Brian is one of the teachers over at St. Stephen's Episcopal School in Austin and has been a member of the faculty there for the past ten years. We met Brian at a sponsored event back in February and we’ll be working together to deliver Google Apps Admin courses in the coming months. We sat down to ask Brian a little bit about himself, what it takes to make it in the IT Industry, and how new technologies are helping to make things easier for businesses and organizations today.
Brian has a pretty impressive resume. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science at Kent State University, and went on later to obtain a Masters in Computer Science, as well as Masters Degrees in teaching for both Computer Science and Math.
Over the years Brian put his higher learning to good use, working in a number of companies like General Tire and the Red Cross just to name a couple, before settling at St. Stephen's.
One of the first things that you might consider when you’re studying Computer Sciences or a related course, is which areas you should focus on in College to meet your goals after graduation. Brian has some advice for you.
“There is no ‘right’ programming language to know. I program in three languages and teach another one. The important skill is to be able to transfer what you’ve learned in to whatever language you’re working in.”
Brian also told us that none of the languages he uses now were even in use when he was going through college. So transferrable skills are important, but it’s not just that. Brian mentioned another thing which is often forgotten by students, but it will help immensely in the job market.
“Take at least a few courses in an area that you’re interested in, so that you will know something about what a company does. If you want to run computers for a Wall Street firm, learn about investing and accounting. If you want to work for an oil company, learn about petroleum.”
A perfect example, Brian landed his job working on blood result software at the Red Cross because he was the only candidate who had a strong background in science. It makes sense. Companies aren’t just looking for someone who knows IT. They’re looking for someone who knows IT and can apply their skills to their line of business.
Students today will be more switched on than ever when it comes to awareness and adaptability to changing technologies. One of those constantly evolving technologies that we love here at Coolhead is the Google Apps for Business productivity suite. Brian has done a lot of work within Google Apps, and he’s somewhat of an advocate of the benefits that it can bring to organizations.
St. Stephen's uses Google Apps for their email and productivity tasks. Since switching to Google, the school has seen a number of benefits. Some of Brian’s most loved features; “teachers and students can have multiple write-review-revise cycles in the same time it took to do one cycle on paper. There’s also facility for hassle free peer reviews between students, with read-only shared documents”.
On the IT side, things have also drastically improved. Brian and his colleagues no longer have to worry about patching software, troubleshooting compatibility issues, or trying to maintain storage for users. It’s all handled within the cloud as part of the Google Apps service. Brian summed it all up “Because we’re doing less of what we used to do, we can do more of our primary job - helping users to learn to use the technology.”
Brian is our favorite kind of IT guy. He worked hard to get where is, constantly adapted and up-skilled himself as technologies came and evolved, and now he shares his learnings with the next generation of budding IT enthusiasts
Without passionate people, we wouldn’t have companies like Coolhead today, or even forward thinking services like Google Apps. Embracing change is all part of business and information technology. We’re just glad we have people like Brian in our education system to kick start the process.
We're excited to have Brian Gray teaching our Google Apps Certified Administrator training this summer. The 10 week Google Apps Admin course includes classroom instruction from Brian Gray and on the job training from Coolhead Tech. High School Seniors and College students are encouraged to Apply Now.