I didn’t have a suit; but, I wore a tie to the job fair at Talladega College. It was my junior year; and, three years earlier, I had been voted “Best Dressed” and “Most Likely to Succeed” in the Superlatives section of the Jackson-Olin High School yearbook.
The recognition by my peers didn’t mean much at the time. But now, it served as the source of confidence I needed to convince the corporate executives visiting my college that I was the right man for the job. So, I felt comfortable in my zone as I prepared to meet (for the first time) with major corporations seeking Interns to work at their respective companies over the summer.
I had taken programming and other technical courses like statistics and made “A’s.” Maybe that’s the reason, all of my other crazy antics in college were ignored and I landed the Internship with Equitable Life. The corporate office was located at 1285 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan.
I had never been to New York. The culture shock was daunting. I landed in the Information Technology department and lived on the campus of Columbia University in the all suite dorm, East Campus. And after a successful Internship and graduating from Talladega College, I was invited to come back to New York for a full time Information Technology job.
I worked on a number of low-end IT projects. I was a slow learner but held my own. As my skills progressed, I found myself providing national support to Equitable Life Insurance Agencies nationwide.
It wasn’t until I was sought and landed a job with Pepsi-Cola, a division of PepsiCo based in Westchester County, NY that I came to really appreciate the value of having Information Technology skills. The offer from Pepsi-cola was more than a 50% increase.
During my 16 year stint at PepsiCo, I managed a broad range of enterprise wide Information Technology solutions and implementations both at Pepsi-cola and Frito-Lay. I lead large teams, hired new employees, trained and coached employees, presented strategies to executives and managed budgets of up to $45 million. I go to travel the country and lived in all the major cities around the United States. I participated in diversity seminars and played key roles building a nationally diverse PepsiCo.
Over the years, a little discipline combined with relationships, the great jobs, salary increases, stock options, a retirement plan and so on positioned me to become the principal owner and CEO at DPLOYIT, Inc. a national Information Technology and Professional Services Staffing company.
Information Technology as a career options has evolved over the years. The good news is that the opportunities have been enhances and spread across a broader range. It’s so much easier to become an IT entrepreneur. Today, a single successful App could yield hundreds of thousands of dollars in residual income. Opportunities are endless; and it’s hard to know whose working overtime behind the scenes to become the next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Michael Zuckerberg.
So, Malcolm Gladwell got it right… investing 10,000 hours doing anything could make you best-in-class at that thing. Why not make that thing Information Technology. I’ve invested my 10,000 hours in Information Technology training and experience, it’s time for more of our kids to choose the technical path. In today’s IT climate, it would be hard to fail.