While Information Technology openings in the Sacramento-metro area dipped slightly between December 2013 and 2014, the Employment Development Department projects 27 percent job growth for computer systems analysts from 2012 to 2022. Industries employing IT specialists span virtually every sector of the California economy.

(Photo Courtesy of Travis Meadows)

(Photo Courtesy of Travis Meadows)

Sacramento resident Travis Meadows, now a staff programmer analyst for the State of California Department of Consumer Affairs, did not start out thinking of a career in technology. Instead, he spent most of his youth as a senior deckhand, working and supervising others, for his father’s fishing business in Alaska.

Meadows’ initial collegiate experience was less than successful. “I just wasn’t interested at the time,” he says, and as a result was “kicked out of Chico State.” He continued working in the very fast-paced and high-pressure world of commercial fishing, until the industry took something of a downturn.

A re-training grant for fishermen lured him to community college, where his very first class, Programming for Engineers, solidified his goals. “I realized this is what I want to do,” says Meadows, describing himself as a “hands-on guy” who loves creative problem solving. He had always enjoyed fixing electronics, including tools used by commercial fishermen.

Meadows went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in computer science, with a concentration on software education and databases, from California State University Sacramento. Prior to his current position with the State, Meadows worked as an IT specialist for the California District Attorney’s Association.

The most challenging courses he took were on computer theory and operating system principles, Meadows says, “Getting down to the bare bones of how computers work.” He excelled in school, and notes that he particularly enjoys the programming aspect of his profession.

Meadows’ IT projects have included collaborating on an automated fingerprint program and an application tracking system, performing program testing and debugging of coding languages and on designing, developing and implementing an extensive web-based application for a nonprofit agency.

Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers animals and community issues. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations helping animals and people. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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