Alumni Spotlight: Joe Skinner '11

Joe Skinner, Class of 2011

In this series, we highlight successful EKU Computer Information Systems alumni who have shared their career path and personal insights.

The Winter 2016 feature is Joe Skinner, originally from Lancaster, Ky. (Garrard County High School). Joe is married to Alesia Skinner who also graduated from EKU in the Nursing. They have one dog, Rooney. Joe works for Amazon.com in Seattle as Oracle Database Administrator for the Amazon Payments platform. Read more from Joe...

Career path - What has happened since you graduated from EKU?

After graduating EKU I was offered a position at Fifth Third Bank within their IT Leadership program. The leadership program was tailored to new graduates and was designed to give 4 six month rotations in various IT roles. After two years I accepted a position within Fifth Third as Senior Oracle DBA. After approximately 3.5 years at Fifth Third I accepted a position with Amazon.com in Seattle, Wa. I have been here ever since. 

What got you interested in computers?

I have been interested in computers ever since I can remember. I always had a passion for understanding how they worked and what impact they can have on our everyday lives. What keeps my interest driven now is the challenge and scale that information technology has faced in the past few years. 

Why did you pick EKU?

I picked EKU for two main reasons. First, I wanted to remain close to my family while attending school and EKU offered that. Second, the CIS program covered exactly what I was looking for in a program. The program covered technical aspects of Information Technology on top of a strong foundation of business courses that have been invaluable in my professional career.  

Did you co-op while you were a student? Where? What did you learn during your co-op?

I had two co-op positions while at EKU:

  1. Garrard County Schools - At this co-op I got my first glimpse of supporting a large infrastructure.
  2. Box Lake Networks (Winchester KY) - This co-op taught me patience and how to effectively communicate with customers and co-workers while providing support. 

What are your fondest memories of your time at EKU?

Some of my fondest memories while at EKU would be: All of the friendships I was able to make while attending EKU, studying abroad in Paris, and participating in Independent Study with Dr. Mahaney my senior year. 

What professional advice would you give to current students?

My advice to current students would be to make sure that whatever you choose to study that you are passionate about it. If you are passionate about your field success will come naturally. Another piece of advice I would share is to learn outside of the classroom as well. 

What is your advice regarding technical certifications?

In my experience I have not found a value in technical certifications. Certifications are easy to pass and prove that you have the knowledge of the subject. What it does not prove is real world experience. When looking at a resume I'm far more impressed with experiences (including hobbies / at home projects) as compared to a list of certifications.  

Are there any books that you recommend for current students?

I would recommend:

What are you plans for the future?

My immediate plans for the future are to continue my growth as a Database Administrator here at Amazon in Seattle. A bit further out I hope to expand my experience by working for one of the other Big 4 Tech companies (Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon). 

Contact Information

Dr. Robert Mahaney
bob.mahaney@eku.edu

Published on August 18, 2015

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