By Darlyn Finch Kuhn
When it comes to giving the greenlight to website updates at Infosys, the buck stops with Kyle Sandfort.
When developers make website updates, he steps in and kicks the tires, making sure everything functions before the update is released — and unforeseen problems cause clients heartburn and Infosys a raft of complaints.
“They have to go through me to make sure everything is ready for the consumer to use on the website,” he said.
That’s weighty responsibility for Sandfort, 30, who graduated in 2018 with a bachelor of arts degree in computer information systems, and now works in quality assurance at Infosys, a digital services and consulting company with clients in more than 56 countries.
Yet, Sandfort said that his years at Beacon College not only broadened his shoulders to bear the heavy weight thanks to his IT training, but also helped him become an independent, thriving adult with a career he enjoys.
“At Beacon the work was … straightforward, and I learned that I could succeed if I paid close attention,” he said. “At Infosys, my work finding defects in website designs and upgrades is somewhat repetitive, but also … straightforward. I am able to remember the user stories easily. If I pay close attention, I can figure out the problems and find solutions.”
Getting on the right path
Growing up in Brentwood, Tennessee, Sandfort found high school a long, hard slog. He said his Asperger’s syndrome and ADHD made it difficult for him to complete high school and do well on the ACT college entrance exam. He had difficulties focusing and felt buried by abundant homework. Educators told him he wasn’t ready for college; that opinion dented his self-esteem and confidence.
And Sandfort listened to the naysayers — for a moment.
“I got a job doing landscape work and couldn’t handle the manual labor,” he said. “My dad asked me if I’d rather use my back or my mind. I decided to use my mind.”
A school counselor advised Sandfort to look at three colleges for students with learning challenges.
After all was said and done, Sandfort felt Beacon College was “the best place for me” when he enrolled in 2013.
At Beacon, Sandfort worked with former teachers Christine Case on his science requirements and Sandy Novak on remedial subjects. Another former instructor, Laurie Staeger, helped him complete the basic classes he needed before he could focus on his major.
His teachers assisted him in accomplishing his educational goals. In particular, Sandfort felt a close affinity with Professor Brenda Newkirk, his primary teacher in his Information Technology (IT) courses.
Kyle’s “personality is exceptional: compassionate, empathetic, kind, supportive, and intelligent,” she said.
Those traits surfaced often with his supporting his classmates during class — leading to a teacher’s assistant position throughout his education at Beacon. He also eagerly became a lab assistant and assisted with setting up the desktop computers, maintaining software, hardware, new equipment, etc.
As Sandfort left Beacon ready for the job market, his LinkedIn profile revealed his goal of manning a “local computer repair shop doing computer repair work,” a goal punctuated with a promise: “I will have the motivation and determination to get the job done right.”
That motivation and determination served him well.
While at Beacon, Sandfort completed a successful internship with Tractor Supply — a client of Infosys, that client referred him for the quality assurance job he now holds.
Sandfort, who now lives in Brentwood, Tennessee, sees Infosys as maybe the right place for other Beacon students looking for a good IT career.
“They understand that I learn a little bit differently and they are very patient if it takes a while to get things done. They’re just really flexible,” he said.
Not that Sandfort is all work and no play. When he’s not top gunning, he relaxes by watching his two favorite HGTV shows: House Hunters and Christina on the Coast. Both shows fuel his dream of owning his own home in sunny Southern California.
But when he’s on the job, he is all business.
Even though Infosys is far from the “local computer repair shop” where Sandfort imagined he would work after college, its culture of understanding, patience, and flexibility is reminiscent of his learning experience while at Beacon.
No wonder he feels like he’s home.