How One Graduate Found His Future in the Cloud

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“Lots of electives. Lots of options. In addition to corporate, you can do project management or the more technical. I gravitated toward the technical side.”
 

Nathan Hiscock, client innovation director for CleanSlate Technology Group in Carmel, Indiana is talking about Ball State University’s online master of science in information and communication science.   

 “Lots of opportunities for networking and building relationships. And the program is not so . . .” He winces before he says the word. “Not so . . . academic.” 

An Academic Program With Real-World Projects 

His point is that the online master’s in information and communication science is a classroom complete with industry challenges in real-time. You negotiate while collaborating with business professionals, faculty active in their industries, student peers in mid-career, and alumni who have proven themselves in the realm of management and technology leadership.

Nathan likes the fact that incoming students are required to have three years of work experience,  who, in his opinion, “have better mindsets and a certain level of professionalism.” 

“If you’re used to doing it a certain way,” he says, “it can be frustrating to work with someone who’s not producing.” 

As far as collaborating with alumni leaders, Nathan was already one of those alumni leaders when he enrolled. 

Earned His Bachelor’s in Computer Science 

After earning his Ball State bachelor of science in computer science in 1999, he worked in IT software services consulting for more than 20 years while also launching several businesses. 

But when weekly cross-country travel began creating more stress than he wanted early in his career, and with a second baby on the way, he realized “his higher calling as a father and husband took priority.” 

That’s why, in 2010, he established 3i Consulting, a technology consulting firm where Nathan was president, solutions architect, and creative ideator for more than a decade. 

In 2021, he decided to reinvent himself, pursue Ball State’s master’s program, and focus on the cloud practitioner curriculum to learn the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform and operate competently in that expanding technology environment.   

Cloud Technology Class Hooks Hiscock 

Ball State was the first university in the country to partner with  AWS Academy to deliver this curriculum. With his first class on cloud technology, Nathan was obsessed. 

After earning the foundational certificate as AWS Cloud Certified Practitioner, he completed certificates designated as AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate, AWS Business Professional, and AWS Cloud Economics. 

In addition to cloud technologies, the master’s also allowed Nathan to explore and develop leadership, communication, and technical skills relevant to today’s companies and organizations.  

Because faculty are actively engaged in creating career opportunities through the program’s active alumni association and industry partnerships, students like Nathan are provided career development workshops and faculty mentoring to help guide them to jobs that match their career ambitions.

Professors Guide Him to CleanSlate 

For Nathan, faculty recommended the position of client innovation director with CleanState. “I collaborated with my professors who by then knew me and my capabilities,” he says. 

Nathan is responsible for partnerships, solution packaging, presales, and demand generation for CleanSlate’s service products.  

“I engage partnerships, drive the pursuit process, provide technical presales support, lead training and seminars, train sales staff on service products, help market our products, build community, and recruit talent.” 

The master’s program couldn’t have been more central to his professional advancement for Nathan.  

“The program is more than just learning academic content,” he explains. “Sure, there’s plenty of that, but there’s also community. You learn about yourself. You gain new advisors with insight into your potential and partners in your future. Alumni believe in the program and bring you along as well.” 

Student/Police Officer Says Ball State Online “Has Made the Impossible Possible”

Even though Jason Boring planned to enroll in an online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice program, he liked the idea that Ball State was not hundreds of miles away. He had grown up in east central Indiana so he knew the university projected credibility.

An officer for New Castle Police Department, Boring was looking toward the day he would retire—at a young 45—and begin a second career in criminal justice.

With family responsibilities that include four children, he knew it would be impossible to study on campus or even attend full time online. But realizing it was time to finish his bachelor’s, he enrolled in Ball State’s online undergraduate degree in criminal justice and criminology in 2015.

Q: You’ve been pursuing your degree one class at a time, correct?

A: Being able to work on the online classes piecemeal has been a huge help. So I read a chapter, I do a quiz, then I take a test once the kids are in bed. My Kindle and the ease and mobility with which I can read my textbooks has greatly helped. Online classes allow me to take smaller bites, but still make very real progress on my degree. It has made the impossible possible. I am not in a particular hurry to graduate because I’ll be working 20 years to gain my pension.

Q: Have you had to adapt to online education?

A: This is the first experience I have had with online study. My main challenges have been adapting my learning style to a more self-reliant approach. Online study has been harder for me than having a professor and classroom time. Scheduling has been a struggle, too, due to my work and other family obligations. However, the professors have been very accessible to me via phone, text, e-mail. My advisors, too, have been very quick to help. They have helped me get the classes I need.

Q: What will your degree do for your second career?

A: I would like to transition my career from a police officer “on the street” to a management-related position within law enforcement, such as probation. I also enjoy teaching so I might go for my master’s and teach at a community college or at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy as well. Regardless of which particular field I enter after retirement, a BA degree from Ball State will help me greatly on my way. I think that it will strengthen my skill set and help open doors in the future.

At Turning Point, RN Finds Bachelor’s Completion Track

A missed promotion led Alma Ahmetovic to Ball State’s RN-to-BS nursing degree completion program, offered fully online, and a second chance at a job she wanted.

“I liked how well the professors explained the syllabus and course requirements and answered your email right away.”

FINDING THE RIGHT PROGRAM

When Alma Ahmetovic didn’t get promoted to director of nursing at the retirement home where she had worked for 14 years, it was a turning point in the RN’s career.

After conducting a bachelor’s degree search, Ahmetovic ventured into Ball State’s registered nurse to bachelor’s of science in nursing completion track, which is offered fully online.

“I didn’t know what to expect since I had been out of school for a few years and had never taken online classes before.”

FACULTY ADVISORS PROVIDE SUPPORT

Like many students new to the online experience, Ahmetovic was worried about fundamentals such as signing up for classes and submitting assignments and exams. But faculty and online advisors were there to provide support.

“The program was so organized,” she says. “I liked how well the professors explained the syllabus and course requirements and answered your emails right away. I never had to wait longer than a few hours or one day at the most.”

ANOTHER PROMOTION IN SIGHT

Ahmetovic completed her BSN in July of 2014, graduating cum laude.

But before she had even finished the program, the position of director of nursing became available again. To Ahmetovic, an offer of promotion was extended – and accepted. With her eyes on another promotion and at the encouragement of the nursing faculty, she is now pursuing the leadership and administration track of Ball State’s online master’s of science in nursing.

Ahmetovic is now director of health care services and she gives credit to Ball State professors: “I just loved my instructors. They wanted their students to learn, advance, and succeed.”

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