Newark, NJ (PRWEB) May 12, 2014
Rafael Yactayo and Henry Robalino, both senior computer engineering majors at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), were sitting next to each other in a computer science class last October, laptops open, when e-mails popped up in their inboxes at precisely the same moment. “Microsoft found us,” recounted Yactayo ’14, of Passaic, who noted that his and Robalino’s resumes had been plucked from an enormous database compiled by SHPE prior to the organization’s conference in Indianapolis at the end of that month.
“I was flabbergasted. I remember thinking: Is this real? Please, someone pinch me,” recalled Robalino ’14, a Newark resident. “Then I thought, we’d better start preparing.”
The two friends had received nearly identical messages requesting interviews at the upcoming national career conference of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). They exchanged looks of elation – and incredulity – as neither had formally applied for a position with the multinational consumer electronics giant.
Yactayo and Robalino will join the more than 2,700 students who will receive bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at NJIT’s 98th Commencement on May 20, 2014 at 9 a.m. at the Prudential Center in Newark. The ceremony will feature remarks from NJIT President Joel S. Bloom and a keynote address by Clement Alexander Price, Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor of History, Rutgers University-Newark Campus, and Director of the Rutgers Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience, who will also receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. AECOM Executive Chairman John M. Dionisio and distinguished financial expert Robert S. Dow ’69 will each receive an honorary Doctor of Science.
Come July, Yactayo and Robalino will start out for new lives in cities far from home. Robalino will be based in Dallas, where he will be an associate consultant installing, configuring and maintaining a range of Microsoft products from cloud computing services to project management software. Yactayo will work in Reston, Va., just outside of Washington, D.C., where he will also be an account manager and consultant.
“We’ll be dealing with CIOs and CEOs in some cases,” Yactayo noted, adding that they may begin their Microsoft journeys with a glimpse of the founder himself – former chairman Bill Gates – at the company’s Global Exchange in Atlanta this summer, to which new hires have been invited. They will continue there for a month of training and networking following the conference.
Robalino, who acknowledged he’d been fretting about the coming job hunt and already contemplating what he called “plan Z” – teaching English in Japan – if nothing turned up, believes his and Yactayo’s success hinged on a couple of factors.
“I think it’s partly because we have both technical and communications skills. Microsoft interviewers told us they were looking for people who are able to explain technology to people who are less technologically focused,” he said, adding that solid IT experience in internships at technology companies, including his recent work at Whippany-based Herley CTI as a helpdesk technician, was also a huge plus. And engineering projects, such as work on a robotic arm in a senior capstone project, “helped me learn to be fast on my feet and defend my ideas,” he noted.
Yactayo, who interned at both Coty, Inc. and Panasonic, also credits NJIT’s Office of Career Development Services with helping him burnish his professional image.
“Someone from Johnson & Johnson came in two years ago and looked at my resume and talked to me about how to build it. The mock interviews we conducted were also really helpful,” he recalled.
Both seniors are girding themselves for hard work to come, which will be like “drinking from a fire hose,” as Yactayo anticipates, but they are also confident that they will succeed and advance.
“I’m already thinking about moving into engineering management. I expect to learn a lot at the company and to grow within it,” Yactayo said, noting that his mother, who moved to the U.S. from Peru before he was born, burst into tears when he told her about his new job. “I’m the first one in the family to go to college and she’s very proud of my achievements.”
“I’m looking forward to traveling more and experiencing things that are new,” says Robalino, who has already begun discussing his move with a Microsoft relocation specialist and scouting out apartments in Dallas. He, too, is looking to move into management. He and Yactayo both plan to take advantage of career development workshops Microsoft offers as part of its two-year Academy of College Hires program, and both hope to earn master’s degrees in the near future. They expect to do well enough that they will receive company support to continue their education.
“Microsoft is also changing – rebooting in a way – and that’s exciting, too,” Robalino says. “We’re the new people brought in to be a part of that.”
The 2014 Commencement ceremony will feature remarks from NJIT President Joel S. Bloom and a keynote address by Clement Alexander Price, Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor of History, Rutgers University-Newark Campus, and Director of the Rutgers Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience, who will also receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. AECOM Executive Chairman John M. Dionisio and distinguished financial expert Robert S. Dow ’69 will each receive an honorary Doctor of Science. For more information on NJIT’s 98th Commencement, visit the Commencement website: http://commencement.njit.edu/
NJIT, New Jersey’s science and technology university, enrolls approximately 10,000 students pursuing bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 127 programs. The university consists of six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, College of Architecture and Design, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, College of Computing Sciences and Albert Dorman Honors College. U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 Annual Guide to America’s Best Colleges ranked NJIT in the top tier of national research universities. NJIT is internationally recognized for being at the edge in knowledge in architecture, applied mathematics, wireless communications and networking, solar physics, advanced engineered particulate materials, nanotechnology, neural engineering and e-learning. Many courses and certificate programs, as well as graduate degrees, are available online through the Division of Continuing Professional Education.