Alum applies lesson in tenacity in IT career

A photo of Johnny Babb

Johnny Babb received more than an education in computer information systems at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville. As someone who says previously he “never completed a thing in his life,” Babb said UACCB taught him a lesson in tenacity and that with hard work he could be successful. The Batesville native is now the network administrator for The Citizens Bank and is responsible for the server, network and security infrastructure for the bank and all of its branches.

Babb earned his GED at UACCB when it was still Gateway Technical College. He returned to the college at the age of 28 to pursue his education in information technology.

“One of the biggest challenges I had to overcome was fear. I can’t tell you how long I sat in my vehicle at my first registration,” Babb said.

As a nontraditional student, Babb said UACCB provided him with the flexibility he needed to be able to attend college while working a full-time job. He earned an associate of applied science in industrial technology with an emphasis in PC hardware repair in 2006. He went on to earn his certificate of proficiency and later associate of applied science degree in computer information systems with a focus in networking in 2007. In 2008, he completed his associate of arts degree in general education with a business emphasis.

“I’m a very curious person. I like to know how things work, and networking is where you learn that. I didn’t learn that until I went to UACCB though. One of the good things about the program there is that you get a little taste of every aspect of IT. You get a taste of programming. You get a taste of networking. It was that taste that put me on my current career path,” Babb said.

Babb continued his education at Liberty University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business with a specialization in economics.

“You have to understand business in order to be successful in information technology. IT is about understanding people and how IT affects their business needs,” he said.

Before taking his position with The Citizens Bank in February last year, Babb held several different positions including a management position with a rent-to-own company, working on the help desk at White River Medical Center, two stints at Ozark Information Services and working with Jack Henry and Associates in Springfield, Mo. managing firewalls for more than 600 banks.

“Matt Critcher actually introduced me to Ozark Information Services. He’s always looking for opportunities for his students,” Babb said.

Babb stressed the importance of continual learning in his field.

“When you’re not learning anything anymore in a position, it’s time to move on, however make sure you learn everything you can before you move on. This field moves so fast, you’re already behind from day one. You need to start early with your education and earning your certifications and gaining experience. Volunteer for everything. Work with professionals already in the business and learn everything you can from them. We need to be very well-rounded IT people from the start. If you want to succeed in IT, you can’t expect to go home at 5 o’clock every day,” Babb said.

When he began his career path in information technology eight years ago, Babb said he never dreamed it would provide the opportunities it has for him and his family.

“It’s made a huge difference in my life and my family’s life by showing me yes, I can be successful if I work hard and apply myself,” he said. “I want to thank UACCB for showing me how to complete something and be proud of what I have accomplished.”

Click here to view a video of Johnny Babb's story on YouTube.