City’s tech department helps teens learn about digital infrastructure

As a student at Queens Vocational and Technical High School, Amanda Marte already had training and education on some of the latest tech-related equipment and programs, but she wanted to learn in a real-world situation.

“I didn’t want to sit at a screen all day, I want to see how [my studies] can actually be used,” the 17-year-old student from Rego Park said.

The city’s Department of Information Technology helped to wet her tech appetite this summer as part of its internship program that hired 47 teens across the city into various departments.

Amanda, who is one of five DoITT interns taking part in the Bank of America CTE Summer Scholars program, has been working in the telecom department and learning from the team that handles interagency radios. The nonemergency radios help city workers communicate during large-scale events, like last month’s ticker-tape parade for the U.S. women’s soccer team.

“The infrastructure support is part of many radio systems,” explained Henry Lukacik, director of CRN Network Opps for DoITT. “The radio [frequencies] cover all of New York City.

As part of her day-to-day duties, Amanda has been doing lab experiments on actual radio equipment the city uses. She’s also tested on what to do in various scenarios based on which city agency needs to use the system.

“It feels great, because in school I work on packet traces and I don’t work with the actual switches,” said Amanda, who will begin her senior year in the fall.

Lukacik said the internship is a fantastic opportunity for city teens to get involved in the growing tech industry. The sector employs close to 300,000 people in the city and generates billions for the Big Apple.

Amanda said the work she’s done so far has helped to ignite her interest in technology and startup and she’s think of furthering her studies at the college level.

She added that her career pursuit is also making a difference in diversifying the industry. A study by Silicon Valley Bank earlier in the year found that 45% of U.S. tech companies have no women on their boards, and the city has been pushing to get more minorities into STEM programs.

“I realize there aren’t that many females in the industry and it helps open doors to my friends. Once they see one person do it, they might want to follow me,” Amanda said.

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