An Accidental Career: How I Got Started in IT

Chris Bayot

by Chris C. Bayot on 6/28/2015

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Hawaii SharePoint User Group, how I got started in IT, Synergy

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Chris speaking at a SharePoint Saturday event in Hawaii.

Like many of my female colleagues, I did not set out to be a geek. I headed off to college as a starry-eyed 18-year-old to become a clinical psychologist so that I could find a rewarding career helping those who were struggling. While completing my undergraduate education, I worked as a preschool teacher and met the man of my dreams, who I married shortly after graduation. At that point, graduate studies seemed less important than being a wife and eventually becoming a mother.

I graduated with a job as the Director of an Early Childhood Education Center waiting for me and began life as a grown up with a new career and a new husband. I enjoyed the work and life with my new husband and found myself expecting my first child. I had all I dreamed of – a rewarding career, a beautiful family, and just to make you a little jealous, I was living this wonderful life in Hawaii. However, by the time son #2 was on the way, I was reconsidering the need to “have it all.”

Work and home were both rewarding, but I decided that a challenging career supporting high-needs families while I had a young family of my own was more than this fledgling mom was up for. I took a downgrade in the Civil Service system to become a secretary. This allowed me to maintain my benefits while stepping into a job that was truly 9-5 and would allow me to come home with some energy left for my family at the end of the day.

This was great for a few years and allowed me to be present for my boys while they were little. However, boredom set in after a while and I found myself looking for ways to challenge myself within the job I held. As it turns out, the guys in IT were happy to pass basic troubleshooting tasks to me so that I could directly support the Admiral for whom I worked. It did not take long to figure out that not only did I have an aptitude for IT, but I also loved learning how it all came together.

I was fortunate that the Admiral recognized both my aptitude and that his Command was in need of a presence on the newly growing World Wide Web. With his support, I left Civil Service to become a contractor and moved downstairs to work in IT as the Command’s first Webmaster, never having built a single Web page!

I attended a course titled Web Week, which taught the basics of creating a website including basic HTML and I got to work. Through a lot of self-study, a significant amount of trial and error and by scouring a number of DoD Web forums, I launched the Command’s first website. The IT staff took me under their wing, continued to educate me on the Command’s infrastructure and a new passion was born.

I moved from my first Webmaster position to work at another Command where collaboration was the big buzzword. That led to me heading up an installation of SharePoint 2003, which meant a new round of self-education and culminated in being hired by Synergy.

When I joined Synergy in February 2007 as a consultant and trainer, I was able to return to my roots as a teacher while feeding my passion for technology. By mid-2009, I was running the Hawaii Region for Synergy and have been happily steering the ship since then.

Today I lead the Hawaii SharePoint User Group, have chaired four SharePoint Saturday events and work with customers such as the Bank of Hawaii, Hawaiian Airlines, the City and County of Honolulu and the U.S. Army Pacific Command. For the record, my babies are now 20 and 22 and my husband and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary this year. All in all, I’m pretty happy with how it all panned out.

Topic: How I Got Started in IT

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