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Former mascot, computer info grad continues to champion NSU
Apr 10, 2014 | 303 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Northwestern State University alumnus Ryan Owens, is in on the ground floor of an economic development project state leaders say will be transformational for the Baton Rouge area and Louisiana.

 Owens, a May 2013 graduate in computer information systems, is an application developer for IBM in Baton Rouge. He was one of the first employees IBM hired for a first of its kind software development center in downtown Baton Rouge that will create up to 800 jobs. Owens is one of several Northwestern State graduates hired by IBM.

Owens works with clients of the Domestic Delivery Center to meet their data needs. The IBM center delivers technology services to clients, such as application development, application management and system integration to its clients. For example, Owens may work with a bank that needs data converted from one programming language to another.

“I do whatever a client needs done,” said Owens, who performed information technology work for a law firm prior to joining IBM. “There is quite a bit of travel involved. I have been all over the U.S. and could be travelling internationally soon.”

In his work, Owens uses Extract, Transform and Load tools such as Informatica, Data Stage and Gladstone. He also works in COBOL, which he learned at Northwestern State.

“After I completed a class in COBOL, I never thought I would use it again,” said Owens. “I told (Instructor of CIS) Mrs. (Barbara) Russell I was so glad she taught that to me. Without that knowledge, I would not be as successful. I’m still learning. When I began this job, I had a month of training and it continues.”

The center will move into a new eight-story building next year.

“It’s an exciting time to be here working for a company like IBM. There’s a lot of adapting and learning as we go, but that’s good,” said Owens.

A New Orleans native, Owens is a graduate of St. Augustine High School. He was “Vic” the Demon at NSU and was a member of Theta Chi and Demon Volunteers in Progress. Owens was active in the Student Activities Board and was an orientation leader in the Freshman Connection program. IBM selected him to represent the company at Northwestern State’s Spring/Summer Job Fair.

“Northwestern State gave me everything I needed to go out and work for a major corporation,” said Owens. “The skill set I acquired is something I use every day. I learned both networking and programming. The networking was useful in my previous job and the programming skill is needed now.”

Information on IBM’s plans in Baton Rouge is available at
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