Digital Support Specialist, Capital One Financial Corp., Goochland, VA
- Southampton High School, Southampton County Public Schools
- CTE studies: Business Administration
- Additional studies: Bachelor of Science in Information and Computer Technology with
a concentration in Security and Information Systems and a minor in Business Administration, East Carolina University
Safeguarding financial applications
by Jessica Sabbath
From the time she was young, Elizabeth Grady remembers playing with gadgets and pulling her mother’s computer apart. “I wouldn’t even have to read manuals,” says Elizabeth. “I could just figure it out.”
She knew that she wanted a career working with computers. “I always knew I was going to go into the technology field,” says Elizabeth. “Even before high school, I had my mind set on it.”
Today Elizabeth is a digital support specialist with Capital One Financial in Richmond. She is responsible for helping support and monitor the banking and credit card company’s 20 computer applications. This means she ensures the systems are working properly, including Capital One’s mobile applications, web- site, and online banking and credit card system.
The team she works for provides support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Elizabeth enjoys the fast-paced nature of her job and the importance of her team’s roles. “We have a lot of urgency when we need to fix a problem,” says Elizabeth. “If people can’t make payments, that’s revenue loss for the company. We look to see what the customers’ experience is and whether they are being negatively impacted. I get bored very easily, so the fact that my job is different every day is something that I really like.”
Elizabeth graduated from East Carolina University with a job already lined up at the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., where she worked for four years before beginning work at Capital One.
She attributes her easy transition into the workforce to the internships she completed during college, including stints at technology departments at Astyra, International Paper, and A Wireless.“In my field an internship is definitely important,” says Elizabeth. “It helped me to stand out from someone else who is trying to get a job, because I already had that hands-on experience.”
Workday Design Manager, Johnson & Johnson, New York
- Salem High School, Virginia Beach City Public Schools
- CTE studies: Keyboarding I and II; Design, Multimedia, and Web Technologies; Advanced Computer Information Systems; Business Management
- Additional studies: Bachelor of Science in Business Information Technology, Virginia Tech; certifications in SAP HCM Management and Administration I & II, Workday, Management Reporting Certification from Cornell University, and Microsoft Office Specialist
Doing what IT takes
by Veronica Garabelli
Imagine being responsible for a human resources system used by one of the largest companies in the U.S.
That’s what Brian Tajo is tasked with doing at Johnson & Johnson, a company with 134,000 employees.
Brian designs a system using Workday and teaches Johnson & Johnson employees how to use it. The system helps managers plan bonuses, manage performance ratings, and track employee skills. Brian’s favorite part of his job is the building and design aspect of it.
“When I was young I liked to play with Legos and build a lot of things,” he says. The fact that he can still do that in a way “is really interesting to me.”
While Brian started building skills for his future career before he was even aware of it, his father’s advice also played a big role.
“Happiness and wealth is measured by the options a person has,” his father told him. That mantra led him to pick Business Information Technology as a major in college, because he thought it would provide him with the most opportunities.
In college, Brian gained experience by landing internships in his field at CACI Inc., Norfolk Southern, and Freddie Mac. Senior year, Brian was offered a job at IBM, where he stayed for four years until he switched to consulting and eventually started working at John-son & Johnson.
He credits the skills he learned in his high school CTE classes with helping him acquire those initial intern-ships. An Advanced Computer Information Systems class, for example, helped him earn the Microsoft Office Specialist certification.
“Those kinds of skill sets, at the time when I was getting internships, were really in demand,” he says.
Technician, Bedford County Public Schools
- Liberty High School/ Bedford Science and Technology Center, Bedford County Public Schools
- CTE studies: Computer Systems Technology; three Microsoft Technology Associate certifications
- Additional studies: CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications
Finding solutions: the I.T. guy
by Veronica Garabelli
They say the proof is in the pudding, but if you want a career in information technology, the proof is in certifications. So says Dillon Underwood, a field technician for the five elementary schools in Bedford County Public Schools’ Liberty Zone district.
“That’s really going to get your foot in the door. It’s going to say I know what I’m talking about, and I like doing this,” says Dillon. “Certifications are the most important thing you can do to get into I.T.”
The approach has worked for Dillon, who landed a job shortly after high school in the school district he attended. As a field technician, Dillon provides information technology support for computers, printers, and projectors.
During his last two years in high school, Dillon received four I.T. certifications while taking Computer Systems Technology at Bedford Science and Technology Center. While the class taught Dillon the basics of I.T., such as how to configure routers and install Microsoft Windows, it also showed him how to deal with customers, work orders, and workloads.
Since starting his job, Dillon has continued to stack his credentials. His employer recently paid for his ComptTIA Network+ certification, which proves his skills as a network technician. Dillon says he’ll probably work toward the CompTIA Security+ certification next. “That focuses more on security and how to protect a network, how to defend one,” Dillon says.
The aspect he enjoys most about his job is that it’s always changing. “You never know what someone is going to ask you about, whether it’s going to be a day full of kind of standard questions like, ‘My printer is not printing’ … or whether it’s going to be a huge issue that is going to take you four hours to figure out like a puzzle.”
As far as what the future holds, Dillon knows one thing for sure. “I definitely am going to stay in this field,” he says. His ultimate goal is to become a network administrator.
The Career Clusters logo and its extensions are the property of the National Career Technical Foundation, as managed by NASDCTEc. Some content on this page is from the publication, R U College & Career Ready? - 2017 Edition; and is used here with permission from the Virginia Business Publications LLC and Trailblazers in the Demographics and Workforce Section of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.