Alumnus of the Month: November 2017
Michael Forbes '98
What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
During my senior year, I took a pottery class as an elective. It was enjoyable going through the learning process, at first fumbling with the clay and then at the end understanding how to make plates, cups, and bowls. I also enjoyed my experience with the Hofstra Gospel Ensemble and as president of the Information System Association. Being a part of both clubs taught me valuable lessons about working as a group to achieve a shared goal.
What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
My first job was with a 40-person dot-com that had a small IT staff. With this job, I gained valuable experience supporting a variety of systems like servers, routers, and backup equipment that most entry-level IT professionals might not normally touch. In this role, I was able to introduce new systems to the organization that helped bring efficiency to our daily processes. The skills learned within this job helped position me for future opportunities.
What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
My field of specialty is IT networking and security. I developed an interest in IT after learning about the industry from two family members already in the field. After taking a few classes, I switched from majoring in political science to majoring in BCIS. I have been in this field ever since.
What advice would you give Hofstra students?
My advice is to seek opportunities that help build your skills for the career you want to pursue after graduation. This can be through campus jobs, online training, volunteer work, and assignments at local businesses. Keep your eyes out for summer internships posted online as early as December and January. Also, become involved in the great clubs and groups on campus to help build your network, develop friendships, and further your skills.
In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
How has your Hofstra degree helped you in your career?
The continuous advancement of technology has allowed new IT career opportunities to become available in areas like cybersecurity, cloud, project management and video streaming, to name a few. With these careers, it is essential to know some of the key concepts within networking, databases, web design, and programming. My Hofstra degree definitely gave me the foundation that is essential within this ever-changing IT field.
What does a typical day look like for you as a solutions engineer at NBC Sports?
At NBC Sports, I help design and support the video streaming infrastructure that allows our sporting events to be viewed online, on mobile devices, and with various OTT systems. A typical day involves participating in project meetings with colleagues around the world, utilizing cloud infrastructure to accomplish tasks, and mapping out the workflow depicting our customer’s video streaming infrastructure.
What is the single most rewarding/exciting experience in your career thus far?
One of the exciting experiences was working on the CNBC Mad Money TV show. Through this experience, I had an opportunity to travel the country to visit various college campuses and serve as the key technical assistant for Jim Cramer during his tours. Besides my work responsibilities, I found it impressive seeing how well prepared Jim was for every show and seeing him do each live recording in one take.
After earning a degree in business computer information systems (BCIS) at Hofstra, Michael Forbes has enjoyed a 20-year career in the technology field. He is currently a solutions engineer at NBC Sports Playmaker Media. Michael manages the design and support for video streaming infrastructure, which enables NBC business partners to deliver high-quality video content for sports and news on various platforms. Prior to joining NBC, Michael worked at H.J. Baker & Bro. Inc., as manager of IT. Michael played an instrumental role in building a systems infrastructure for this multinational manufacturing firm.
Michael’s prior experience includes three years at TheStreet.com working as senior systems engineer and directly supporting Jim Cramer. Michael holds certifications in various technologies such as Cisco and Microsoft, and is currently pursuing a security certification to become a CISSP.
He currently resides in Stamford, Connecticut, with his wife and daughter. Outside of work, he enjoys fishing, running, and competitive activities. Michael is a member of the Stamford Chapter of 100 Black Men, where he organizes community activities to benefit young men and women.