Getting Started in Information Technology: Kai Lee’s Journey into The World of IT

The world is more connected than ever before, and technology is at the forefront of this vast network of users. Changes are constant in the field of IT with new ideas and methods coming out daily. That is why demand for the field is projected to grow 15% according to the BLS. Jobs related to IT continue to evolve and are in high demand.

There are certain qualities that make a successful IT professional. While a bachelor’s degree can help, it is the critical thinking skills and ability to solve problems that can help individuals set themselves apart from the competition. Often, there are other fields that lend themselves to the skillsets required for a successful master’s student. That is why the University of Cincinnati Online has created a Bridge Certificate intended to help transition students without an IT background directly into the program.

Have you ever thought about making the switch to the IT field? Meet Kai Lee, a student in the masters in IT program at UC Online.


Kai Lee began his career after graduation as a bank teller. Finance was interesting to him, and the position allowed him to learn more about the banking and finance industry. While Kai enjoyed his time in his undergrad program, TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), he quickly realized working in the education industry wasn’t the path for him either.
After some time as a bank teller, Kai moved into the Service Desk Analyst position where he realized the field of information technology was a better fit for him. He wanted to be part of an industry that would continue to grow and provide an expansive number of opportunities to explore and discover the unknown. Technology and digital platforms have become crucial to complete daily tasks, communicating and sending information globally, and innovating for the future. Kai wanted to help others to better understand and interact with technology. The unexpected freedom that comes with the field of IT and financial rewards were also a plus.

“If I can protect others in a digital space, that protection will transcend to their overall well-being. Being able to serve in that capacity is very fulfilling.”

Getting Started

While researching programs to attend, Kai saw that the University of Cincinnati was mentioned consistently with very high ratings and offered renowned graduate-level degree programs in information technology (links or graphics here). Kai was excited for all the perks of a fully online program, especially since he doesn’t reside in Cincinnati but also enjoyed getting the same benefits as an on campus student.
Because of Kai’s limited IT background, he needed to complete the Bridge Certificate before taking other master level classes. This four course sequence provided the tools to succeed in our master’s program without a bachelors in IT. Kai felt much more comfortable in the program as a result of these introductory courses and was glad they were offered. Since completion of the certificate Kai feels much more confident in his problem-solving skills and understanding the material.

“The Bridge courses were just what I needed to prepare me for my remaining coursework.”

Information Technology Development

Kai considers the degree program the foundation for his future career in information technology and the electives the tools to determine which area within IT specifically he would like to go into. Kai looked at all the different tracks and found himself drawn to the field of cybersecurity. With aspirations of one day becoming a security analyst, data analyst, or a penetration tester, he was excited that he could earn his Data-Driven Cybersecurity Certificate alongside his master degree at no additional cost.
To prepare for his future career, Kai also took advantage of the additional resources made available to UC students. Kai found the extra Professional Development class extremely useful. The class aided in his ability to market himself and present his skillset to employers. Instructors explain how to draft your resume, prepare for interviews, attend career fairs, apply for co-ops/internships, and use the Handshake app to job search.

“The Professional Development class was extremely useful. I think every student should know about the course as an option in the learning plan.”

Work-Life Balance

Kai is excited for what the future holds and the passion he has found while in the program. He continues to track to the goals he set and hit new milestones every day. The online courses have made it much easier for him to maintain a flexible schedule so that he can study and attend classes on his own time.
Having the support of his colleagues, who are also working and studying, has empowered Kai to be a better student and professional. He is proud of the strides he has taken while in the program like passing the Cybersecurity Certification on his first try. Seeing the payoff from his preparation garnered through his coursework and independent study, was extremely rewarding and confirmation that he was on the right path.

“I am inspired and encouraged every single day to strive for more when I remember that I love what I’m learning.”

IT Journey

Kai reflects on his time while in the Information Technology program at UC.
“The career paths in Information Technology offer an endless number of opportunities to be whatever you want to be. Try to have a plan of what you would like to gain from the program, even if you just want to start with gaining exposure to determine what you truly like in Information Technology.

If you continuously assess yourself, you can more easily choose the interests to pursue. It is completely normal to prefer something in the beginning and change your mind later. Taking an online course can be a freeing and fulfilling way to complete coursework, because you can complete the coursework in your own time. It may be more convenient for your schedule, and you may have more time in the end.”

“UC is undeniably the best institution I have ever attended for many reasons. I am a Bearcat for life!”   

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