RYAN KRISTJANSON - INFO. SYSTEMS

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INFORMATION

SYSTEMS



Information Systems Today

What is the role of information systems in a typical business?

" It is huge! HP used to have the motto, “The Network is the computer.” And that is how it is more and more every day. I am constantly remote-desktoping. You are dependant of the information infrastructure."

                                                                                                  -Brad Beaton (IS mentor)- 



What are the projections for jobs in information systems of the next few years and beyond?

"Depends on what country you are in. A lot of information technology is being out sourced, India mostly."

                                                                                                  -Brad Beaton (IS mentor)- 

What are the key trends, developments, and challenges?

"You constantly have the threat of viruses, Trojan horses, and stuff getting on your network. So, I think that IT has people that worry about that all the time – security. There is a group that is dedicated to making sure that websites visited [within the company]are appropriate to business. So, even if I were to go to something that could be good, like YouTube or something like that, [the company] blocks it – blocks that which is not business related. There is enough stuff there that is not business related they are not going to let you get there.

And then there are those that are trying to increase bandwidth so that people can transfer data more and more effectively and quickly.

Our telephone system several years ago was converted over to a voice over IP – a digital system. So you could actually plug your computer into your telephone. NCR did that, I think AT&T was pushing them, because we used to be owned by AT&T"

                                                                                                  -Brad Beaton (IS mentor)- 

What are the opportunites for career growth?

"We do not hire very much. So, you have got to be very good at what you do. You are not going to come out of a school with a “C” average in Computer Science and get a job. It ain’t gonna happen. You got to distinguish yourself.

Three or four years ago, we had a meeting where the Engineering Management told us that they could hire four-year degreed Computer Science Engineers for $3,000 a year. Now, for a guy who is making $90,000 you think about the fact that they could hire 30 engineers for the same wage they are paying me. And at some point you [think], “Golly, it would seem like 30 engineers could get more done than I could!” And what would make that not true is if I had some special something that differentiated me. And what is true in software engineering is true in Information technology. You got to be on your game, you got to be sharp, if you come out as a Mr. Average that is not going to fly. This is a global competition – it is a global competition! You are not just competing with the person that graduated from the schools around you, you are competing with the people who are graduating in India, Pakistan, Philippines, China, and all over the world! And a lot of those people might be about as sharp and willing to work for much, much less."

                                                                                                  -Brad Beaton (IS mentor)- 




Key Information System Terms

Network: When a number of of computers are connected together. This is used to the end of sharing data, hardware, software, etc...

Server: A device, computer, or software that store information regarding multiple users. It is also used to maintain file/data transfer throughout a network.

Database: A collection of information, tables, and other records. Typically databases are maintained by software or servers.

Internet: A large itnernational network of computer networks, designed for sharing of information globally.

World Wide Web: The information system containing infinite number of documents accessed by a browser.

Firewall: Used to prevent security breaches within a network. Consisting of either software, hardware, or both, it is designed to protect valuable information of a network.

ERP: Or Enterprise Resource Planning, is a program that maintains many automatable components of a company: human resources, payroll, supply chain, etc...

CRM: Or Customer Relationship Management, covers all interactions of the company and its clients/customers - typically regarding sales, etc...

Bandwidth: The amount, measurement, or rate of how quickly information may be transmitted via a network or internet connection.


Information Systems Careers

1. Chief technology officer (CTO)

2. Director of information technology

3. Project managers

4. Computer programmer

5. Computer software engineer

6. Computer systems analyst

7. Computer database administrator

8. Computer systems design

10. Data processing


INFORMATION SYSTEMS MENTOR:

BRAD BEATON
Software engineer for NCR
Atlanta, GA
 
Interview:

Q: What is the role of information systems in a typical business?
 
A: "It is huge! HP used to have the motto, “The Network is the computer.” And that is how it is more and more every day. I am constantly remote-desktoping. You are dependant of the information infrastructure. "


Q: What are the projections for jobs in information systems of the next few years and beyond? 

A: "Depends on what country you are in. A lot of information technology is being out sourced, India mostly."


Q: What are the key trends, developments, and challenges?

A: "You constantly have the threat of viruses, Trojan horses, and stuff getting on your network. So, I think that IT has people that worry about that all the time – security. There is a group that is dedicated to making sure that websites visited [within the company]are appropriate to business. So, even if I were to go to something that could be good, like YouTube or something like that, [the company] blocks it – blocks that which is not business related. There is enough stuff there that is not business related they are not going to let you get there."

        Q: So they are used to promote the efficiency of the employee?

A: "Absolutely! That’s what it is all about.

"And then there are those that are trying to increase bandwidth so that people can transfer data more and more effectively and quickly.

"Our telephone system several years ago was converted over to a voice over IP – a digital system. So you could actually plug your computer into your telephone. NCR did that, I think AT&T was pushing them, because we used to be owned by AT&T"


Q: What are the opportunites for career growth?

A: "We do not hire very much. So, you have got to be very good at what you do. You are not going to come out of a school with a “C” average in Computer Science and get a job. It ain’t gonna happen. You got to distinguish yourself.

"Three or four years ago, we had a meeting where the Engineering Management told us that they could hire four-year degreed Computer Science Engineers for $3,000 a year. Now, for a guy who is making $90,000 you think about the fact that they could hire 30 engineers for the same wage they are paying me. And at some point you [think], “Golly, it would seem like 30 engineers could get more done than I could!” And what would make that not true is if I had some special something that differentiated me. And what is true in software engineering is true in Information technology. You got to be on your game, you got to be sharp, if you come out as a Mr. Average that is not going to fly. This is a global competition – it is a global competition! You are not just competing with the person that graduated from the schools around you, you are competing with the people who are graduating in India, Pakistan, Philippines, China, and all over the world! And a lot of those people might be about as sharp and willing to work for much, much less."


Q: What are your projections for this type of work? Is it stable, growing, declining?


A: "The availability worldwide is growing; demand worldwide is growing. However, it is growing very slowly in America. I would guess that in NCR we have almost as much attrition as we do new hires.

"I would say with respect to software engineers and Information Technology, even in our own building, there used to be a big group of people that did Information Technology, and I think there is one person left that comes in two or three days a week out of that big group of people.
And the rest of it is mostly done out of India. People will take control of my desktop, from India, and fix problems on my PC. The past ten to twelve problems I’ve had recently, people in India would take control of my desktop and would fix the problem – from India!"



Q: How long have you been with NCR? 

A: "Over 20 years. I started in ’85 - going on 23 years now."


Q: How did you get invovled in this work?

A: "I tell you, I had a friend of mine at church who worked at NCR – I had good grades, I had a 3.4 or 3.5. He hired me as an intern in the summer, that turned into the next summer as well, and then through the year, they hired me part time and when I graduated they hire me full time.

"My job has changed drastically. My degree was actually in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and it would hold true for people in Information Technology, the many, many opportunities [that take you] different directions. I have changed major job functions every two to three years in NCR. So you got to be prepared to learn. The question is 'how fast do you learn? How fast do you grow? How well do you keep up with current trends?' "


Q: What was your training and background?

A: "I got a four year degree and I went to work for NCR. At that time, NCR was happy, happy to pay for any training that was even remotely related to the job you did at NCR. I got a Master Degree at great expense to NCR, which probably cost NCR ~$30,000.  I got very good instruction. NCR does not have that program anymore. They have become very, very stingy - most companies have.

"NCR used to have this thing called Nation Technological University which was a consortium with really top notch universities throughout the country, and they would beam the classes over satellite. And there was a lady in NCR whose job was to record classes for the engineers who were taking classes from NTU. That was one of her main functions of her job. She was like the secretary of the people getting the Master Degrees. Ha! That is so far from where they are today buddy! They don’t do that anymore. To be fair, they have been doing a decent job getting online courses needed available for people to take, it is called NCR University. But you can imagine that that is a fraction, a tiny fraction, of the cost of what they used to incur."


Q: What’s a typical day like for you or someone in a similar position?

A: "It is interesting. I have to keep my eye on [my job] late at night and early in the morning. So they don’t mind if I come in late, cause they know I’ll be working on it late at night. There are different job environments [out there]. We used to have really nice cubicles – spacious. That’s all gone by the way. [Now] we work in very tiny cubicles."


Q: What do you like most about your work? What do you like least?
A: "What I like most about my job is that it is fairly flexible. What I dislike most about it is that I have to worry about it when I wake up in the morning and before I got to sleep at night.  And, another thing that I dislike is the global competition, which I think you just about find that in anything you do."


Resources

 http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos258.htm