HSCC Alumni, Khalif Oliver
BDPA was great for me. It was one of the best things I have been involved in. I started back when we used B.A.S.I.C and QBASIC, and was able to translate this experience to Visual BASIC and using MS Access. Though I got my degree in Engineering in 2004 [from Virginia Tech], the IT skills I learned in BDPA-Richmond have gotten me very far. Just last week, my manager called me into his office and the first words out of his mouth were, "You know Access, right?" At one of my internships I built a database and used VB to make a new application to house the ENTIRE computer inventory of one of the top 2 aluminum producing companies in the world, thus saving them $100,000/month. This would not have been possible without my 4 years in the HSCC.
Finishing in the top ten was great in the competition, and also winning the national t-shirt design competition was amazing. But the biggest thing I took away from the program was the networking. Among others, I was fortunate enough to meet and get to know Earl Pace when he came to speak to BDPA Richmond and I was honored to be able to introduce him. I have always kept in contact with the people I met through BPDA, though I am in engineering and most of them kept with IT.
I am an Engineer by title--I just got a new position at the US Postal Service National Headquarters in DC. But a lot of my role will be developing and supporting data analysis programs and IT tools for the whole company to use. An engineer with an IT background and good interpersonal skills is a dangerous commodity in working world. I have already mentioned the computer skills I have gained, and the only thing that rivals the BDPA Conference in terms of networking is my fraternity and attending the Omega Psi Phi National Conclaves. In summary, networking and competing with BDPA has given me a great foundation on which to stand and build myself professionally and personal. Thanks BDPA!