Networking to the Top


Ryan White


Where Are They Now?

Ryan White could easily be considered an all-star among Ozarks Technical Community College's alumni. A graduate of OTC's Networking Technology program, Ryan will always have the distinction of being both the program's first graduate and the first IT employee to be hired by the software giant Microsoft®.

Ryan was surprised and excited when he got a call in the summer of 2011 from Microsoft®, which offered him a position with the well-known computer software company.

"I was kind of shocked. I didn't expect it," Ryan said.

Ryan, who worked full-time at the college after graduation, beat out hundreds of applicants from around the world to become one of a handful of new premier field engineers.

As a premier engineer, Ryan installs SharePoint® for companies and trains their employees how to use it. SharePoint® is a collaborative software that allows multiple users from remote sites to work together electronically on projects and programs.

Ryan, who works out of the company's Chicago office, said he went through a series of interviews with the company.

"I didn't have any of my hopes up of going to work for one of the pinnacle companies, but after three interviews, they offered me the job," he said.

Ryan, who served six years in the U.S. Navy as an electronics technician before enrolling at OTC in 2005, worked part-time in the College's information technology department while earning degrees in both networking and computer repair.

"Everything I did at OTC, from classes to working in IT, helped me. I was working on Microsoft® technology at OTC and it solidified my spot with Microsoft® because of that experience," he said.

David Pope, a member of the OTC Networking faculty, said Ryan is a role model for students in the Networking Technology program as well as for staff members.

"Ryan exemplifies what is good in America's younger generation: bright, positive, self-disciplined, and eager to do his best. His approach to learning and the knowledge he gained in OTC's Networking program and related job duties paid off. I believe he is the first OTC graduate to be picked up by Microsoft®. We try not to discuss exact salary numbers, but he's not ashamed to admit starting with a six-figure salary," David said.

Ryan's work sends him across the country. In just a few months, he's been to San Antonio, St. Louis, Seattle and Santa Ana, Calif.

"It's a lot different traveling all the time, but I've always wanted to work for Microsoft®," he said. "I've been wanting to do it for a long time."

"Ryan exemplifies what is good in America's younger generation: bright, positive, self-disciplined, and eager to do his best."

Networking to the Top: Photos