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IT Alumni Keep Networks Reliable During Pandemic

Who keeps Milwaukee networks functioning efficiently for remote workers and virtual classrooms? The answer may surprise you. MATC alumni are key. They play crucial roles as the hardworking, information technology (IT) professionals our community relies on every day.

This reliance is especially evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. IT experts work diligently to implement and maintain software and networks, and to ensure the uninterrupted digital experience needed by the many adults and children working and learning at home.

MATC’s IT Network Specialist program chair and instructor Brian Kirsch knows firsthand what goes into managing networks from his experiences teaching and working in the field. The increased demand for IT services shifted his focus to preparing his students for expectations from employers.

Local IT professionals meet with the college’s instructors and other employees each semester to discuss the curriculum and new technology for the IT networking program. With MATC faculty and staff serving as resources, the professionals provide insight and guidance based on their real-world experience. This approach is replicated for all MATC academic programs through their Advisory Committees to ensure coursework prepares graduates to be job ready on day one.

Alumnus Manages Large IT Network

One of Kirsch’s students, Sinisa Derikonja, is now an IT manager responsible for a network infrastructure that serves about 7,000 users in the West Bend School District.

Derikonja, who graduated from MATC’s computer networking program in 2014, routinely sees the importance of the topics covered in his coursework. On any given day, he could be juggling a broad range of IT projects simultaneously. One of the most valuable assets IT professionals manage is data from throughout their employer’s organization.

“Right now, a significant challenge is cybersecurity. We always have to be concerned with data being compromised or released without our knowledge,” said Derikonja. With the surge of virtual meetings and distance learning, preparing future IT professionals with the latest skills remains essential.

“We have to adapt quickly,” Derikonja said. “We must gear up for the future. Those unknowns are what keep us on our toes.