June 15, 2017 – "Jacob Stein worked as a student technician on my IT team for AITS-Facilities and Risk Management for 15 months," said Ginger Boone, IT manager. "As a student tech, Jacob was one of those students who worked as if he were full time. He was dependable and always willing to learn. You knew he was going to make someone a good employee."
So, AITS hired him on a full-time basis as an IT specialist when he graduated from UNT in May 2016. His double degrees are in business administration and business computer information systems.
"Attending Tarrant County College my first year helped me tremendously with the transition from high school to a four-year university," he said. In college, his projects and group work mimicked realistic scenarios – learning lessons that he now applies to his everyday work.
One large Facilities Services project that Jacob worked on was the Ward™ Fuel System, Boone said. The system required the installation of a Ward CANceiver in every UNT vehicle, which would communicate vehicle information to the system via Wi-Fi. There was a huge learning curve for everyone, she said, especially dealing with the new CANceivers and Jacob was instrumental in troubleshooting those issues. The Ward CANceiver is an onboard diagnostic technology device, called OBD-II, that enables fleet operators to fully automate fueling, track vital vehicle diagnostic parameters, driver behavior, and passive GPS vehicle tracking in a single, cost-effective hardware component.
Nowadays, Jacob supports administrative housing and dining users and machines across campus and provides backend support for various computer programs and applications. He also troubleshoots software and hardware issues and resolves tickets submitted by users and documents the process of solving the issues. Part of his duties also includes maintenance of more than 300 desktops, and 400 monitors and copiers.
"One reason I entered IT was simply that I liked computers and games in high school. I was constantly around a computer or console growing up. While working for AITS/Facilities as a student worker, I realized that the challenge it provides is something I love to chase. Challenging myself with a difficult issue and resolving it in a timely manner is very satisfying," said Jacob, who was born in California, but grew up in Arlington, Texas. He has lived in Denton since he was accepted to UNT in 2012.
As a former server in a restaurant in Arlington who went on to work in Facilities, Jacob credits some of his own success to co-workers – the ones who are always available to help and teach, he said. AITS has a wide range of people who are willing to help and he tries to models this giving attitude as well. "They go above and beyond their job descriptions to ensure UNT users are satisfied. I have learned an enormous amount and gained a lot of experience from my AITS colleagues."
To get away from it all though, Jacob enjoys a physical workout. "Fitness has helped me as a person and developed traits that carry over into my personal life. In addition, it makes me physically hardy, energetic and strong. I also love to travel or to adventure. Any type of physical activity or sport, I am eager to play," he said. "I also enjoy PC gaming, including Counter-Strike and League of Legends."
Jacob calls Spotify, the Sweden-based music, podcast, and video streaming service, his favorite app.
"It is the GOAT music player," Jacob said.
Greatest of all time – not the four-legged domesticated ruminant with a beard.
And his favorite book? "Jurassic Park," by Michael Crichton, but “Lightweight, baby," is his favorite saying that is meant to motivate one's self to lift heavy weights in the gym. He enjoys Counter-Strike and League of Legends games, but when asked whether he prefers Mac or PC, Jacob responded with "What is a Mac?" Maybe he has not read that Microsoft continues to cede market share to Apple.
The best advice Jacob would give to a UNT freshman considering a major in IT, computer science: "Go to class. Even if the professor is not much help to you, you may receive necessary information from classmates. When working on a group project, be active. Do your work and then ask for more. Stand out to your peers as well as the professors. It will go a long way in building relationships and networking beyond UNT."
When asked what advice he would give to a UNT graduate looking for a job in IT: "Do NOT contact the hiring manager. Apply to the posting and be open and honest with what you know. If you cannot answer a question, do not lie and try to make one up. The hiring manager will know. Instead, tell them you do not know and ask them to explain it. It is a great opportunity to learn and gain interview experience for the jobs to come. In addition, shows the hiring board you are willing to learn."
In retrospect, Jacob says he would not have taken his first three years of college so lightly. "I could have managed my time a lot better then. My last two semesters here were difficult, but that helped my time management. It also helped in handling my stress. I used that stress to work with me and help myself succeed.