As a high school senior at Scranton Preparatory School who loved both computers and cooking, Salvatore Zaydon was torn on what he wanted to do after graduation. However, after seeing a Johnson College Open House banner and deciding to attend the event, he knew he belonged on campus. “As soon as I met Mr. Polinsky, I said ‘Alright, I know I want to go to Johnson,’” the 25-year-old Dickson City native says. “He was a fun, bubbly guy who you could tell had a bunch of knowledge but also had a lot of fun while teaching it.“
Zaydon graduated in 2013 with an Associate of Science degree in Computer Information Technology. After Johnson College, he moved on to SUNY Polytechnic Institute where he earned his Bachelor’s in Computer Information Systems in 2015. He now works as a Software Engineer for Learning Services at IBM Security where he helps customers and business partners learn how to best utilize their IBM Security software.
“Johnson College gave me a focus,” explains Zaydon, “It helped me figure out what I enjoyed and what I actually wanted to do. I knew I liked computers but I didn’t know what aspect I enjoyed. It was nice to be able to get that foundation and figure out what I wanted to build upon in the future.”
His interest in computers and technology started at a very young age. He recalls fondly that when the computer in his family home would break, he was the one who would fix it as his siblings stood by baffled. “[Fixing computers] surprisingly came fairly easily to me, and I enjoyed doing it. I figured, I wanted to go online and play a game so, I may as well try and fix the problem,” he says.
Finding solutions to technological problems is something that he continues to do in his career today. Zaydon says that he loves his job because it allows him to find solutions to one of the computer industry’s biggest roadblocks- security. “It’s pretty cool because you see a vulnerability that comes out and someone, like a bank, gets hacked and you’re sitting there saying ‘we could have avoided that,’” he says.
Zaydon’s passion for and extensive knowledge of computers has also allowed him to give back to organizations that have made an impact on his life. As an Eagle Scout, Zaydon now tries to stay active with his former Troop 322 (chartered by the Dickson City Community Ambulance Association) as a troop leader and the troop’s Webmaster.
When discussing what values and advice he would share with Johnson College students today, Zaydon recalls something he was taught by Johnson College’s Computer Information Technology Department Chair and Instructor, Joe Polinsky, “If you get to the end of a project or have a problem and hit your solution, but there is still a little bit more that you can do to make it even better- do it. It’ll look better, and you’re doing a disservice to yourself if you do the bare minimum.” These values have certainly benefited him as he began his professional career, first in Philadelphia and now in Harrisburg.
For more information on the Computer Information Technology program, please click here.