The National Society of Leadership and Success
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NSLS Member Finds Success as Vizient Software Engineer

By on Oct/01/2020

NSLS member Stephen Sladek as a high school student discovered he had a passion for building and programming computers. To build his own computer, he ordered parts and a book to guide him through the process.

“After I got the PC humming to life, I was instantly hooked on all things computer technology,” he said. “A couple of years later, I learned of an initiative called the “Hour of Code,” a campaign that motivates people to dedicate one hour towards trying out coding to see if it is for them. I tried it. It was for me.”

Sladek, a native of Gordonville, Missouri, decided to pursue his newfound passion at Southeast Missouri State University, graduating in 2019 with a Bachelor of General Studies and a minor in computer science.

The skills and knowledge he gained and honed at Southeast, allowed him to launch his career as a software engineer at Vizient in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. His time at Southeast prepared him to thrive in the southeastern Missouri region and find success at his new job.

Vizient is unlike any other company I have come across in southeastern Missouri,” he said. “Vizient treats its employees like people. Everybody gets a voice, the benefits are staggeringly amazing, and they are flexible with people’s busy lives.”

On how Southeast prepared him for a successful career:

My time at Southeast gave me three things that I really needed: a foundational skill set in computer science, experience in working with groups of people on the same project and the confidence to sell myself. The skills I learned in the core computer science courses, databases courses and advanced web development courses gave me technical skills that I still use today.

I was president of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for two years. I was also a member of the Computer Science Club, Special Interest Group for Artificial Intelligence (SIGAI), Remix on Campus and the National Society for Leadership and Success (NSLS). During my First Step orientation, our guide told us that the two most important things to get from college are a degree and a network. Being more of an introvert at the time, that second part really struck me. I made myself get involved with clubs and made tons of friends and connections by doing so. In ACM, we held presentations and workshops on all the nerdy topics we were passionate about, and we went to the MegaMiner AI coding competition as a group several times.

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