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Stemming the brain drain: Indiana students for GlobalNOC jobs

Indiana students for GlobalNOC jobs

Recently, the GlobalNOC hosted a career day for IUPUI students from the Schools of Informatics and Engineering and Technology. Three weeks prior to that event, GlobalNOC's Brandon Beale was invited to speak at an Informatics career day because a scheduled speaker backed out. His presentation was so well received—over a dozen students stayed after to learn more—that he decided to host something onsite.

"Our goals were to introduce the GlobalNOC to the IUPUI talent pool and build a long-term pipeline," says Beale. "We wanted to engage students in Computer and Information Technology (CIT), and Informatics. We already had tremendous support from the Informatics Career Office and reached out to the CIT program manager to include students in their program." Without hesitation the CIT program manager sent an email. Twenty-three students in all attended.

"The event was a success by all accounts and it would not have been so without the wonderful support of Informatics and CIT," adds Beale.

The students toured the GlobalNOC and the Data Center. Beale first described the work GlobalNOC does, then each hiring manager (Engineering, Service Desk, Systems) gave a presentation about their specific area and careers students might pursue. After the event, Beale sent a follow-up email with contact information.

"It is very likely we will hire some from that event—we already have 11 interviews scheduled," says Beale. "We saw a lot of excitement. We hear a lot about the brain drain, and this is our attempt to address that—connecting Indiana students with Indiana jobs."

John Fernkas, a junior studying informatics with a minor and specialization in business management, was one of the students who took part in the IUPUI career day. His long-term career goal is to own and operate his own IT business.

"I actually had no idea how big of an impact GlobalNOC has when it came to some of the largest and most notable research networks in the nation," says Fernkas. "When you think of a network operations center, you might think of people in a dark room staring at computer screens waiting for something to go wrong. Yes, that is part of what GlobalNOC does, but I find it fascinating that GlobalNOC is much more than that. They are a start-to-finish service provider."

Fernkas is no newcomer to servers and networking. Around the age of 15, he purchased a full-height server rack and some old servers from a local surplus shop and began tinkering with Linux, Cisco networking equipment, and file and web services. "I think I could offer my knowledge to the team and its customers while learning a thing or two about successful IT businesses along the way."

"Many of the students didn't even know about our world-class facility because we are behind locked doors," says Beale. "Even though Informatics is in the same building, they had no idea what lies on the other side. They were in awe. What we have at GlobalNOC is unique. These students have a chance to do something awesome right here in Indiana. They can't get this kind of exposure at any other university."

Beale would like to formalize a recurring semester-long internship program starting with this pool of students. This type of internship is a win-win for the student, the GlobalNOC, and retaining top talent in the state of Indiana.

"We're shifting to be more strategic with recruiting and hiring," says Beale. "We need a continual pipeline of talent with known skill sets. This effort was the beginning of that shift. We’re excited by the response that we got and look forward to furthering this initiative."