Troubleshooting and Teamwork: What It’s Like to be a Part-Time Student IT Analyst for John Deere

Meet Brandon, who came to WIU-QC after serving in the military and beginning his college career in the Pacific Northwest. After getting married, returning to his hometown, and transferring to WIU-QC, Oleson has been a student worker in the Office of the Vice President for Strategic Planning and Initiatives on campus, in addition to pursuing his studies and the John Deere Part-Time Student position. 

Name: Brandon Oleson
Hometown: Geneseo, IL
WIU-QC Major: Information Systems

Brandon Oleson, a young man in jeans and a sweater posing in front of new John Deere machinery at the John Deere Pavilion.

Brandon Oleson, an Information Systems major at WIU-QC, poses during Fall 2018 at the John Deere Pavilion, Moline.

“I was a little nervous about starting, just like anyone would be, but I had a lot of helpful people show me the ropes my first day and felt welcomed right away. It made me excited about working there going forward.”


1. What is your job title, and where do you work? When did you start? 

I am a Part Time Student IT Analyst at John Deere. I started in June 2018. My projected end date is July 2019, when I receive my bachelor’s degree in Information Systems.

2. How (if at all) does your job relate to your major or classes?
Some of the concepts that I’ve learned in my IS classes have helped me grasp and understand ideas and processes that John Deere utilizes faster.

3. How did you hear about the opportunity?
Some fellow classmates had started working in Part Time Student positions with John Deere, and I heard about the process of applying through them.

4. Can you summarize the process you went through to apply for, and receive, the position?
I applied through the John Deere website. I was then called for an interview where I did two interview sessions in one day, with two different groups of interviewers. They called me a few weeks later and I was offered the job.

5. How did you feel on the first day or upon entering the work site for the first time?
On the first day, I had to go to John Deere Headquarters first thing to fill out HR paperwork and get issued my badge. That was a little intimidating just because it’s the world headquarters. I was a little nervous about starting later in the day at my actual location, just like anyone would be, but I had a lot of helpful people show me the ropes my first day and felt welcomed right away. It made me excited about working there going forward.

6. What are some of your duties and responsibilities? How do they fit into the bigger picture at the company?
We are responsible for troubleshooting major incidents that occur within John Deere’s IT infrastructure. This is done by working with other teams across John Deere.

7. What is the most important skill or task you’re learning on the job?
How to effectively communicate and drive a conversation with multiple people at once and to be able to convey your ideas using technical wording effectively.

8. What’s your favorite thing about the job?
There are always new challenges that vary from day to day. You get to communicate with different people from teams all across John Deere. You also get to help people solve issues and they are usually very grateful for it, which makes you feel good.

9. What’s one thing that has surprised you about it?
How even if you don’t have the technical expertise needed for the job, if you give your best attempt, your coworkers are usually happy to help you out. It’s more of a helpful and teamwork based environment instead of an isolated and “figure it out yourself” type environment.

10. Would you like to see yourself continuing to work for this company or in this type of job after graduation?
Absolutely. I have the opportunity to apply for the Employee Development Program or apply internally after graduation. I will most definitely do that and I believe that this Part Time Student position will have set me up for an opportunity to get hired on as a full-time employee.

11. What advice would you give to someone in your major who might be looking for this same type of opportunity?
Apply to as many internships and part time student positions as you can. This will allow you to get your foot in the door and make it much easier to transition into a job after graduation. Even if you don’t meet all of the requirements of the job listing, still apply anyway. The fact that you took the leap and applied is really all a company is looking for. They don’t expect you to have all of the technical knowledge needed. As long as you work hard and try your best, they will be satisfied with that. The technical knowledge will come with work experience anyways, and you can’t get that if you don’t apply.

young male students having a conversation on a college campus

Oleson chats with a fellow Information Systems student during a study break in the Riverfront Hall atrium.



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