One of the most exciting and wide-ranging careers in today’s workforce is one in information technology. With technology always advancing and being the driving force behind all of today’s modern equipment for work and pleasure, many young individuals are setting their educational goals on attaining a degree in the I.T. field. While the majority of these folks will be awarded bachelor’s degrees from universities, many other advanced options are available, providing for a varied and lucrative employment landscape.

Brian Kelley has been the chief information officer with Portage County Information Technology Services, located southeast of Detroit, for the last 21 years. He earned his master of public administration degree from Kent State University and he has completed the Certified Government Chief Information Officer Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2012, he was selected as one of the “Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers in Public Sector Innovation” by Government Technology Magazine.

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Brian Kelley, chief information officer, Portage County Information Technology Services (photo courtesy of Brian Kelley)

Brian Kelley, chief information officer, Portage County Information Technology Services (photo courtesy of Brian Kelley)

What was the one thing you learned in school that proved to be vital in your current role?

“The most relevant aspect of my education and training was combining what I learned in the classroom with practical experience while working in college and through internship opportunities. One vital takeaway from my education that makes each workday easier is understanding the complexity of government, politics and service delivery to citizens.”

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After graduation, how hard was it to transition into the actual working world?

“My transition from college to the working world was smooth and enjoyable. I found a job well suited to my skills, talents and education. I started my present day job more than 22 years ago only two days after graduating from college.”

What advice do you have for someone starting out in the I.T. field?

“If I could go back, I would definitely seize every opportunity to learn, network and apply those things taught in the classroom while I was in college. For those seeking careers in my position, I would encourage you to take advantage of every opportunity for education, networking and practical experience to build and enhance your career portfolio.”

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

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