Andrew Lively, an Information Technology student at the University of Cincinnati, is on track to graduate in the spring of 2016 just like any other second-semester junior. Lively, however, is earning his bachelor’s degree and already has a full-time position secured for when he graduates, thanks to his paid work experience in the field as a student.
Lively originally decided to attend the University of Cincinnati for its Computer Engineering program. He had some previous experience in computer programming and writing software before entering UC through classes he took in high school and instruction from his father, who is an IT consultant. In his junior year of high school, Lively was an IT consultant for a company in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, where he gained some basic work experience helping to find solutions to their IT needs. He did have a few bumps on his road to success, though.
Andrew took an AP computer science course in high school and did not perform well on the year-end test. Also, once he started taking classes in the engineering program, he realized he wanted to take a slightly different path in his studies. He transferred into the IT program in the College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services to pursue his love of computer science, but also to gain a background in communication and business.
“Computer science and engineering are too theoretical for me. Typically, you are the person who sits behind-the-scenes writing the code and software. I want to help people utilize the programs already created, while also writing my own,” Andrew explains.
He did not allow any of his setbacks to stop him in his pursuit of a job he loves, and has since shown what he is truly capable of by maintaining a 3.391 GPA while keeping up with his hectic and difficult schedule.
As an IT student, Lively has gained paid work experience at the IT Solutions Center (ITSC) on UC’s campus through the co-op program CECH offers. The co-op allows students to alternate semesters of working professionally and taking classes at UC in order to provide them with a solid base of experience and professional development.
The IT Solutions Center is a business through UC that works with clients both inside and outside of the University to assist in all of their technology needs, like creating apps, websites, and coding. The majority of the employees of the ITSC are UC IT students, which gives them invaluable work experience while being students. At the IT Solutions Center, Andrew did so well they recently hired him on for a full-time position, which he will keep after graduation. He works on development and support for the applications they create, but also provides training for new student workers and also does some project management. He plans to pursue his Master’s degree in IT after graduating, and is looking into getting a Ph.D. as well.
One of the biggest projects Andrew has worked on at the ITSC is “ConnectedAfield,” a mobile application system with a little over 8,000 users that has an Android and iOS app, cloud backend, and location-based advertisement platform. Two clients came to the Solutions Center one day with an idea for the mobile app and asked the Solutions Center to develop it. It combines seven different features, including weather and regulations into one app that provides hunters and fishers the information they need in order to be successful. Lively has been the lead developer on the project since it started and has developed most of the system.
Andrew has a few pieces of advice for prospective students interested in the IT program at UC. “Be prepared to learn outside of the classroom. In the field of Information Technology, the platforms and technology are constantly changing; as often as every few weeks. To truly succeed as an IT professional, you have to be able to teach yourself and stay on top of all the changes in technologies. UC gives you the tools to learn new programs on your own, but you must be your own boss and keep up with the pace.”