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Derek Sodja

Derek Sodja

Q: What's your name? What degree did you receive? When did you graduate?
A: My name is Derek Sojda. I'm a 2010 grad with an MLIS and Graduate Certificate in Information Management.

Q: What other degrees do you have and where are they from?
A: I have a bachelor's degree in history from Oakland University. I am currently working on a second Masters in User Experience Design at Kent State University.

Q: Why did you choose Wayne State School of Library and Information Science?
A: When I came into the program, I never wanted to work in a library, but I wanted to apply the skills that were taught in the program and apply them in the world of technology. This philosophy made me a little different but I was able to focus on the Information Management and more technology oriented side of the program, which I recommend.

Q: What was your area of concentration?
A: Information Management. I wanted to work in information technology. There is so much data and information on the web that is hard to find and poorly presented. The skills that the librarian uses can be applied to the realm of the internet and online applications to make information far more accessible and useful.

Q: Where/What class format did you use for most of your classes? Why?
A: I took all the basic courses on campus, but since many of the more technology oriented classes for the Information Management Certification were online, that is how I had to take them.

Q: Are you active in any student/professional organizations?
A: I am a member of the International Institute of Business Analysis and will the joining the Information Architecture Institute.

Q: How has your involvement in student/professional organizations impacted your SLIS and professional experience?
A: Volunteering, internships, and networking have all helped me make connections which are crucial to standing out and meeting people who can help you in the future.

Q: Are you currently doing any library related work? If so, how has the program prepared you for it?
A: Some of the library related work I do is: Organize documents through metadata, taxonomies, information architecture, and content management strategies. The program prepared me for this by teaching me proper methods of classification and critical thinking in regards to information management. I also learned a great deal about project management in the SLIS program.

Q: What were you most proud of in library school? What are most proud of now that you are in the profession?
A: In my first job interview, the interviewer asked me to classify something for him, anything, and left the room. I was sweating, nervous, it was my first interview! I was able to classify the furniture in the room by materials, use, etc. He returned and told me "you'd be surprised but not many people can do this". That was something that really validated my library experience, and where I was coming from, what I wanted to do and how I could transfer my skills into this field.

What I took away from my MLIS was that I can transfer the skills learned in the program into information technology. Even skills like analysis, research, critical thinking, and communication are especially useful. Librarians are very outgoing, like to work with others and very hands-on. This is crucial to companies, with collaboration, Web 2.0, Google/Facebook work setup, etc.). This degree differentiates from the HTML guys, the coders, not that there's anything wrong with that, they're great people!

Q: Was there a professor who really impacted your journey into librarianship?
A: I recommend John Heinrichs, if you've never had him.

Q: Since graduating from this program, what do you feel is the most important or surprising thing you've learned about the library and information science profession?
A: How well it can transition into non-conventional realms as long as companies/organizations recognize its value.

Q: Do you feel you were well prepared for a career in the library and information profession?
A: Yes, my first job interview, I had to do a task with classification and it is something that validated my library experience.

Q: What professional accomplishments have you achieved since graduating from the program?
A: I have worked on various large, business critical, and often difficult projects for various companies and I despite the roadblocks and problems in each project, I have completed the project with my team and learned new skills in the process.

Q: What advice would you give to someone considering [Wayne's] SLIS as their library school? A: Volunteer, do internships, and network! All it takes is that one person to recognize that your skills are different and applicable and offer that out of the box thinking to get going

Carve out your niche and embrace it. Don't hesitate to think outside of the box-don't wear blinders. Be confident with the skills you bring and who you are. Constant learning: work in an environment that wants you to keep learning, wants you to get certification, has the tools for you to learn new technologies, and different languages. The internet is still incredibly new, and has a lot of issues and as we approach Web 2.5, 3.0, there's going to be a lot more changes, things will get better. I find a lot of problems with poor web design, information architecture, and content. These are all things you can learn here in this program, and translate into the real world.