Sarina Gaines

Sarina GainesName
Sarina Gaines

Hometown
Wildwood, MO

Why did you choose to attend Mizzou for the IT program?
I chose to attend Mizzou because I wanted to be near home yet far enough away that I could be on my own. I was originally pursuing a degree in computer science, however, after my first year, I realized that the IT program would be best suited for me. When I first enrolled at Mizzou, all I knew was that I enjoyed programming. After speaking with my advisor and looking into the IT program, I realized that through this program, I could still take plenty of coding classes, but I could also learn about networking, cybersecurity, software engineering and more while omitting the more theoretical computer science courses that didn’t really interest me. I felt there was more freedom in the classes I could choose. Additionally, I felt I would be more in control of my learning. I would be able to tailor my course selections towards specific fields in Information Technology that I hoped to make a career out of. I get excited picking new classes each semester, I am interested in what I am learning, and I do not think I could have obtained such a learning experience through any other program.

Tell us about your educational experiences.
My educational experience through the IT program has been fantastic. I enjoy nearly every class I take, especially the technical electives. I have had some amazing professors who are incredibly knowledgeable, put so much effort in the material they teach and are encouraging to their students. This has motivated me to do well and really enhanced my learning experience. The TAs have always been a great help and whenever I feel like I cannot make it through an assignment, they are there to guide me and fill the gaps in my understanding of the subject. Additionally, the flexibility of the program has allowed me to pursue minors in Computer Science and Business as well as a Cybersecurity Certificate. I feel that my educational experiences have really prepared me for starting a career.

Where will you (or do you hope to) work after graduation? How has the IT program prepared you?
After graduation, I hope to work as a software developer, particularly in Java or web development. However, I am interested in so many different disciplines that I really would not mind working anywhere in the field of Information Technology. The IT program has allowed me to build foundational knowledge that is needed when beginning a career. I feel with this foundation, there are many doors open to me after graduation. When interviewing for internships and post-graduation positions, I am ready for the technical questions and I have the skills required for the position because of what I have studied through the IT program.

Did you have an internship or other opportunities during your time at Mizzou?
Unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to go through with an internship. I obtained a software engineering internship with Enterprise Holdings, Inc. for the summer of 2020. However, the internship was canceled due to COVID-19. I have had the chance to work in tech support for the University’s IT department for the past 3 years and find that the assistance I provide to customers often compliments and reinforces what I have learned in class.

Would you recommend the IT program and if so, what would you tell prospective students about the program?
I would definitely recommend the IT program! There is such a variety of courses to choose from that it is impossible to not find one that interest you, every semester is one to look forward. When I first started at Mizzou the future seemed obscure and I was not sure how I could ever be qualified for a technical career. However, nearing graduation, I feel confident in my skills and knowledge and know that I am prepared to take on a job in the field of Information Technology.

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