Melissa McClish has been curious about computer systems for a long time. Friends and family donated old hardware and software for her to tinker with, and she spent countless weekly allowances buying old PCs, Macs, and manuals from thrift shops. At one point, Melissa accumulating 20+ obsolete computers between her closet and the cool desk that her dad built to hold three workstation setups at a time.
Melissa moved to Washington State in 2011 after growing up in Texas and Arkansas. Upon graduating high school in 2009, she decided to forgo working toward a computer science degree and instead pursued self-education as an IT generalist.
She achieved her A+ certification within a couple of years. On the strength of this new certification, attention to detail, and willingness to commute from Bremerton to SeaTac, Melissa started working as an IT contractor for Alaska Air Group at just the right time to take a lead role on deployments for their Windows 7 upgrade project. Continuing in a permanent capacity after the project ended, Melissa pushed to automate and document processes to improve speed and accuracy of batch workstation deployment using tools such as Altiris, Ghost, and PowerShell.
After achieving Network+ certification, Melissa pursued a backups administrative role at Greene IS so she could start gaining experience with networks and the Windows server world beyond practicing user creation at home in her room. She became familiar (at least in passing) with 10+ different backups systems, automated ticket reports and forms with PowerApps, and created graphs out of databases from scratch in Power BI. To tie this experience together, Melissa plans to continue working on Security+ certification, so she can "keep it secret, keep it safe".
Fun fact: As a hobby, Melissa creates art and jewelry from plastic. She once created a custom gear shift knob for a coworker's car by embedding a dandelion puff into clear polyester resin using a homemade silicone mold.