When Opportunity Knocked. . .
When it comes to your typical, smaller software development and data management companies, sometimes it’s hard to see what advancement opportunities they might offer. However, when it comes to BIS, there’s nothing typical about what goes on – and the word “small,” well, it’s one of those terms that’s likely to get you clotheslined!
That’s why last month – when Raven McCutcheon earned her degree from nearby University of Central Oklahoma – when she was approached by BIS about the next phase in career (and life), she didn’t wait for it to pass her by – the door opened, and Raven flew through.
Raven has been with BIS for five years, starting in records services (now the 4D Center at BIS) where she worked three days a week as a data entry and scanning specialist. She says it was a great job and the schedule allowed her to also focus on her studies. In December, Raven earned her degree from UCO and when she was asked to go from part-time to full-time, she says she didn’t even have to think twice. It just seemed like the logical thing to do.
Born in Oklahoma City and raised in Meeker, Raven and her family moved to Newalla when she was in high school. The “country girl” says she was raised on four-wheelers and dirt bikes – but has traded in those modes of transportation – and today can be seen riding her Indian Scout with her family (whom she calls her ‘tribe’) on weekends.
Between riding with family, finishing her degree, and going full-time with BIS, we had the chance to catch up to Raven to ask her a few questions about her experience in school…working at BIS…and what she thinks her future holds.
BIS: Tell us what you earned your degree in?
RM: I have an associate’s degree in applied science, and I earned my bachelor’s degree in general studies.
BIS Tell us about working at BIS and the different positions you’ve had.
RM: I have worked at BIS for five years. When I first started, I was in Records Services. I started working part-time three days a week and went to school the other two days. I was a data entry clerk, as well as scanning or anything else that was needed.
The schedule allowed me to not only earn money for college – but take the time I needed for my studies. Working at BIS, I was able to blend my work with the needs of earning a degree.
BIS: And you’ve moved on from the 4D Center, what do you currently do at BIS?
RM: I am currently the Quality Assurance Tester for Grooper. I work closely with the development team to try to make Grooper – already a great product – even better by testing it in different scenarios.
BIS: How would you describe BIS as a place to work for new graduates?
RM: BIS is a great place to work for a new graduate because we are a growing software development and technology company that is constantly changing with the times. One reason to work here is because we have a lot of employees who can teach a student, a new employee, and especially a recent graduate a lot of new skills. Our company gives people the room to grow and learn every single day.
BIS. Tell us about the education you received at UCO.
RM: UCO is a great college – affordable and an amazing school. The instructors are great and personable. The atmosphere at the school makes everyone feel like they have a second family. UCO wants to help their students learn, and become better academically and in life. I really enjoyed getting my bachelor’s degree there, and if I consider getting a masters, UCO will be the first college I consider.
BIS: What advice would you give to others who work and attend school?
RM: Just to stick with it. It might be hard now, but it is worth it in the end. It is worth it to work and not have to pay back student loans. You can always sleep later, and online classes will help. I was able to work more by taking online classes versus attending classes 100-percent on-campus.
BIS: What are your career aspirations…what do you want to be one day?
RM: I honestly do not know what I want to be “when I grow up.” I feel like I have a lot of time to decide that, and right now I am happy where I am. This journey with BIS feels like the right one, and who knows where it will take me. Like I said, we are always changing and doing things differently. For the immediate future, I want to learn as much about our software and technology as possible while repaying the investment BIS made in me.
Of course, being able to be there for my family is my Number One priority right now. Beyond that, I want to grow as an individual. I love to learn new things…and traveling more was my New Year’s resolution.
BIS: Did you live at home while attending school? Or did you bust out on your own?
RM: I chose to work as much as possible and stay at home with my parents because I refused to have student loans or debt. To this day I have paid for all of my school myself and have no debt or loans.
Note: According to a 2017 study by The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS), 68% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduated with student loan. The average was $30,100 per borrower. In Oklahoma, the average amount is nearly $25,000. Congratulations Raven!
BIS: If you could change anything about your experience working while obtaining your degree what, if anything, would it be?
RM: I think that my experience with working while attending college was very successful. I was lucky enough to have a boss who let me change my schedule every semester and supported me obtaining an education while working.
The only thing that made it hard, was the fact that I live in the country. So, I did – and still do – a lot of driving. However, I chose to stay home because I did not want that debt or those student loans. So, the only thing I would change might be to try and talk my parents into moving closer to make it easier.
BIS: So, you’re a new grad with some New Year’s resolutions to travel. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go…and why?
RM: Bali or Africa. Bali for the ocean and Africa for the giraffes!
Raven’s experience at BIS is an example of why the company continues to be named a “Best Places to Work.” As BIS continues to enhance its employee benefits and human resources activities, we encourage you to check out the available openings by visiting www.bisok.com/careers.