Accidentally in IT
By Ethan Horst
Jacob Barros never intended to go into the IT field. He started at Grace as a music major, switched to counseling after two years, then the semester before he was supposed to graduate, he picked up a bunch of music classes. When he started at Grace, the only computers on campus were in a computer lab in room 110 of Philathea. He worked as an interpreter between the computer lab technician and people needing assistance and two weeks before he was supposed to graduate, he accepted a full-time position working in IT, when the lab tech moved on. He continued this trend for most of his career, moving up in the department as the people ahead of him moved on; he was trained by them and applied for their jobs when they became available until he reached his current position, associate director of information technology. His current position oversees the user assistance employees and student workers as well as working on the network.
His favorite position was when he worked as the network security administrator. He was able to create much of the campus network infrastructure from scratch. He does not claim to be an expert, but says that he “knows enough to be dangerous.” He works closely with vendors and partners at other universities, and most of his department’s successes or failures come from using methods that have already been industry-tested.
The most fulfilling part of his job is accomplishing what the department has with the resources that are available. They have seven full-time staff, four of whom work completely behind the scenes, and Grace is a big campus with many areas that need technical assistance. However, despite the myriad demands on his time, he gets satisfaction from seeing things come together.
His top priority for moving forward is to develop his current staff and their capabilities. The more they can do, the more he can better focus on areas that need his expertise. A close second behind that is improving the Wi-Fi, which needs a redesign to function better.