Success Stories

Ben Sirof, M.S.

Master of Science in Information Technology

The program gave me a broad experience: data base administration, system administration, software development…I was able to look at what I enjoyed the most and where I thought I excelled and I could continue my track along that line.

Ben Sirof always viewed his love of technology as a hobby. After earning a master’s degree at NSU’s College of Engineering and Computing, he is confident that he can put his new computer skills to use and make technology a career.

“I always had a strong passion for technology, I’m a bit of a geek,” said Sirof, 46, who completed the college’s M.S. in Information Technology program in August 2016.

“What I liked about the NSU program was that it was a combination of theory and practical experience,” said Sirof, whose goal is to open a consulting business. “In the beginning, I spent time learning a lot about theory. As the program progressed, it became very practical and hands-on, which gave me the experience I needed to move forward.”

Before returning to school in 2014, Sirof worked for several years in human resources and retail management. When he decided to make a change and pursue a master’s degree, there were hurdles that Sirof has always overcome.

In December 1990, he broke his neck in a water accident during a family vacation to the Caribbean. The injury left him a quadriplegic. At the time, he was a sophomore at State University of New York (SUNY) in Albany.

Determined to finish college, he missed the following semester but returned to classes in the fall of 1991. He graduated from SUNY with a business degree in December 1993, only one semester late.

“Being a quadriplegic makes everything all the more challenging,” said Sirof. “I’ve always been very strong-willed, very determined, and very driven not to let things get in my way. The decision to go back to school at NSU was not much of an obstacle. The obstacle became actually going to school.

“Part of the reason why I was able to accomplish this was that NSU offered an online master’s program. I was able to do everything from my house, which made it much easier to coordinate. It also allowed me to work at my own pace and use the technology designed for me to complete the classes.”

Sirof chose NSU in part because of the online option and the ability to participate in live classes remotely. “I could have that classroom experience which I thought was a great benefit.

“NSU has a great reputation and it’s local. I l looked at a couple of schools and I always came back to NSU.

“The program gave me a broad experience: data base administration, system administration, software development…I was able to look at what I enjoyed the most and where I thought I excelled and I could continue my track along that line. As someone who is coming new into the world of technology–rather than as just a hobby–it was good for me to get that broad experience.”

Sirof, who lives in Lake Worth, juggled his course work with family life. He and his wife are the parents of a young daughter and the couple is expecting twins in fall 2017.

“More than anything, it gave me that sense of accomplishment–starting from the idea when you say, ‘I’m going to go back to school and get my master’s degree.’ A few years later, you have the degree in your hand. It’s a great sense of accomplishment that you set a goal for yourself and you’ve reached that goal.”