Alumni Profile: Derek Ivey

You would have to search far and wide to find someone who doesn’t use the word “Google” daily without a second, third or fourth thought. It’s a noun. It’s a verb. For Derek Ivey, it’s a lifestyle and his professional home. Everyone knows that education is important, but for this recent Harrisburg University of Science and Technology graduate, the real-world experiences he received at HU have led him to San Jose, Ca. where is he now a Corporate Operations Engineer for none other than the search engine giant itself!

Ivey, a former resident of Mechanicsburg, Pa., chose Harrisburg University for proximity, but stayed for the full four years because of the coursework and well-rounded experience. He graduated in May 2013 with a bachelor of science degree in Computer and Information Sciences. He credits the school’s use of corporate faculty with his success at HU.

The professors at HU are not only teachers, he explains, but ones who are involved in the subject even outside of the classroom. The professors make themselves available when the students need help or don’t understand a particular subject. “Your education is definitely what you make of it,” he says. “There are many opportunities to focus on your interests. (The professors) brought their industry experience into the classes and it really exposed us to the real world.”

The school’s strategy of connecting with corporations in the surrounding area have given students a true advantage when it comes to internships and jobs after graduation. “Businesses in the area benefit from the many smart graduates that have attended Harrisburg University,” Ivey says. “I’ve known many people who worked at local businesses, including Capital Blue Cross and Select Medical.”

Ivey worked his way through college at Versatile Systems, Inc., in various positions, eventually becoming a systems administrator. It wasn’t long ago that Ivey received a message on LinkedIn from a Google recruiter. “I was dumbfounded and thought it was a joke at first. The recruiter was informing me of their Corporate Engineering Support Technician Program.”

After a long interview process and turning down a job offer from Google that didn’t quite fit his ambition, he applied for the corporate operations engineer role. Ivey received the job offer and officially started working for Google on Oct. 7, 2013.

“I provide front line IT support to Googlers,” explains Ivey, “supporting many different platforms (Windows, OS X, Linux, etc.). “I am currently in a field tech role so I go around to the various offices on Google’s Mountain View, Ca. campus providing support where needed and also working in Google’s Techstops.”

Techstops, he says, are rooms in many of the buildings where employees can go to and get help almost immediately. This environment requires the techs to have a broad knowledge of many different platforms because you are expected to be able to fix almost any type of problem on the spot. If there is a problem a tech cannot fix, they can ask one of the other techs working or escalate it by submitting a ticket.

“I have a strong passion for networking and security and have certifications in those fields,” he says, giving a nod to his time at Harrisburg University. Next stop for a hopeful Ivey: Google’s NetOps or SecOps team.