To Whom It May Concern:
I come to Strayer University to obtain a Master in Computer Information Systems and need your help getting there. It is my intent to petition seven courses in which I have enough professional experience to gain credit for them. I ask that the evaluation be fair and that I’m given an opportunity to personally show you real life examples for each course if my words are not good enough. I feel very strongly about theses courses from two levels of enterprise, the physical and the virtual. In other words, I can present an argument for each class on a company that uses racks and racks of servers or a company like ours that uses the VM Ware product lines. I can access our virtual infrastructure remotely from your offices and illustrated if necessary.
In my current role as a systems engineer, I work with the FAA traffic flow management division. I assist Network Operations, Systems Analysts, Subject Matter Experts, Developers, and FAA personnel to establish an open-architecture platform with a robust framework for implementing enhancements & operational improvements. I was selected for this position for two main reasons; my advanced knowledge in computer network operations and proven ability of modernization of proprietary hardware and software.
Before beginning work in the master’s program, I will need to be granted lifetime learning credits for some of the prerequisite undergraduate courses. My goal with the attached portfolio is to garner credit for:
1. CIS 293 – Administering Desktop Clients
2. CIS 332 – Network Sever Administration
3. CIS 401 – Network Server Implementation
4. CIS 409 – Directory Services Infrastructure
5. CIS 111 – Introduction to relational database management systems
6. CIS 219 – database management systems
7. CIS 212 – System Modeling Theory
To offer proof of my capabilities in these matters, I am attaching certificates of training, performance ratings, letters of endorsement, and supporting documentation to support my claim. Thank you for taking the time to review this portfolio. If you should need any additional information, please do not hesitate to call me at (703) 870-9925.
Kenneth D. Walden
TESTIMONIAL IN SUPPORT OF ______________________
April 21, 2008
To Whom It May Concern:
Please accept this form as evidence of my support for Kenneth D. Walden and his quest for undergraduate credit for information technology classes. He has worked with me in the position of job title and has demonstrated a thorough knowledge of information system architecture, design and use. His job functions during this time were job description.
Within our daily operations, he has demonstrated the type of knowledge he would likely gain from these undergraduate classes. In the time that I have known, Your Name, he has shown a thorough understanding of current information systems development and management, He is an excellent candidate for your master’s degree program.
If I can provide you with additional information regarding, Your Name’s skills and experience in this field, please do not hesitate to contact me.
CIS 293—Administering Desktop Clients
This field of Administering Desktop Clients provides the bulk of my experience and the foundation upon which my career has been built. In March, 1995, I moved to Northern Virginia, started college at NVCC, and landed a $10 an hour job building basic computers. I began with hardware construction and very quickly learned to install software and operating systems as well. Next, I moved on to networking and within the year, I started a position as a desktop support technician at Aetna insurance. Over the next three years, I advanced in the areas of installing computer software ranging from Microsoft Office, SQL Server, and hardware drivers. I installed and configured computer hardware such as RAM, NIC, printers, and external disk drives. I became proficient with wireless and wire networks and various network components, such as router, switches, firewalls, access points, and VPN’s.
Because I learned to build the computers before I learned to install the software, I have an integrated knowledge of all aspects of computer operations. I have been able to build on that basic hardware development knowledge and apply it to complex development issues. Because I took the time to learn both the software and hardware aspects of computer development, I acquired the ability to trouble-shoot problems and identify whether the problem arose from software programming, software conflicts or hardware issues. This has lead to positions of increasing responsibility in computer development, culminating with my current position as a systems engineer with Flatiron Solutions. Recently, I have been involved in several projects with the Federal Aviation Administration to tailor proprietary software to meet their needs. I was chosen for these tasks specifically because of my wide-range of computer knowledge.
My work now is in integrating the systems, so that the network makes the most efficient use of both the software and hardware. This combination of skills and knowledge has served me well in the IT field and allowed me to work toward increasingly more responsible positions.
CIS 332 — Network Server Administration
Three years after my first foray into buildings computer, I began my first salaried position as a systems administrator. In March, 1998, Xybernaut Corporation hired me to provide technical services to all the various departments throughout the company. As the Systems Administrator, I was faced with computing issues that required more than a basic understanding of the desktop support arena. This prompted me to look at information technology from an enterprise level. I began working closer with Windows NT and Windows 2000 Servers.
My daily activities included maintaining operating software, configuring network services and devices, provide access to resources, joining the correct domain, and administering a server-centric network infrastructure through remote services. I performed database backups with Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SQL Server administration tools. After 18 months of providing support at the home office, the company promoted me to traveling sales engineer. In this position, I visited customers, surveyed their infrastructure and information technology use and potential uses. Then, I would develop a plan to improve their information technology systems and increase the bottom line. Once the plan was developed, I would hand the project off to the local sales representatives so that they could demonstrate how our hardware and software could most benefit the client.
Being able to understand both the hardware needs and the software applications that a customer might use led me to develop additional skills at IT integration and eventually led me to a position with more responsibility, focused on not just the envisioning of a system, but also the implementation of it.
CIS 401 –Network Sever Implementation
In November, 2001, I accepted a position working with the Computer Network Operations Center with Freddie Mac as a lead consultant providing services to install a large migration of new Windows 2000 Servers, a Domain and two Sub-Domain conversions. At the same time, I worked with other lead consultants who were upgrading about four thousand personal computers to Window 2000. Over this next eighteen-month assignment, I worked closely with other consultants with advance knowledge of Windows Active Directory Services. This skill was important because once these services were properly configured and designed to optimize the company’s needs, it tied many services together quite nicely.
After creating distribution groups, computer accounts, and activating remote services, the migration with the Windows 2000 Servers began. My daily activities during this phase was to install and configure the DNS and DHCP settings, Network Protocols, assign roles, and troubleshoot any difficulties which arose as we tied the new computer terminals to the new server network. This experience provided me with a significant understand of network server implementation as it allowed me to build the network from the ground up, rather than relying on observing work that someone else had previously created.
CIS 111 – Introduction to relational database management systems
As you might imagine, at several points in my career it became necessary to keep track of large amounts of information and the most expedient means to do this was via database. During my regular job duties, I was often required to use Microsoft Access and several other databases with a similar architecture. I am comfortable performing routine queries in the database as well as data base creation.
While at Xybernaut Corporation, in my position as a sales engineer, I often had to help clients identify solutions to their information technology needs. Often, seemingly complex issues regarding customer management and information tracking could be accomplished via programs like SQL Server. Because our sales often hinged on being able to offer the client the most economic and effective solutions to their problems, I often had to demonstrate specifically how a database would help solve their customer management issues and how to configure that database. I have continued to use databases in position since then, as a good database serves an IT professional well in tracking software and hardware additions to terminals, upgrades and maintenance on equipment and even in tracking vendors and costs for future projects.
One of the most important things I had to teach clients was the concept of query-by-example. Many clients could not adequately envision what they were looking for and therefore had a hard time creating a query that was specific enough to gather the fields that were needed. I helped clients resolve this issue by showing them how to create and name fields to optimize the query process including add fields such as most recent order and year-to-date orders. Generally, by simply adjusting the terms that clients were using, we could better define query terms and end up with more productive and useful databases.
CIS 219 – database management systems
As discussed previously, in my work designing IT answers as a sales engineer at Xybernaut Corporation, I often had to develop database systems for our clients. Many of our clients understood that a database might meet their needs for customer file management or vendor file management, but had no idea how to design the database so that they could properly query the database and get the information that they needed. For example, one customer might need to be able to search vendors by last order placed, pricing or even most recent deliveries. In creating a system for the sales staff to sell, I had to be able to demonstrate to the client how these queries would work and why they were faster and more efficient than an old filing system.
In developing these database systems for clients, I often had to define field and create reports using a variety of software programs. This helped me to develop, largely through trial and error, a complex understanding of the uses and limitations of databases. I was able to demonstrate to my customers the old adage of “garbage in, garbage out” and make them understand the usefulness of planning the database’s uses before beginning to enter the data. By knowing how they intended to query it, they could best tailor the data to provide useful responses in minimal time.
The most important thing I have learned about database management is that you must start with good data. Properly formatted queries and all the time in the world do not result in proper or useful reports if the information is not available. Therefore, to make a database useful, in the initial design phases, one must be aware of how it will be used and what information it needs to contain.
CIS 212 – System Modeling Theory
In both my position at Xybernaut Corporation and my later position at Freddie Mac, I worked closely with the administration to create new networks. At Freddie Mac, we were building a new system with 4,000 terminals from the ground up. This gave me an opportunity to discuss and debate the theories of system modeling. We were faced with questions regarding how independently we wanted each terminal to operate and how the network should be configure. One of the decisions we faced was how to improve the virtualization of the company. Clearly, we did not want to create redundant space within the network by adding memory to the individual computers, but we needed to make certain that all the applications could be completed via the “virtual memory” available through the server. This concept is becoming more and more widespread in the industry with Google and Microsoft now offering virtual office software suites.
I was often tasked to recommend to clients the most efficient and cost-effective means to operate their networks. This meant that I was expected to know not only the absolute best options for network modeling, but also what alternatives were available. For many clients, cost constraints were a major consideration, so much of my network theory education centered on determining what capabilities were lost when going with lesser network options. Often, my recommendations became something of a cost/use comparison whereby the client would determine which functions were most important and at what cost. This real world application of theories helped me to understand why some companies have less than optimal IT systems.
CIS 409 – Directory Services Infrastructure
While working at Freddie Mac, one of my tasks was to coordinate with other consultants to provide the advance knowledge of Windows Active Directory Services. This skill was important because once these services were properly configured and designed to optimize the company’s needs, it tied many services together quite nicely.
After creating distribution groups, computer accounts, and activating remote services, the migration with the Windows 2000 Servers began. My daily activities during the phase was to install and configure the DNS and DHCP settings, Network Protocols, assign roles, and troubleshoot any difficulties which arose as we tied the new computer terminals to the new server network. This experience provided me with a significant understand of network server implementation as it allowed me to build the network from the ground up, rather than relying on observing work that someone else had previously created.
Through the process of building a system from the servers to the terminals, I was also better able to develop a sense of network security. By participating in every phase of the development, I played a role in the development of both hardware and software security solutions. I also worked to help troubleshoot problems with the system, including envisioning potential problems before they ever happened. This sort of pre-planning is imperative as computer security becomes increasingly important in daily life. With the rapidly expanding skills of computer hackers, we must be able to anticipate security needs before thy become security breaches. The only way to do this is to start with the best hardware and software available and anticipate methods of intrusion. This project at Freddie Mac thought me to think of the potential instead of what was observwed.
As you will see from the previous summaries and attached documentation, I have completed extensive on the job training and attended courses designed to increase my knowledge of computer design, systems management, software integration and project management. I have progressed from a part-time job assembling computers to a full-time, security sensitive position that requires me to understand the needs of our client (the Federal Aviation Administration).
With dedication and continuous learning, I have worked my way up and developed an extensive knowledge of all forms of IT management. I am confident in my ability to select good hardware, based on my earliest computer-related jobs, and to match it with existing or custom software based on the client’s needs. I can, and have, created a network from the ground up, taking an active role in everything from the development and installation of PC-based workstations to the creation of the directories, selection of the servers, and regular system backups. These life experiences more than compensate for the classroom time that would be required for these classes. I am confident that should I be required to take these courses, they would result in easy boosts to my grade point average. However, because I do work fulltime, requiring me to take these courses would seriously hamper my ability to further my education. As such, since my lifelong learning clearly demonstrates that I have met the course objectives, I respectfully request I be granted credit for these classes and allowed to progress to the next stage of the learning process.