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Ilya Yakovlev graduated from UW-Superior in 1997 with a major in Computer Information Systems and a minor in Accounting. Having a strong interest in computer technologies from a young age, Yakovlev made the decision to continue the pursuit of this passion in his professional career. At UW-Superior he had a job working with the Technology Service Department, and he used that experience to later earn himself a position as the Computer Center Director at St. Cloud State University, located in St. Cloud, MN.
UW-Superior was a great stepping stone for Yakovlev on his career path. He credits his professors, specifically Drs. Trudeau, Reichert, and Jordan, for guiding him to realize where his passions could take him. Even though he knew he wanted to work with computer technology, there are many different directions that he could have gone in to apply his interests. With the help of his professors, he came to realize that, "it is important…to learn what it is that you really enjoy doing at every stage of your career."
Not only did the professors provide him with great support, but it was also through the university that he was able to gain hands-on experience in his field. Yakovlev managed to find work within the Technology Services Department as a student employee. His talents and dedication in the field did not go unnoticed, and Yakovlev eventually received his first full time job working at UW-Superior. He started off employed as a computer programmer, but his consistent, hard work brought him to the next level and introduced him to a position as a supervisor in the department.
After working at UW-Superior, Yakovlev made a slight shift in his focus and took on his current position working as the Computer Center Director at St. Cloud State University. This job requires him to manage the tech department at the college and provide computer support to the university staff. Not only does his job include working with technology, but Yakovlev is also responsible for working with monetary issues such as preparing contracts and working with the budget for the department.
According to Yakovlev, one of the highlights of the job is implementing new technologies into the university system. He enjoys the satisfaction that comes from being able to help other people use the innovations to their benefit. The hardest aspect to his job, however, is working through the meticulous process of getting things done properly. Yakovlev comments, "With management, there is a lot of bureaucracy and red tape that must be overcome."
In today's world, if you do not keep up with technology, you will quickly be left behind. This is why Yakovlev makes sure to stay up to date with the newest technologies; he knows that he cannot get too comfortable with something new, since there is a good chance it will continue to develop into something bigger, better, or potentially very different than the original product. Yakovlev explains, "Ipads (version 1) and Wiis were all the rage just a couple of ago. Today they are old news." Knowing this information, Yakovlev understands the importance of being able to learn new things quickly.
Many people are looking to find a career that has strong job security. Since technology is a part of a booming field that will continue to grow as time goes on, the jobs which correlate to this field will continue to stay in demand. However, Yakovlev realizes the potential for some of these jobs to be outsourced. In order to help secure a job, Yakovlev recommends developing strong social skills, since they are not as easily replaced as technical skills.
Although having a thorough knowledge in technology is a necessity for a job in this type of field, communication is the main quality that will help applicants to gain recognition. Speaking from experience, Yakovlev shares, "Communication skills are everything in this field. Learn to write, speak, and to listen well. Offer training sessions, teach an adjunct class, do whatever it takes to be comfortable in front of large and small groups."
Even though it may not seem relevant to the field, Yakovlev also encourages those who are looking into working with technology to either double major or minor in an area that deals with more than just computers. This not only proves one's ability to learn different things, but it can also show off one's abilities to communicate with different people and on different subject levels. It also keeps the doors open to other job opportunities, since Yakovlev understands that one's interests may change over time.
Ilya Yakovlev was interviewed as a part of the Career Services Day in the Life project. His full interview and those of other UW-Superior alumni can be found on the Day in the Life website, http://www.uwsuper.edu/career/students/a-day-in-the-life.cfm.
Interview conducted by Tashina Martinson on March 13, 2012. Article written by Kristen Jasperson.
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