Hector Henriquez’s take on IT’s rising influence in Alberta
In the midst of a busy Friday afternoon, Hector Henriquez is en route to the IT server room on the third floor of the north building at Bow Valley College. After taking just a few steps out of the elevator, an instructor catches a glimpse of him and ignites with a grin and a wave.
“Hector!” she exclaims. “We’re planning a virtual reality seminar for our class next week, would you be able to help us set everything up?”
While still mid-handshake, Henriquez has already enthusiastically agreed. Sure, he has plenty of work to do, but he’s still always ready to help the next person who asks. As a Desktop Analyst at Bow Valley College’s IT Department for more than five years, his love for his job has only grown.
“It’s fulfilling work,” he says with a smile. “It’s nice to help people out, because that’s really what I do here. People do remember you when you help them out, and they’re really appreciative of the work, so that always keeps me going — and I always enjoy it.”
As businesses across the city, province and world continue to move deeper into the digital age, there is an increasing demand for IT professionals across the board. A team at Bow Valley College took notice of that demand three years ago and began looking for a way to supply that talent for Albertan companies.
This demand laid the groundwork for Bow Valley College’s latest endeavor: the new Information Technology Systems (ITS) Diploma, which launches in August.
The team behind the new program spent months consulting with businesses in the province to uncover what they needed before working it into the curriculum.
One of the project developers, Jeff Clemens, said the major take-away was that all companies were in need of IT professionals. Specifically, they needed graduates who were trained in the latest programming, cloud and cyber security technology.
“There is such a big need in the overall industry,” he says. “They needed graduates who had these newer skills and knew programming languages. That’s what we’re doing here in this program.”
Staying on top of the latest technology is something Henriquez understands well. Since he started at Bow Valley College in 2013, he’s spent countless hours adapting to changes in technology and tackling ever-changing ransomware threats.
“Sometimes you might do things for people that make you look like a magician,” he laughs. “But other times it’s more complicated than that. It’s about staying on top of things and rolling with the punches.”
Prior to attending Bow Valley College, Henriquez spent years working in labour positions as a roofer and laying cement. He realized he wanted to turn a lifelong love of electronics and tech into his work, so he went to school to turn his career around.
“It was a passion for me from the beginning,” he says, recalling that when he was five years old and his father bought him a computer, Henriquez quickly learned the different command lines and how to get into all the games he wanted to play. “Loving IT and loving computers is key to this career. You need to enjoy your work and have a passion for it, because it does takes work, but it’s such a worthwhile job and really fulfilling work.”
Henriquez is excited to see the program launch this fall, adding that it will open doors for more IT workers to get a leg-up in the province.
“I see IT becoming more accessible as technology advances,” he said. “Having IT is 100 per cent essential in every organization, so I think more and more people will have the chance to be a part of the field.”