Alumni Spotlight:  Josh Cech ‘11

Josh Cech '11Goodland native, Joshua Cech, graduated from FHSU in 2011 with a degree in Information Networking. He currently holds the position of Internal Technology Resident at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
Cech’s education at FHSU and his current job at Google have allowed him to go places he never dreamed of going. “Technology is global, and I have been living away from the United States, learning about the operations and differences at offices abroad. My career has allowed me to interact with thousands of intelligent people who eagerly take on the task of changing the world and making an impact,” Cech said. “My job and travels have given me opportunities I have only previously dreamed of, such as setting foot on the Great Wall of China, cruising on a boat down the Danube River in Budapest, or walking alongside the heavy stream of business professionals in NYC.”

From a young age, Cech planned on entering his current career path. It all began with entrepreneurial efforts and studying any type of technology that happened to catch his eye. He commented, “I had an interest in learning about topics that seemed complicated, and computers were a mystery to me when I was young.” Fort Hays was not Cech’s first choice of school, but the campus visit really impressed him and changed his mind. He stated, “It was the infrastructure that my chosen department had built for students to engage with, along with the structure and layout of the program that sparked my interest in attending.”

While studying at FHSU, Cech was involved in the Advanced Technology Student Organization (ATSO). He said, “One of the greatest experiences of my college career was a trip the group took to tour companies around the Denver area. It was that first exposure to the inner workings of innovative companies outside of Kansas that inspired me to look for opportunities that I would have first dismissed as being too intimidating. Ironically, one of the offices we visited was Google in Boulder, Colo.”

Cech offers some great advice to students just beginning their college careers. “Jump with both feet into something you love and remember that you often grow the most when you are put into situations where you are not comfortable. It is from those moments that you can measure the impact that your career has made on your life, and if you let it happen, it will expand your mind to a greater understanding of the world and future situations you may encounter.”

Over a lifetime many important life lessons are learned. Cech described his most important life lesson in college and the most important life lesson since graduation. While studying at FHSU he “…picked up on the confidence and belief that I could accomplish anything I wanted to, no matter what type of new situation I could possibly be faced with, related to my career or not.” Cech added, “…technology gave me access to most of the knowledge I needed, and persistence would find me through to a successful outcome.” 

Once he graduated, he said he learned that one must keep his/her eye on the important matters of life, rather than just professional development. He continued by saying, “More interesting are the things I have had to ‘unlearn’ including some of the normal business practices and expectations that I was previously accustomed to before starting at Google.”

Cech at Google

When asked how his classes or degree program at FHSU prepared him for life after graduation, Cech replied with an interesting story from freshman year. “I presented a product I had created to my advisor. It was functional, but because it used third party software it was not ideal. My advisor encouraged me to take the platform into my own hands and write my own code. It was a completely foreign concept to me at the time, but I took the effort to understand the programming fundamentals and was able to produce amazing results from scratch.” He continued, “At the time, I did not realize that what I had learned would help take my career to the next level after graduation, and give me a new set of skills that I continue to improve on to this day.”

Cech really enjoyed his experience at FHSU and will never forget his meetings with his advisor, or one-on-one discussions with professors. He stated, “I did feel that there were several individuals in my college career that particularly cared for my well-being as a person, and they wanted to see my success story come to life. Most of the professors I interacted with shared this same passion, and it made for a positive experience.”

One piece of advice that Cech had for prospective students is, “Do not underestimate your own potential to thrive in any environment you choose. Your education choices should not be based on prestige or popularity, but instead college should enable you to build your unique path. You will be able to take ownership of your education at FHSU, as it allows your personal drive and ambition to follow through to meet career goals.”

When asked in what ways Cech was proud to be a Tiger, he replied, “Much in the same way I finished my degree, my wife is nearing completion of her own from FHSU. Although we are headed down different career paths, I recognize that Fort Hays allowed us both to earn an education while accomplishing other important goals. It made no difference that I was working full time while studying, or that she has taken the opportunity to travel with me, completing her classwork thousands of miles away from campus. Fort Hays enabled us to do more than we could have expected from a traditional college setting, while maintaining academic growth. That makes me proud to be a Tiger.”

Cech is working on immersing into the other cultures in his new community.  He said that the most important aspect to his life is God.  He continued saying, “We were lucky to have found a remarkable parish near our home in California, but one of the most uplifting experiences abroad has been attending services in different cultures, amongst others sharing our faith.”

In modern society, especially in the tech world, it is necessary to be a lifelong learner. Cech realizes this fact and told us what it means to be a lifelong learner. “There is a standard definition of a lifelong learner as someone who understands that education is not restricted to a classroom or an age. I would like to think that someone who considers himself or herself a lifelong learner would have the desire to understand relevant topics of today with the same importance as subject Josh and wife, BreAnnamatter from the past. There is also the potential of knowledge exchange that can come from both ends of the age spectrum, where the young and old have something to learn from each other, though each side does not always have perspective as to the value of what can be learned from the opposite party. The lifelong learners in my opinion will use their passion for seeking knowledge to engage with other individuals no matter the significance of the opportunity, and will use their available resources to better themselves with an open mind throughout the entire progression of life.”

Membership with the Alumni Association is very important to Cech. It helps maintain a connection between him, the university, and its members. He said that it is also provides an open channel of communication along with the means to build and maintain relationships.

Josh and his wife, BreAnna, reside in San Jose, Calif. BreAnna is pursuing her Bachelor of Business Administration in Management degree virtually through Fort Hays State University.