Austin Smith

Austin Smith, Madison College graduate

Madison Area Technical College

IT - Network Security, 2015

Associate Consulting Engineer - Information Security, CDW

Austin Smith, a recent graduate of the IT Network Security program, says it is the quality of instruction and the relationships he’d built at Madison College that helped him land what most entering the field would describe as a “dream job.”

Even before he had graduated, he received an offer from CDW, a leading provider of integrated IT solutions, to join the company’s training program while finishing his degree. CDW is headquartered in Illinois but has offices throughout Wisconsin and other areas of the country.

“One of the things about having smaller class sizes, is you get to know your instructors, and they get to know you,” Austin explained.

Instructor Mike Masino learned about the training program from a former student. “He felt it was a program that would very much match my interests. Our instructors are also professionals from the area, and they maintain those connections.”

Austin came to Madison College with a four-year degree from St. Norbert College. He had been a store manager but had always been good with computers and wanted to learn more about the network side of things.

“When I started at Madison College, the part that really got me going was the fact that I’m not working with instructors who are just trained to teach. I’m working with professionals. This type of experience is crucial because fields like network security are part of a rapidly changing industry.”

Network security is in the news often, mostly with stories of hacked credit cards and security breaches. Austin says he’ll actually be exploring ways to break into systems and sharing that information with the company to help in finding solutions to prevent these incidents.

“This is a field that is always changing, always moving. The current state of things presents a huge challenge but that is why I picked this. You can’t always stay a step ahead in this game but you can formulate new solutions as new problems arise and that is a very interesting prospect.”