Temple IT rises toward the top in the nation

For its sixth year in a row, the university was named one of the Top 100 Best Places to Work in IT.

Despite Computer Services department taking a $1.3 million budget cut, Temple was named one of the Top 100 Best Places to Work in information technology, according to the annual survey by Computerworld.

Temple, which received this title six years in a row, improved 37 spots from last year in the overall rankings to No. 53 and was one of only six universities recognized in the survey. The University of Pennsylvania was chosen as the fifth best place to work in IT, respectively.

Assessments are based off company and employee surveys in five key areas of human resources: diversity, career development, retention, benefits and training.

Vice President of Computer and Financial Services Timothy O’Rourke said Temple employees receive “good health care and education benefits,” along with the opportunity to earn “market value salaries.”

O’Rourke attributed Computer Services’ continued success in part to increased funds for its training budget, which was in response to a previous employee survey. The department allotted roughly $2,100 to train each IT employee based on this year’s company survey, up from the $1,500 surveyed in 2009.

The IT department currently employs a little more than 240 staff members and hires about 300 students workers each semester, Marion Hansberry, manager of finance/accounting of the Computer Services, said.

“[Training] is important for us because we are a university, and because we are training our students to go out into the world. We have to be, in a lot of cases, on the frontlines of technology,” O’Rourke said. “So we need to keep our employees trained to be on the front lines of technology.”

Veronica Anderson, a junior architecture major, has worked at the computer consultant desk in the TECH Center for the past year. Anderson said she regularly helps students with printing and computer software, such as Adobe, skills she learned from her major.

“It’s pretty gratifying to be able to actually use some of the knowledge that I’ve actually gained from my classes at Temple,” Anderson said.

Computerworld stated that one of Temple’s assets is the TECH Center, which it called “the biggest state-of-the-art computer lab and teaching center in the country.”

The TECH Center accommodates more than 6,000 student-visits a day and close to one million a year, Gerald Hinkle, the executive director of Computer Services at the TECH Center, explained. In addition, the center’s help desk received more than 90,000 calls last year.

Hinkle said his department tries to evaluate itself by asking, “How can we change, going forward in the future, to improve the facility?”

He added that by using observations and student feedback, the staff is able to evaluate the “big picture” in order to adapt technology to better serve the student body’s needs.

“It’s fun to be on the leading edge of technology. It makes [Temple] a good place to work,” O’Rourke said. “There are a lot of things behind the scenes that are going on that make this place really interesting.”

Connor Showalter can be reached at connor.showalter@temple.edu.

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