When Michael McKeever signed up for his capstone course in 2018, he knew his project would be vital to earning his bachelor’s in information systems from the College of Business Administration at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. But he didn’t realize it would also be a major stepping stone for his career.
McKeever and other classmates who’d worked on the project were asked to present their research to the UMSL Information Systems and Technology Advisory Board. The board is made up of professionals in the field who lend their expertise to support the university’s mission and objectives.
“The chat ended with my resume in Joe’s hands,” McKeever said. “A few months later, I saw Joe again for an interview.”
McKeever landed a position at Charter and has since advanced to a role as a software developer for internal systems. He recently received a Charter Achievement Award recognizing his work.
In his developer role, McKeever maintains the UXID app, which manages a range of system IDs within the Charter organization. Each day, he troubleshoots data-related issues and implements updates to improve the app’s functionality.
When one of his clients, a member of the Billing Systems Access Management team, needed help with billing reports, McKeever used his familiarity with UXID to resolve the issue.
“My everyday use of the app has led me to be somewhat of an expert on the data,” he said. “So when she came to me with questions about some of the reports members of her team were running, I offered to help rewrite the queries used and discovered some data that had been missing from their reports for months.”
McKeever’s solution improved the accuracy and efficiency of generating billing reports, making the task easier for the department and the company.
It also led to his nomination for the Charter Achievement Award, given each quarter to employees who have done exceptional work. Employees are nominated by their colleagues for going above and beyond. He received the award in the first quarter of 2020.
He credits his colleagues for helping him hone the skills he uses every day on the job. Software engineer Koushik Borra guided McKeever through how to develop both the front and back ends of the app, and software developer Bijendra Singh taught him about database operations.
Being a software developer isn’t the career McKeever envisioned when he was pursuing his original major – accounting. However, his interest in gaming caused him to explore a different path.
“I love video games and started tinkering with some software to develop games as a weekend warrior project,” he said. “I decided I liked the coding aspects and started looking at changing my major. I was lucky in that all of the courses I’d taken up to that point were applicable for the IS major, so I switched.”
Another decision he’s proud of is choosing UMSL for his bachelor’s degree. The O’Fallon, Missouri, native completed an associate degree at St. Charles Community College before transferring to the university. He based his decision on referrals from alumni he knew.
“I have many friends who went to UMSL and were happy with it,” he said. “Also, I finished my degree while working full time, which is something I think could only have been done at UMSL.”
In the long term, McKeever hopes to become an expert in his field, either as part of a large organization or an independent contractor. He’s also starting to think about possibly opening his own business at some point in the future.
He also assures students that graduation is well worth the effort, even though coursework and projects can be difficult on occasion.
“For a long time, I thought I would never make it to graduation,” he said. “I always felt like eventually I’d hit a point where I just didn’t have the motivation to finish. But I guess when you start getting closer to the end, motivation increases and before you know it you’re walking to the stage to accept your diploma.”