valuable courses were quite regular, luckily.”
How important is a solid education within your field?
“Education has always been a nice-to-have for information technology careers, especially information security which is my specialization. However, many universities are starting to provide more rigorous and well-rounded curriculum in this area, providing students with a degree and the knowledge to succeed. More education is rarely a bad thing, even for IT, however management jobs definitely hinge more often on higher education. Personal efforts for information security, whether by research or visiting with technical groups, can certainly help students gain a foothold early.”
Do you have any advice for someone just starting out?
“The experiences you can gain in person with classes, even ones not related to your career, can be transformative. A collegiate experience cannot be replaced and I’d highly encourage high school students to seriously consider going. Beyond that, take public speaking and writing courses as they will do wonders for your career outlook.”
Michael Ferro is freelance writer and a graduate of Michigan State University where he majored in Creative Writing and received the Jim Cash Creative Writing Award. Born and bred in Detroit, he currently resides in Ypsilanti Township. Additional writing can be found at Examiner.com.