Radana: Nathan, congratulation on being part of our inaugural Doctor of Information Technology (DIT) cohort, and thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for the STC Thursday Byte. Let’s start off by telling us about your career path that brought you to where you are today.
Nathan: Well, I got my Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Montana State University, then I received my Master’s Degree in Information Systems from Aspen University. I have served 13 years in the Montana Army National Guard, and worked over 6 years as a Software Engineer.
Radana: Why did you decide to pursue a DIT and why did you choose CityU?
Nathan: I went through a lengthy process of looking through dozens of schools and online programs. Essentially, I eliminated those that did not meet my personal education goals and standards. Once the process was done, I was down to six potential schools and I ended up choosing CityU because of its program, the interviews I had with my recruiter and the staff, and the proximity in location to where I live.
Radana: We are thrilled you joined us! You bring quite a bit of experience with you. What’s one thing you wish you had known when you began your career?
Nathan: Working up your career is a process, no one expects you to know everything right out of college.
Radana: What are some of the things you’re researching and/or learning right now?
Nathan: The focus of much of my studies is the application of Artificial Intelligence.
Radana: Excellent! We will have to chat more – that is why I went into CS! We hear about success, but I think it is more powerful for our readers to hear you talk about your biggest failure (which I prefer to call the biggest lesson); can you tell us about your ‘biggest lesson’, and what you learned from it?
Nathan: If I had to choose just a single ‘big lesson’, would be the failure of missed opportunities. I have had multiple occurrences in my life when I was given an amazing chance for a new learning opportunity, but I made excuses like I am too busy (an excuse even if it is true). The opportunities missed are often things you don’t get a second chance at.
Radana: That’s so true – thank you for sharing. What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue a career similar to yours?
Nathan: Work hard, and always know that there is more to learn. Don’t take a lack of knowledge on your own part personally see it as a chance to grow and develop.
Radana: Great advice! Perceived lack of knowledge is often a major block. What are the best resources that have helped you along the way?
Nathan: Your peers are the greatest resource. Not telling anyone to go cheat off their neighbors but there are going to be plenty of opportunities to bounce ideas off people or even just ask for advice. They might be able to shine a much-needed light on any problem you may be facing.
Radana: What have you read or listened to recently that inspired you?
Nathan: Indistractable by Nir Eyal, Julie Li.
Radana: Where can our students connect with you online?
Nathan: I am on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Radana: Thank you Nathan for taking the time to be interviewed and sharing your experiences. I hope to hear more about the areas of AI you are interested in. I will be launching the Human-Centered AI research group at the end of the summer – I hope you join.