His network isn’t social, it’s professional

Photo by Peter JakubowskiRobb Krasnow, UWM December 2010 Grad

Robb Krasnow

Robb Krasnow can network: Computers, mostly, like the 5,000 PCs and 100 network switches he supports as a technology intern at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). Employed through Tushaus Computer Services, Krasnow has balanced a part-time IT career with his School of Information Studies (SOIS) coursework for the last 18 months.

Even as he earned a 4.0 GPA in the school’s Information Science & Technology bachelor’s program (BSIST), Krasnow is working on his Cisco CCENT/CCNA and CompTIA A+ certifications (he received his CompTIA Network+ certification in May 2009). His early years at UWM offered some surprises, so he’s not taking any chances as he plans his career path.

“I felt like I was a kid in a candy store looking at the course offerings in the program.”

First he was an architecture major, but his interest in big construction projects didn’t connect with the modeling work he was doing in introductory architecture courses. He learned a lot during his two years as a computer science major, but says he found the coursework more challenging than it was fascinating – and he wanted to love his work.

“That major had some of what I wanted, but I realized I was more interested in working and building connections on a larger scale – networking – than I was in computer programming.”

Krasnow headed to the UWM Career Development Center. Senior Counselor Linda Walker referred the confused junior to the School of Information Studies BSIST major.

“I felt like I was a kid in a candy store looking at the course offerings in that program. The networking side of computers, plus Web design work, made that program music to my ears.”

After a few months in SOIS, Krasnow earned an internship with Tushaus Computer Services. Job-shadowing and completing help tickets took up his first few months. Ready for bigger challenges, he says he “showed an interest in anything.” He followed his colleagues on jobs throughout the Medical College of Wisconsin, eventually taking on a key role in a college-wide printer migration project.

“I couldn’t do this kind of work all day, then come to campus for a 5:30 lecture, if I wasn’t thrilled to be doing this,” Krasnow says.

He even does it at home, syncing his 2TB media server with surround sound and video streaming to his television to watch training modules for his extracurricular certifications. A sophisticated home entertainment system is a good way, adds Krasnow, to indulge in hip hop and R&B – his preferred musical genres.

With his UWM degree, two years of IT experience and certifications, Krasnow plans to expand his network to the West Coast. Mountain View, Calif., to be precise.

For a recent phone interview with administrators of Google’s two-year IT master’s program, Krasnow dressed in a suit and tie and laid out his résumé, work samples and admission materials on his kitchen table.

Borrowing language he picked up through counseling sessions at the Career Development Center, Krasnow says he didn’t make it into the program this time but did make some strong connections he can call upon when he reapplies for admission in 2011.

For now, he’s pursuing a position with IBM in Dubuque, Iowa, working at Tushaus, searching for graduate schools, and planning a life outside of college that involves international travel, teaching technology to kids (he once was a camp counselor) and, maybe, a side project in music.

“I hope at some point to sing, rap, perform, DJ. I can work a party,” he adds.