My journey through the IT program

Melissa Kessler Class of 2008, Consulting Analyst, Accenture - Milwaukee

When I transferred into Marquette's School of Business Administration at the beginning of my junior year, I was unsure of what I wanted to major in. I knew that the creative part of me would enjoy a major in Marketing but also knew I needed another major. I had thought about Real Estate, but soon found out that I was unable to take any classes toward the major until my senior year. This seemed too late for a major I was only considering. I started fall 2006 taking numerous introductory courses: accounting, marketing, information technology, and human resources. These courses were all pertinent to making my decision of what to add as my second major. I considered accounting, IT, and HR all at different times and weighed my options and by the end of the semester, I made my final decision.

When I registered for Introduction to Information Technology, a friend told me to take Professor Ow. She told me that the course was difficult, but I would enjoy the professor. I took her advice and registered for his class. His introductory course is definitely one the hardest, but his students come out with a different understanding and appreciation of IT. While I had my ups and downs with the course, my favorite part, the part that convinced me to become an IT major, was the project we had to complete.

I went into the class with very little knowledge of software and systems design. I had not even heard of Microsoft Access. However, I came out of the course with a very extensive knowledge of how systems work and how to create a database with Access. We were assigned a semester-long group project to create a MS Access database for a non-profit organization. My group worked with the Aurora Sinai Sexual Assault Treatment Center (SATC) to implement a database that would keep track of all patient data in order to produce reports that would help them acquire grants from the government.

We were required to create a feasible database that the SATC could actually use. While two other groups were working for the SATC, we had the desire to create the system that SATC would choose. For about two weeks at the end of the semester, we worked day and night on our project and with the help of Professor Ow; we completed a database that the SATC would end up implementing in their department. As we completed our final project and presentation, I decided that I enjoyed the hands-on, project work required of an IT major and that this was what I wanted to do. I went and spoke with Professor Ow about what to take the following semester and enrolled in Program Development and Project Management with Mr Rau and Professor Adya.

Project Management and Program Development reaffirmed my decision to become an IT major. I continued to enjoy the project work that all IT courses demand as well as learning about the systems we used. Project management allowed me the chance to manage a project in India and learn about how to work with virtual teams as well as off-shoring. This class also gave me a chance to speak in front of a panel of employers that provide funding for grants for the IT department. I have never been a great public speaker, but have found comfort in speaking in front of groups about systems I have helped build or projects that I have completed hands-on. While I enjoyed coding and putting the pieces together to create a program, program development provided me with a greater respect and appreciation for engineers and computer science majors.

As I continue working toward my degree, I have taken database course and am now taking Web Applications and the Systems Analysis and Design courses. The IT curriculum has provided me with extensive knowledge of a variety of areas within the field. I know that there are many different ways to take my career and enjoy the fast-paced, constant change that defines the industry. I know through these courses, I have grown and learned how to succeed. Upon graduating, I will be working for Accenture as a consulting analyst and know that the IT curriculum and professors have prepared me extensively for this career choice.