High Tech: Take 5 with Shikander Hoque, IBM Award Winner
"Technology is Changing the Way Lives are Lived"
1) How did you become interested in technology and when did you know this would be your career path?
I became interested in technology while I was an undergraduate economics student at ShahJalal University of Science and Technology in Bangladesh. In my second semester, I took Introduction to Computer Application as a first elective course. I enjoyed it and realized that computers and evolving technology are changing the way lives are lived. I also took another elective course, database management and programming for social sciences. This course also made me realize that in the future, database systems will be widely used by many sectors, especially finance and telecommunications. I felt that my interests in technology and database systems would greatly help me achieve professional success.
When I moved to the United States, I found the Graduate School of Technology (GST) at Touro, which offered a Master of Science degree in Information systems with a concentration in database systems. While I successfully completed my “bridge” prerequisite courses related to database systems, I confirmed I was on the right track in my career path. I’m now on pace to graduate in May 2018.
2) What is the IBM Academic Initiative and how has it furthered your interest in the field?
The IBM Academic Initiative program partners with academic institutions worldwide to build a pipeline of skilled students for the IT jobs of tomorrow. It introduces the mainframe world (z Systems) to students at colleges and universities around the globe. The company supplies teaching materials, curricula, and virtual access to z Systems machines so students can get real experience. At Touro, for example, the Graduate School of Technology teaches mainframe courses such as DB2 Systems Administration I and DB2 System Administration II as an elective course in information systems.
The IBM Academic Initiative has furthered my interest in the field. It will allow academic members to identify my internship and job potential. Joining a company as an intern builds my experience and gives me the opportunity to work hands on in a professional environment. It will help me find new job opportunities since I know employers are much more likely to hire someone with internships and work experience in the field.
3) What does the IBM Scholarship recognize?
The scholarship was awarded to top technology students who expressed a desire for a career in the mainframe world (z-Systems). Students needed to demonstrate an understanding and aptitude for z-Systems and a desire to grow professionally in the z-Systems world. The professors at GST encouraged me to apply for this scholarship and I was thrilled to be one of five students nationwide who received it.
4) What are your career plans? What type of setting do you see yourself working in?
Right now, I am working as a Traffic Enforcement Agent in the New York City Police Department. After completing my masters in information systems, my plan is to work as a Database Administrator in any government agency. I am excited to utilize my knowledge and performance in enterprise systems.
My goal is to be responsible for working with project managers and end users in developing technology solutions for business needs. I enjoy working with people who are committed to moving the needle and who are passionate about their work. I like to work in an environment where productivity is high, and the employees have a sense of commitment.
5) How has Touro helped prepare you for the workplace?
First, an M.S. degree in information systems with concentration in database systems is designed to enhance my technical skills. GST faculty members are committed to teaching excellence, as reflected in their comprehensive and engaging curriculum. Touro GST professors are eager to share their years of hands on experience and real world knowledge in the classroom. In addition, the career services director is an experienced professional who develops and sustain relationships with employers, connecting them with students and helping us pursue our career path.