Beyond the Degree: Down to a Science
David Andrade, who took a winding path from engineering to teaching, shares how he landed in his ‘dream job’ as a chief information officer.
Photo credit: Kate Eisemann.
His father was a chemist, but on Saturdays the man became Mr. Fix It. He’d tinker under the hood of the family car, caulk a tub, and patch a hole that his daughter inexplicably made in the wall with a vacuum cleaner.
As a child, David Andrade ’08 followed his father around on Saturdays in Milford, Connecticut, eagerly sopping up the lessons his dad was happy to impart. And when the rounds were done, then-12-year-old Andrade would sit down with his clock radio and take it apart, then put it back together again and again.
He was fascinated by how things were made, how they worked, and how quickly someone could learn so many of the answers with the help of a good teacher. So it makes sense that Andrade’s professional life would follow a similar trajectory—exploring one career path after another before finally landing in the perfect position that combines all of his skills.
He began as an aerospace engineer, then became a paramedic, an EMT instructor, a physics teacher, and an educational technology specialist before completing his MS in Education at Walden so he could go after his dream job. Andrade is now the chief information officer for the Bridgeport Public Schools in Connecticut.
There, he oversees the school system’s information technology department and advises on all projects that relate to technology. “This job has both the education and the technology side to it,” he says. “It puts everything together for me.”
On a daily basis, Andrade manages and runs the information technology department for the school system, assessing the need to upgrade equipment while working with academic staff to evaluate new educational products and software systems. He also trains teachers to use technology in the classroom and consults with district officials on how to incorporate technology renovation plans.
With his staff of 14, Andrade has brought 1,600 new desktop computers and 250 new Smart Boards to teachers and administrators, and 11,000 Chromebooks to the district’s high schools.
Though he has always been a techie—and a problem-solver thanks to his Eagle Scout training—he credits Walden with preparing him well for what he sees as his perfect job. “Everything I learned in classes has been used in some way in my new role,” he said. “At Walden, we had a project where we had to analyze different software and figure out how to pick what to use. And that’s what I do on a daily basis. Walden really teaches you how to think through each topic so you can apply similar decisions in the future.”
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