Computer science, let’s talk about IT


Alex Chen stands in the Botanical Garden at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif.
Photo By Laura Chen/The Bull

Eyes fixed to a monitor, mind in total focus, Alex Chen works attentively tapping away with all 10 fingers on a keyboard.

Chen, an instructional assistant for Information Technology (IA-IT), has worked at Pierce College since 2001. He has about six-to-eight different duties in his current position which he says he enjoys.

Chen has converted old Novell network technology within the computer science lab into simpler one to use.

“My responsibilities here are maintaining the lab, making sure they are fully updated, hardwares work, upgrade them when needed, installing servers, network,” Chen said.

Before holding a position at Pierce, Chen worked for UBS PaineWebber as a infrastructure manager. In addition, he earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from New York University.

“I went into the computer field not because I wanted to graduate with a degree in computer [science], but because I thought it was fun, easy for me to do, a simplest way to graduate, get a job and pay off loans,” Chen said.

Chen raised in Argentina became fluent in three languages, Spanish, Mandarin, and Taiwanese. His language skills opened up opportunities for him.

“For over twenty-something years, I’ve been an apartment manager,” Chen said. “Basically I’m like a landlord. I’m also a general contractor.”

According to Hester Han, Chen’s wife, he is very responsible and a considerate person. He is also a great leader in the community because of his numerous skills.

J.H. (Hank) Murphy, computer science professor, is someone who inspires him.

“We have a very good sense of humor between us and so we’re able to evaluate things,” Murphy said. “Alex is a great guy and a real asset to Pierce. He knows how to work the system, if he wasn’t here, it would be a lot more difficult for me.”

Luis Celada, computer science professor, has worked with Chen for about two years.

“Alex is very pleasant person to work with,” Celada said. “He’s very resourceful, always willing and with good a attitude.”

Outside of his job duties typing away or managing the computer lab, Chen aids an organization dedicated to cleaning the Los Angeles River, Murphy said.

“He is involved a lot with the clean-up of the L.A. River,”  Murphy said.

He also participates in dragon boat racing, a sport where you paddle with twenty other people.  Dragon boat racing, for the most part, is organized in Long Beach.

Five years from now Chen said he would to see himself in a support role for other schools.

“There are a few postings open, so we’ll see,” Chen said.