Putting Technical Abilities to the Test - Interview with Alexander Auraha
Before graduating in December 2021 with his degree in computer science and certificate in cybersecurity, Alexander Auraha completed three information technology internships over the course of one year as a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. From June 2020 to August 2021, Alexander took the opportunity to work closely with local organizations, Modine, Jockey International, and SC Johnson. Assisting with a variety of technological issues and projects, Alexander developed his passion to work in informational technology.
Alexander was first encouraged by his father and brother to pursue his career in IT because of the increasing demand and growth in the field. To be distinguished from potential competition after graduating, Alexander needed to gain IT experience. The opportunity arose for Alexander to meet a diverse panel of employers at Parkside’s Fall 2019 Career Fair.
“[…] at the career fair, not only is there my field, but there’s other companies that I can find my field within their company […] The only thing that separates [other students] is the work experience.”
When starting his first internship in IT Operations at Modine, located in Racine, Wisconsin, Alexander felt a sense of pressure of not performing at the same level as everyone. During his six months with the manufacturing company, Alexander managed basic IT support of password resets, help desk ticket organizing, account creations, and deletions. He was quickly reassured that his knowledge and work ethic was the same as his team’s.
After having the experience at Modine under his belt, Alexander next accepted the internship position of Information Security at Jockey International, Inc., in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Alexander worked with more help desk issues and even took on the responsibility of his supervisor’s incomplete project that was created when they were an intern.
Finally, working in Racine, Wisconsin with SC Johnson, Alexander worked independently for three months as an Information Technology Intern to code and implement an application that will be used across all departments. Throughout this internship, Alexander led informational meetings and presentations with upper management. When working with members of high seniority, Alexander developed keen professional communication skills to efficiently collaborate with a diverse set of individuals.
“[SC Johnson] felt like a career, […] everything I learned [at Parkside] actually went into play in a professional setting.”
Over the year spent at the three locations, Alexander was able to strengthen soft skills, implement ideas, apply critical thinking strategies, and ask questions to help gain a better understanding of his objectives.
“If you can confidently say ‘I don’t know, but I am willing to learn,’ [employers] are going to love that attitude.”
Alexander built his professional network through opportunities he found at the Internship and Career Fair. The Spring 2022 fair will be held on April 13, 2022, from 3-7 p.m. at Carthage College. Registration is required through Handshake. In addition, students can check out other internship and employment opportunities through listed resources on Parkside’s Advising and Career Center webpage.