This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with top-echelon and renowned professionals. In this blog, I interview Kevin Dicken: Microsoft Career Factor Idol Winner – in the category as The Student. Kevin will also be at TechEd as a Career Factor Idol.
Kevin is a college senior studying Management Information Systems at DBU in Dallas, TX. He grew up as a technology enthusiast and found his niche for helping those around him with their computer problems. As he moves towards graduation, he hopes to work as a business analyst for a large technology or security company. His ideal career would allow him to act as a liaison between tech staff and managers.
Technology is just one of his interests. He also likes to work out, play sports, and be sociable. He also likes to work with his hands and build things, ranging from working on old cars to refurbishing used cell phones.
In the last two years, Kevin has traveled to Africa and China on excursions arranged by DBU and his church. During these trips, he has identified his highest priorities as his family and his Christian beliefs.
To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link
Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic
Kevin, thank you for coming in today to share your insights and experiences with the audience.
"....Thank you so much for asking me to be here...."
What triggered your interest in technology and in applying for Career Factor?
"....I found myself pretty interested in it because of it being talked about so much on some of the technology blogs that were available...."
Can you describe your personal experiences for the challenges and process leading up to, winning, and after winning Career Factor?
"....Leading up to Career Factor, I was in my second to last semester in college....I had recently started blogging and things like that so I was keeping my eye on things like blogs, Twitter, and Facebook (any form of social media), and it really helped me get involved and stay plugged in with what's new. That's kind of how I found out about Career Factor...."
What did your friends say about all this?
"....I had to create a balance there. I really had to manage my Friends list and my output of messages that I send out. I needed to make sure they are streamlined to the right people and at the same time make sure the output and things that I talk about are genuine and still natural to me...."
What was the reaction of your professors when you were selected as a Career Factor Idol?
"....As far as Career Factor goes they are really seeing that as an opportunity to watch as a student goes through to the corporate world. There's that huge gap when you are going from college to the corporate world where you've got to become a professional. That takes a lot of practice and a lot of research as well...."
How does social media accentuate what you are doing in Career Factor?
"....Social media is actually huge because not only does it give people a means to field what's going on and what's trending, but it's also a way to communicate with employers and fellow IT people in the world and basically collaborate...."
What is more exciting about your current college work?
"....Currently with college there is a lot of push toward that senior year and getting ready to go from college to the corporate world...."
How did you get to this point in your budding career?
"....This last year I've been working in the computer lab on campus. I have used that as a stepping stone to get more involved with IT support and develop technical skills and troubleshooting. That's a huge way to not only get involved with the skills needed, but also with the people who are in the IT department...."
What are your future career aspirations? Why are you passionate about being a business analyst?
"....Being a business analyst to me is an opportunity to be that liaison between the executives and the tech people...."
What drives your passion for Microsoft and Microsoft technology solutions?
"....Microsoft technologies – I've seen a lot of growth lately. They've had a lot of competition to push them to drive harder. With Windows 7 it's going to be my first certification with Microsoft....Starting there as a base I can see that technology can push me to their other technology...."
What are your tips, lessons, and best resources for those wanting a career in computing?
"....I suggest not just staying where you are (for example, say you like web development), but to branch out with others who are good in other areas...."
Why does certification fit into your career plan?
"....When it comes to certification, those are basically the small milestones, getting certified and getting put above any other people in the interview process with you. Your resume will definitely stand out if you do that...."
In all that you do, what are the biggest challenges and their solutions?
"....In general – the market is coming up from a downturn so a lot of people with plenty of experience are also looking for jobs. If you are a recent graduate you are completing with those people in the industry....With Career Factor – keeping up with blogging and keeping studying time a priority...."
Provide your predictions of future IT trends and their implications/opportunities.
"....Cloud computing and software as a service are growing markets right now...."
Can you share some additional stories (something surprising, unexpected, amazing, or humorous) from your studies, work, or time with Career Factor?
"....One of the things that I've started to learn at Career Factor is I might not know what I'm going to do because I only have one IT job experience, but I know I will be okay once I graduate. I know there are jobs out there and I will find something...."
If you were doing this interview, what 3 questions would you ask and then what would be your answers?
"....What kinds of jobs have you looked at now?....What opportunities have you seen out there that you've applied for or have looked at?....Where do you see yourself in 5 years or 10 years?...."
You've alluded to this already so what lessons have you learned from your recent travels?
"....Just realizing what we are blessed with may be different than what other people are blessed with and it's not necessarily good or bad, but as we come together as a global economy, learning to use each others strengths is huge...."