When Taylor Spencer was in high school, she was more interested in symphonies than software. But a trip to Northwestern State University’s Senior Day caused her to consider a new field.
Spencer, a 2018 graduate in computer information systems with a concentration in application development and a minor in business administration, is a business process analyst for General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) in Bossier City.
“Initially I was interested in NSU due to their symphony orchestra,” said Spencer, a Shreveport native who graduated from Caddo Magnet High School. “I’m a violist and auditioned for the orchestra while in high school and received a scholarship to play in it. I went to the NSU Senior Day and learned about the CIS program and spoke with faculty about the opportunities. That day I decided I wanted to be a CIS major.”
Spencer works on the organization’s strategy team with a team consisting of solution architects that work on bids and proposals, cost estimation and technical consulting.
“I help to create efficient processes to streamline our endeavors,” she said. “I also participate in the solution process of parsing government requirements and mapping them to our capabilities in response to their requests. Due to my background in coding, I also get the opportunity manage the website for my organization within GDIT that details our services.”
Spencer credits the topics and methods she learned in her senior capstone course at NSU with helping her overcome some of her most challenging work projects.
“I find my work challenging at times, but also exciting,” said Spencer. “When working on bids and proposals, you have to think critically and fully assess the requirements in order to construct the best solution to the problem. You have to understand the business and technical challenge, as well as GDIT’s service areas in order to construct the best solution to remedy the issue. This can be challenging at times and requires a holistic understanding of enterprise IT and systems.”
Spencer says GDIT has been a good fit for her because of the many opportunities the company provides for professional development.
“I enjoy working for a company that encourages curiosity and learning among its employees,” said Spencer. “This includes offering avenues for training, certifications and education for employees interested in delving into different areas of IT. This investment in employee growth is something that is not present at a lot of companies. The opportunity for career development and growth at GDIT is truly amazing.”
According to Spencer, Northwestern’s CIS program prepared her for the workforce in a variety of ways.
“The CIS program is constructed in a way that reflects the skills needed when transitioning into the workforce after graduation,” said Spencer. “The combination of business classes, technical classes, concentration specific classes and senior seminar create the perfect blend to gain classroom knowledge that can be applied in the workplace. I was able to transfer the skills I learned in the classroom and offer a unique approach to solving business and technical issues. NSU definitely played a large role in my success at GDIT.”
GDIT employs more than 1,000 employees at the Integrated Technology Center, Cyber Innovation Center and Customer Engagement Center in Bossier City, In 2014, the State of Louisiana embarked upon a 10-year, $14 million higher education initiative aimed at boosting the number of undergraduate degrees produced in computer science and related science, technology, engineering and math studies or STEM fields. Northwestern State is part of a group of higher education institutions in north Louisiana that are contributing increased training opportunities in technology for traditional and nontraditional students based upon GDIT input.
For more information on Northwestern State’s computer information systems program including the new master’s degree, go to nsula.edu/computer-information-systems.