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Sean Foley was not your average five-year-old.
While most children might prefer watching animated shows, playing with toys, or exploring a playground, Foley was busy working on computers – a “nerdy” passion that he shares with his father.
But little did Foley know just how much that passion would evolve into something far greater than just something he enjoyed doing for fun.
As he matured and eventually entered high school, Foley discovered that there was a lot more to the field of information technology (IT) than computers. In fact, high school was where he was exposed to his first networking infrastructure class, something he found both interesting and complex.
“It was rewarding to find a specialization in IT and not just be limited to computer hardware,” he shared. “A lot goes into providing network infrastructure. Anytime a device needs to communicate to another device, it has to communicate over the network.”
This eventually led Foley to continue taking advanced courses in high school that translated into college credits. As he began weighing his options, he decided that Ivy Tech in Lafayette was the perfect fit, as it houses one of the best data centers for students interested in networking and server administration.
Throughout his Ivy Tech journey, Foley gained valuable soft and technical skills in his classes, in addition to practical networking knowledge. One of his networking instructors, Michael Zenor, became a critical part of Foley’s academic career.
“In Zenor’s class, we didn’t just learn about theory, we were actually practicing for the real world – and that experience is invaluable,” said Foley.
During his time at Ivy Tech, Foley also worked as a network lab coordinator for the School of IT where he maintained the networking lab and provided mentorship to new students by helping them with their work. He also placed first at Ivy Tech and eleventh in U.S. and Canada at the Cisco Netriders national competition, which provides contestants a chance to explore new IT career paths, network with industry experts, and learn how they can use their skills to someday solve the world’s most pressing social issues.
When Foley graduated from the College in 2018 with an associate degree in Network Infrastructure and a technical certificate in Server Administration, it only took him two weeks to secure a job at Wintek. After a year, he moved on to Purdue University, where he now works as a senior network engineer. Since he began at Wintek, Foley has been promoted four times and continues to seek out professional development opportunities to stay current on industry trends, particularly with respect to certifications.
In his spare time, Foley enjoys listening to sermons, cooking with his wife, and hosting game nights with friends. As for what’s next, he hopes to continue giving back to the world of IT as an instructor someday.
“In the next five or ten years, I think it would be cool to teach at Ivy Tech,” he said. “I wouldn’t be able to learn the complex concepts I know today without the skills I took from my courses.”
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