Got a network problem? Call on her to solve it.

Meeting Rosalia Vaccaro, it’s clear she knows how to do her job. She’s quiet and low-key, warm and friendly, but she exudes professionalism and competence. And that’s just what you’d want from a Telecom Network Analyst for CN – the Canadian National Railway Company.

Starting out

How did she get there? Well by the time she finished high school Rosalia Vaccaro knew she liked computers and wanted to study Computer Science Technology. Even though she was missing math prerequisites, she didn’t let that stop her. She applied to Vanier College in the Communications program and got started on her Cegep studies while taking one prerequisite math course over the summer and the other in the fall.

Why Computer Science

“I chose Computer Science because I wanted to do something outside my comfort zone,” Rosalia explains. “I didn’t want to be a follower and go into Social Science like a lot of my friends. I’d also done tests in high school with my guidance counsellor that showed I’d be good in computer science or business administration.”

“I did my stage at CN and I was lucky – I got paid. That’s rare with a stage. Then when I graduated CN hired me. For four years I worked as a contractor. I worked hard and was very well paid, but I never knew if I’d have a job from one year to the next. At the same time I was studying at night at McGill working towards a certificate in System Analysis and Design. That took three years to complete.  Then, CN restructured and I was hired full time. My manager liked me and they saw potential in me.”

Training on the job

“When I started at CN I found the program at Vanier was great because it gave me a foundation, but I’ve learned everything on the job. At one point the company decided that one of my colleagues who did networking needed a back-up. He was the only one doing that job and if anything happened to him… well you can imagine. So they decided I would be it. In six months I had to grasp what he had learned in 26 years!”

I’m still doing networking. I take care of firewalls. I troubleshoot and solve internet problems. Now I’m training to configure CISCO devices like routers and switches. The company is great that way. They send you to take courses to get the tools you need to do your job.

People skills are important

I work with about fifty or sixty people. It’s a very interesting job. Every day I learn something new. People are also very social. We deal with users. Th at means we must all be very interactive and sociable. Communication is a big part of our job. We must be able to discuss issues to solve problems. This is not a job for people who are anti-social.

Find out what’s out there

There are a lot of possibilities for Computer Science grads in e-commerce. But they all require interacting with customers. A lot of people are verbal – they talk. So you need to know how to talk with them. Emails just don’t always work. The field of computers is so vast. There are all kinds of jobs – web design, networking, M.S. certification. My advice to young people is talk to people to find out what’s out there. School is only the beginning. Computer Science was absolutely the right program for me. I enjoy what I do every day!

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