Chief Technical Architect and Head of Product Management at Resicap David Fraser shared his industry experience with Kennesaw State students at a Lunch and Learn event Tuesday, March 10, in the Burruss Building. The interactive event was organized by KSU’s Women in Technology organization, the Department of Information Systems and the Association of Information Systems.
Fraser has over 20 years of information technology industry experience which he used in his talk titled, “What I Wish I Knew Starting Out — Confessions of an IT Industry Insider.” The presentation covered the pros and cons of working for startups as well as recognized brands, jobs available in the IT industry and personal tips on advancing in the IT world.
Students can use the internship hiring process to their advantage by realizing that hiring managers want a guaranteed outcome when they hire fresh graduates, Fraser said. It is in the hiring manager’s best interests for the students to succeed in the internship.
“I asked Fraser about what he looked for in companies before joining them,” junior information systems major Bruno Cubas said. “I was pleasantly surprised when Fraser advised us to ask tough questions about where the executive leadership sees IT development going and such.”
Fraser also said that students should not underestimate the value of building a professional network. Networking can land students their next job, provided their personal brand is also competitive.
Another aspect of building a personal brand involves developing an impressive digital persona, Fraser said. He provided useful tips, such as posting functional projects on the software development site GitHub, answering questions on well-known forums and producing meaningful presentations online. Fraser said students should make sure that their online work is sharp and make the effort to polish their resumes.
“Sometimes, it is recommended to delete all past social media accounts or make the online interactions private,” Fraser said. “A clean slate online will ensure that hiring managers do not find out personal biases about students before they have been screened or interviewed.”
One insider trick that Fraser shared with the audience was that when people look for significant jumps in their career, they should be willing to accept bigger titles at smaller companies. Fraser said that by accepting big portfolios in a smaller company for a few years, the bigger and more well-known brands will eventually come looking to hire such employees. This happens because the hiring managers know that the prospective employee can handle big roles.
“When I listened to what Fraser had to teach us as students I was motivated to do well in my classes,” senior marketing major Pamela Diaz said. “I heard the professional struggles that Fraser faced in his own career. He talked about the hardest jump he had to make from an IT trainer’s role to a developer’s role in order to support his family. That was tough.”
Fraser has worked in a multitude of IT roles throughout his 20 year-long career such as senior instructor, senior developer, senior principal software engineer and IT lead for Oracle, InterContinental Hotels Group and numerous startups.
“It is exciting to be part of a movement where students get the opportunity to hear about real-life scenarios before entering a corporate environment,” senior information systems major and President of Women in Technology Emily Onofrey said. “Building a community here at KSU is so important and it is great to see students taking advantage of these opportunities.”