- Emily Norman

Term : May, 2015
Department : Business and Management
Program : Human Resource MGMT, Project and Program Management, Information Technology

Emily Norman discovered UCSC Extension’s Human Resource Management and Information Technology courses during the height of the Great Recession—a point in her life where she had to evaluate her own professional interests and needs. As a seasoned professional with more than 30 years of collective experience in IT, project management, business management and systems development, Norman recognized that in order to compete, she’d have to gain insight not only into emerging trends in IT, but also into the hiring process itself. Norman now works as an IT and Electronic Health Record (EHR) manager in healthcare, an industry that is actively transitioning its medical records online to promote patient safety and operational efficiency.  

What brought you to UCSC Extension?

I lost my job in IT during the recession. No one was hiring during the downturn of the economy. The few jobs that were available at that time required skills that I did not have. When I started taking classes at UCSC Extension, the new technology that I had attained gave me tremendous amount of encouragement to pursue jobs that I was interested in doing. As a lifetime learner, UCSC Extension was one of the best places to go to extend my knowledge.

What courses stood out to you?

The HR instructors were extremely experienced and they shared a lot of role-play scenarios for us to practice. In “Interviewing for Success: Using Structured Interview Techniques,” the instructor was a subject expert about structured interviews. He offered different scenarios that forced us to see an interview from both the interviewer and the interviewee’s perspectives. I learned that an HR manager’s essential job is not just about the employees, but about protecting the company from potential harm.

The “VMware vSphere: Configuration and Management” was a really excellent course. The exercises and the curriculum were comprehensive. Each student was assigned two to three virtual servers to practice VMware configuration exercises. The instructor was prompt in answering questions, and students helped each other through online discussion forums. I learned a great deal in that course. I appreciated the opportunities to learn each session thoroughly from homework practices on virtual online servers.

The “PMP® Examination Preparation: 35 Hour” instructor was a subject matter professional on A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide)- Fifth Edition, Project Management Institute, Inc., 2013. Students were given simulation exercises each week, and the instructor went over the project integration management, knowledge areas and process groups thoroughly. 

Have you been able to apply new skills at work?

My company is just now implementing VMware, so I have a chance to use it. From time to time I mentioned to the director of Information Technology in my organization on the effectiveness of using VMware. I kept showing it to my boss, saying “We need to use this!” Now we have the server and are in the process of implementing VMware. UCSC Extension did a good job of helping me with my direction.

My experience at UCSC Extension, in all of my classes, shone like a beacon of hope and opportunity during unemployment, as well as in good times. I still come here even now that I have a good job because I know when it comes to learning new technology, UCSC Extension is the place to go.

What trends do you see emerging in your field?

Right now, and perhaps over the next five to ten years, there are and will be a lot of opportunities in healthcare. The transformation from paper-record systems to Electronic Health/Medical Record (EHR/EMR) systems will affect almost everyone working in the healthcare industry–from clinicians, administrators, IT, managers, engineers, clerks, to even patients themselves. At the present moment, although there are a lot of jobs available in healthcare, there is also a talent gap so many positions might be not filled easily.

 Healthcare is transforming into a digital world. It’s similar to what the business sector went through in the 1980s. At that time, I was a computer programmer analyst. Now I implement electronic health record systems. It was almost like seeing computer technology in a full cycle.

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