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Six Takeaways From Talking to an IT professional

A pre-med student interested in being a surgeon suddenly changes her career focus and realize that IT can help just as many people as medicine, but how?

The National Convergence Technology Center (CTC) manages a video series entitled “A Day in the Life” in which IT technicians and executives offer students their perspectives on the IT workplace. The hope is that hearing directly from a successful IT worker (rather than their professor) in a video interview may deliver a stronger, lasting impact on students.

The latest subject of “A Day in the Life” is Leslie Hansen, Client Executive for VMware who works with educational institutions to provide cloud infrastructure and support VMware applications.


Leslie Hansen/VMware


Below are six quotes from Leslie’s interview that might make an impact on IT students when considering the reality of entering the IT workforce. Click here to watch Leslie’s interview in full. The YouTube description offers a “table of contents” index with timestamps if you’re interested in specific questions.

  • You have to be a visionary of sorts in technology today to be able to say “Where is the industry and where is it going and where do I fit in?” That’s not always something that’s taught in class.  But it’s something that the best of the best can do, they can have that foresight and then that agility to actually be able to pivot…  You’re in class and you’re learning about things that are applicable today.  You have to understand how to take what you are learning and what you know and scale it out and project it and forecast it. 
  • I think with technical skills, a little bit of repetition, especially in IT, and most people pick up on concepts really quickly.  You got it, you’re good, you’re ready to move on. But soft skills take a lot of practice. Repeated practice.
  • I never expected to be in IT.  I thought I’d be a surgeon at this point in my life.  So just the fact that I’m in IT still kind of blows my mind… There’s so much that I can do within tech. I wanted to be a doctor because I wanted to do good for people. I can do good with tech.  I can do good in my role.
  • You can’t do anything in life without listening and understanding where people are coming from… If I come in and say “You know how you’ve been doing networking for twenty years? We’re not doing that anymore.  You need to either get on board or get out of the way.” I can’t do that… If they say “We’re good,” I have to understand what are they really saying and why?  So, a lot of that is the emotional intelligence that comes from having good listening skills and good communication skills to effectively be able to say to them – in a way that they hear and they receive – I’m not trying to disrupt you and tell you that you don’t have value anymore. 
  • Don’t be afraid.  Just go after it.  Tech is so much fun.  I think a lot of people think of it as stuffy or boring.  It’s 1s and 0s.  It’s all of that, but it’s so much more.  I have a lot of fun in my role in my job at my company and just with people in the industry period.  It feels good to be on this train.
  • I think you have to be a constant learner.  You can’t ever – especially nowadays with the pace of technology – you can’t ever just say “Wow, I’ve mastered this.” 
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