Lisa Fox, a management information systems senior from Fremont, Ohio, will be a technology consultant at Deloitte and Touche in Pittsburgh after she graduates from West Virginia University Sunday, May 18. Craig St. John, of New London, Pa., will be joining Urbach, Kahn and Werlin in Washington, D.C., as a staff IT auditor.

Both students have found information technology jobs in a very tight job market because they have a degree and experience to go with it.

Since the big dot com bust in 1999-2000, the job market has shrunk and graduates with information technology degrees are not finding the lush landscape of job opportunities that had existed. But experience coupled with a degree seems to make a difference.

“The IT job market is certainly not what it was a few years ago,”said B&E assistant professor Graham Peace.”Students are now competing with people who have years of experience. There are still jobs available, but students have to search for them, and the competition is intense. That’s why gaining work experience prior to graduation is absolutely invaluable. Not only does the student gain marketable skills that we cannot teach in the classroom, but companies know that the student can step right in, adapt more easily to the work environment, and offer more immediate help.”

Fox found experience by working full time while attending classes.

“I was involved with the Oracle (an electronic human resources system) upgrade at WVU ,”said Fox, who will receive her degree from the College of Business and Economics.”I’ve worked full-time for the University for two years while going to school full-time, and I think the experience that I gained distinguished me from everyone else applying for jobs. The MIS program has given me the opportunity to apply my classroom knowledge into real situations within my current position. I feel that D&T will give the prospect to grow from the base knowledge the MIS department gave me.”

St. John thinks his experience helped him, too.”Ever since I came into school, I’ve been lucky. While I’ve been in school I had a job working in computer repair. So; I knew I had something to fall back on until I could find something more mainstream. When it came time to look for a job, I wasn’t worried: Experience is key, and I have quite a bit of experience in the field I’m aiming for. MIS is so broad, there are a lot of opportunities.”

Now that he’s got a D.C. job, St. John is looking forward to starting his job and also joining the WVU Alumni Association there.

“This is a great opportunity,”he said.”I found that the alumni association is very large in D.C. I want to get into that organization because there are so many contacts in every field. It’s huge.”

Fox is eager to get started on her new career, too.”The thing I’m going to enjoy most is the challenge, it always will be something new,”she said.”In consulting you can go into different companies and have different environments, which keeps you on your toes.”