BLOOMINGTON – Basil Houston graduated from Ivy Tech in May 2018 with associate degrees in cyber security and network infrastructure, and found employment immediately at Hanapin Marketing as IT coordinator. Houston did not always have a clear career path, but developed his interests and discovered his computing skillset while studying at Ivy Tech Community College.
“After high school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,” said Houston. “I enrolled at Ivy Tech for a semester, then Vincennes, and then Indiana University, but nothing kept my interest at first.”
When Houston re-enrolled at Ivy Tech in spring 2016, he discovered an interest in computer networking and information technology support, which led to interest in other computing areas.
“I was a little scared of cyber security at first, but I found that is where my passion is – to help people be more safe and secure in their daily lives and for their employers too,” said Houston.
He accepted a work-study position at Ivy Tech’s information technology helpdesk, which led to more opportunities.
“I was put in charge of Ivy Tech’s Bedford and French Lick locations for system administration and network administration, which was an eye-opening experience,” said Houston. “The work-study position was life-changing for me. It helped me make so many connections.”
As an Ivy Tech employee, Houston’s responsibilities expanded beyond Bedford and French Lick. He implemented the deployment of Windows 10 at several Ivy Tech locations in both Bloomington and Indianapolis.
“I started realizing that the task-oriented nature of helpdesk work was really gratifying to me, and I was good at it,” said Houston. “I could help people and check things off the list. My confidence was growing. If any opportunity came up, I would say yes. I worked a lot of hours and tried to go after big projects and tackle everything.”
Houston completed two internships at Hanapin Marketing before being offered his current position as IT coordinator.
“I do a lot of everything at Hanapin, including user training for information security,” said Houston. “I provide system and network administration, technical support for employees, and educate employees on basic information security including phishing education and password protection.”
In addition to his position at Hanapin Marketing, Houston now teaches CISCO certification courses at Ivy Tech Community College as an adjunct instructor.
“Certifications show employers that you have hands-on experience in the specific areas that they need,” said Houston.
Houston has earned various workforce certifications at Ivy Tech, including Apple Certified Mac Technician (ACMT), Certified Ethical Hacker, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, CompTIA Project+, CompTIA Linux+, and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA).
“I really believe in Ivy Tech’s framework for getting people into jobs and high-paying careers,” said Houston. “The network infrastructure program in particular is really good for that. If you can get a CISCO certification, you can go get a job.”
Houston was able to transfer his Ivy Tech credits to Western Governor’s University and is now working toward a bachelor’s degree in information technology with an emphasis in security.
Ivy Tech Community College offers eight associate degrees in information technology, and many short-term certifications. Information can be found at ivytech.edu/computers.