When I applied to ‘Cuse as a high school senior, I wanted to get into the Information Technology field. That’s why I applied to the iSchool.  One problem I had was that I knew nothing about technology careers, and there wasn’t an actually IT major there.  I applied to the Systems and Information Systems major (SIS), because it would give me a balance between IT and computer science courses.  Up until my freshman year, the SIS major was a dual program between the iSchool and College of Engineering but as of Fall 2016 it’s solely an engineering program.

Why I switched into IM&T

After a semester of being an SIS major, I felt that the heavy programming coursework wasn’t for me.  SIS is a good learning experience with great professors. However, the major wouldn’t give me enough IT and management courses that I wanted.  In SIS, you take most of the courses computer science students take in your first three semesters.  I didn’t enjoy my SIS courses that much because they focused more on thinking like a computer, and less on analyzing how technology would improve people and businesses.  It was hard finding myself completely happy with my classes.

In the first semester of being in SIS, I took two programming courses: One course was from the iSchool, Freshman Forum, where I learned Python. The other was from the engineering school, Intro to Computing, where I learned Java. I enjoy Python more because I like how it focuses on higher level programming, which is closer to the human language. Java is less dynamic, and closer to the computer language.  In my python final project, I enjoyed using APIs (application programming interface). I was intrigued by the way I could use so much data from Google in my own program.

My first step in switching majors was taking IST195 during my second semester of freshman year.  You can tailor your program’s curriculum to be more technical, management-focused, or somewhere in the middle.  I really enjoyed the entrepreneurship project where we had to create our own business or product. In class we use what we learn in the lectures, and write about how IT can strengthen our business.

The Process of Switching a College Major

Many questions may go through your head while trying to switch your major. Will I be able to graduate on time? What if I transfer then realize this field is not what I want?  The advisors definitely made this process easier for me (look out for Tess, Lora, and Julie!) and my peer advisors. They help make sure to get you on track to graduate the iSchool in four years.

One of my closest friends here was going through the same exact process of switching out of SIS into Information Management & Technology (IM&T) as well, and a lot of our classes we took fulfilled the IM&T requirements.  If you are having doubts then don’t worry, a lot of people do!  Switching your major can seem a bit overwhelming, but we have such an amazing staff willing to help.

At the time of applying to the IM&T program, I was also working on my application to pick up the Animation & Visual Effects minor in Syracuse’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, which was a less competitive process.  The iSchool has a large electives core that gives you the ability to do a minor or a second major.  

Involvement in the iSchool

Currently I am on the e-board for the iSchool’s Women in Information Technology- Undergrad (WIT) working in Public Relations. I am very adamant about encouraging women to enter technology fields. Joining WIT as a freshman, I felt that I would get to know other iSchool students. Along with that, I also enjoyed every speaker that came in. Helping promote a positive message about women’s role in the IT field is something I am very passionate about.

My Outcome

I chose the IM&T major because I am interested in UI/UX design (User Interface and User Experience), web design/development, project management, and cloud computing. I enjoy the startup and innovation side of technology but I also enjoy learning about networking and security management. Every single industry is implementing some kind of information technology, so the kinds of work environments are endless.  

Throughout the summer I was so nervous about making it into the IM&T program. Once I received my acceptance, the feeling was as good as getting into college. You learn so much in the iSchool, they expose you to excellent companies from startups to the big four.   The process might seem competitive, but with hard work it’s worth it in the end.  

Good luck applying!