By Joan Weiner

What was once a hobby is now a career focus for Ian Bowers, a junior transfer student from Santa Cruz County.

Bowers was drawn to CSU Monterey Bay to pursue a degree in computer science and information technology because, he said, “I liked how the program is set up, and I liked the faculty. They’re all passionate about teaching and are really helpful.”

Since his father worked in the field, he grew up around computers. “I thought of it as a hobby, but about three years ago I started to put it together that this was what I could do for a career,” Bowers said.

He got a head start on that career when he landed a 12-week summer internship with Microsoft, an opportunity he learned of through the campus-based Monterey Bay Regional Academy of Computing Education.

The very competitive process involved a trip to Microsoft’s headquarters in Seattle. He had six separate hour-long interviews in a single day.

“It was intimidating because I was talking to students from schools all over the country, many of them from big schools,” Bowers said. “In my group of 12, two were from MIT.”

Bowers landed one of the coveted interships.

“I’ll be developing software, as well as creating tools that other developers will use to test software,” he said. “It’s an entry-level position, but it’s a good way to learn to be an engineer – to break things.”

Editor's Note: At the conclusion of his internship, Bowers got good news – once he graduates next May, he'll have a job waiting for him at Microsoft.