Meet GeekWire’s Geek of the Week: A Seattle University IT MBA Alum
After graduating from Seattle University’s Albers School of Business and Economics with an MBA in information systems, Joe Hueffed went on to work at some of the most iconic companies in the Pacific Northwest region. It was for this reason that GeekWire recently named Hueffed the “Geek of the Week.”
First, in 1998, Hueffed went to work for Starbucks where he spent 15 years in various IT roles, including as a functional analyst, systems analyst and application developer. He then worked in various roles at Amazon, Nordstrom, T-Mobile, Microsoft and Costco. Currently, he is the Technical Project Manager at Kaiser-Permanente in Renton.
“I love application development because of the creativity involved as well as the technology itself,” Hueffed tells GeekWire. “I love IT project management because it allows me to exercise and demonstrate leadership while remaining in the technology space. Working in IT since the ’90s has allowed me to enjoy a prosperous lifestyle, even throughout the Great Recession, and provide for my family.”
And because Hueffed is so passionate about IT, he’s hoping to inspire the next generation through teaching and volunteering. Hueffed teaches Object Oriented Development in Java—an evening course at Seattle Central College—and volunteers at Seattle Prep through the TEALS computer science education program.
“I teach because I’m passionate about sharing my knowledge with the next generation of IT leaders, as well as helping promote computer science education,” he also says. “If the students were brats, I simply wouldn’t do it. But their enthusiasm and gracious appreciation motivates me to continue teaching at the community college level.”
However, what’s most surprising about Hueffed is that, though he has an MBA, he feels that liberal arts is the most valuable academic discipline when it comes to starting a career in information technology. In an interview, he explained that the liberal arts path is better at training students how to “learn to learn” compared to following specific steps. At the same time, he believes it teaches students to follow a structured format with logical reasoning through paper writing.
As for his final words of advice for fellow IT geeks. “I didn’t believe my dad, but he was right: ‘Do what you love, the money will follow.’ I would also add, ‘You’ll never succeed at something you don’t enjoy doing. You simply won’t be able to successfully compete with people who love their work if you don’t love yours.’”