Alumni Profile: Cindy Barnett, Information Technology
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Meet Cindy Barnett
Majors and degrees earned: B.S. in Information Technology and Management, Point Park University; M.S. in Information Technology Management, Carnegie Mellon University
Graduation Years: B.S. in 2006; M.S. in 2010
Occupation and current employer: Information Technology Specialist, U.S. Forest Service
Hometown and current residence: Morgantown, West Virginia
How have you transferred the information technology skills you learned in the classroom to your workplace?
Nearly every course at Point Park and Carnegie Mellon enabled me to immediately apply on the job what I was learning in the classroom. In the spring of 2006, I took a course at Point Park titled “Security Issues in Information Technology.” At the time I was just starting to work on a project as an information systems security officer and soon realized that what I was learning in the classroom I could immediately leverage on that project. This course also helped to prepare me for the CompTIA Security+ certification exam and I was able to use this exam as the final elective required to complete my MCSA (Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator) certification.
Why did you choose to attend Point Park?
In order to complete my undergraduate degree, I was searching for a program where I could transfer the computer science credits I had earned at West Virginia University. I was a nontraditional student with a full-time job so the ability to finish my bachelor’s degree by attending class every Saturday for 18 months was a perfect fit for me. There were also other factors including recommendations from alumni, the strong reputation of the accelerated information technology management program, the urban campus atmosphere and the professional experience of the faculty.
How did Point Park prepare you for your graduate studies at Carnegie Mellon?
Point Park’s professors are experienced in the industry and offer academic excellence and innovation with a curriculum that focuses on both theory and practice. These classes gave me a good balance of technology and business skills which are imperative for our profession.
What was one of your favorite experiences at Point Park?
In the accelerated information technology program, you go through the program as a cohort from beginning to end. The friendship and camaraderie I established with fellow students and the opportunity to learn from such a diverse group of individuals with unique professional backgrounds was one of my favorite experiences at Point Park.
What are your future career goals?
I have just accepted a job promotion as an information security specialist with the Department of Veterans Affairs. I start this new position in early June. In my experience, success in the IT industry requires a combination of education, experience and professional certification. In a profession where change is so rapid, focusing on professional certifications as a way to keep current is a very worthwhile goal which demonstrates dedication and professional skill beyond experience alone. In the very near future, I’m planning to pursue a professional security certification such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) or Certified Information Securities Manager (CISM).
What advice do you have for students planning to pursue an information technology degree through Point Park's accelerated program?
The program is intense and there is much work to do outside of the classroom during the week. If you are prepared to make the commitment to the program, then you are likely to succeed.