The City University of New York's CUNY Institute for Software Design and Development (CISDD) has an information technology internship program that provides New York City agencies with trained technical interns and provides students with valuable work experience.

According to CISDD Director Ted Brown -- who runs CISDD and who is also head of CUNY's PhD program in Computer Science -- the university has a broad pool of student talent to choose from, with 19 campuses and about 400 computer-science faculty members. CUNY now has more than 200 students working part-time in city agencies.

Roman Bystritskiy is a 22-year old CUNY graduate who is now a graduate student at Columbia University. For the past year and a half, Bystritskiy has worked as an intern, then as a full-time employee for the City Clerk's Office. He helped develop and maintains a data-entry/cashier/basic accounting application used by window clerks to register various data passing through the City Clerk's office, such marriage licenses, domestic partnerships, lobbyist and clergy registration.

Cashiers use the application to process payments and to print documents. All the marriage record searches are done through the application, and it provides various reports and statistics, such as marriage statistics by borough, time of year, ethnicity and more.

It's a distributed application working on top of .NET remoting, said Brown. Clerks in other boroughs connect to the server in the main office through secure lines, and the central server deals with database accesses. This allows for easier maintenance, and makes it possible to share public records in a secure and robust way.

Bystritskiy said he got interested in IT in high school, and began participating in the ACM Programming Contests, then went into computer science. "I just felt that's what I want to do with my life," he said.

Bystritskiy has worked for both public and private sectors, and says the City Clerk's Office is a great place to work as he completes his Master's program. The biggest challenge, he said, was teaching employees to use the application as it was rolled out across five offices, and converting databases from SQL Server 7 to 2000.

"All my friends who have graduated from college, I tell every single one of them, they should apply for internships," said Bystritskiy. "It's a great way to build experience, to immerse yourself into a medium to large-scale development process, the possibility of being hired is great, and you give something back to the community too."

Wayne Hanson  |  Editor