Jim O'Brien

Architecting Solutions

Jim O'Brien's Story

Rather than producing goods or providing services for the millions of customers of the global communications company, O’Brien’s work with AT&T is an inside job. “My clients are all internal, I am support the AT&T cloud,” he said. “AT&T’s cloud organization grew very fast, so my team was engaged to help them deliver more concisely and facilitate their organization’s growth across many areas of technical and operational advancements.” O’Brien’s department supplies organization coaching throughout AT&T’s information technology areas, preaching best practices and efficiencies. “An example is our agile methodologies, which help us deliver products in short timeframes. We deliver smaller, iterative chunks, rather than designing and testing larger products that could take months or even years to reach our clients.”

“I know that the liberal arts and my combination of computer science and communications gives me a unique edge. Normally, we techies don’t communicate so much. Most prefer to write code.”

O’Brien recalls enjoying an MC computer science class that allowed him to “really shape my skills around core concepts. It really prepared me for real-world work. Additionally, there were some unique and intriguing concepts covered. I enjoyed learning about the treasure hunts that are still out there in computer science – treasures that have been sought since the 1800s. I’m still drawn to those hunts.”

Outside the classroom, O’Brien landed a pair of rewarding internships. At one, he designed an inventory system for a company that allowed him to do most of the work, so “it was really my project.” He also did an internship in St. Louis producing a security component for Busch Stadium’s security platform.

Tying it all together

“Leading and communicating, in addition to technical understanding, allows me to shape teams and pull things together,” O’Brien said. “I’m able to architect solutions. Something we have at Monmouth that the big universities don’t have is those kinds of liberal arts connections. We can really connect the dots and tie things together with a greater scope of understanding, as opposed to being disconnected from other mindsets.”

  • Plaid to the bone
    A member of the St. Louis-area bagpipe-rock band Plaid to the Bone, O’Brien said he still watches his college band mates playing in the world bagpipe competition.
  • Octopus Club
    O’Brien helped bring back MC’s Octopus Club, a secret organization founded in 1928 whose members do not reveal their identities until after graduation.
My ability to lead and communicate, in addition to my technical understanding, allows me to shape teams and really helps me to pull things together. I’m able to architect solutions.

Jim O'Brien ’08
Major: Computer Science & Communication Studies