SQL Server Database Administrator
Evelyn Rykyto is a SQL Server Database Administrator for Synteras. She has been with the Akima family of companies for one year.
Evelyn Rykyto wasn’t looking for a job when she got the call from the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command. But the offer was so compelling, she couldn’t ignore it. Evelyn loved working at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, but she had to be available around the clock. The new role wouldn’t require her to be on call or work weekends—that settled it. Evelyn soon came on board to support the command as a SQL Server Database Administrator.
It sounded like just the right opportunity for a born problem solver who has always run toward a challenge.
Evelyn’s 25+ year information technology career began with teaching nurses and physicians how to use specialized computer systems for doctors’ referrals and approvals. The technology she worked with was old, “and that was tough,” Evelyn recalls. “I had one nurse who said, ‘I’m never going to learn this, this is horrible!”’ Evelyn assured the nurse it wasn’t impossible—it was just a new thing to learn.
After working as a medical systems trainer and as an applications analyst, Evelyn came to Hewitt Associates in 1999 where she eventually became a SQL Server Database Administrator (DBA). “I started learning the role of DBA on the job and decided I really liked that,” Evelyn says.
She had help from a girlfriend who also worked as a DBA and showed Evelyn the ropes. Soon, Evelyn was spending weekends and her after-work hours getting the hang of her newfound passion.
While at Hewitt, Evelyn went back to school to finish her degree in computer science—all while caring for her children. “That was a tough thing, having two kids at home,” she says. The accelerated program at Columbia College of Missouri allowed her to take classes off campus, so when her husband’s military service put them on the move, she was able to continue her studies.
After nine years at Hewitt, Evelyn was laid off. Because she did not want to lose her skill set, she decided to get IT certifications. She then landed at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, where she spent nearly 4.5 years before being recruited to work with MEPCOM.
When Evelyn arrived at MEPCOM, she was the command’s first-ever SQL Server DBA. Standard Operating Procedures or documentation for SQL Server didn’t exist; she had to create those from scratch. “When I first came in, they didn’t even realize how many SQL databases they had,” Evelyn says with a chuckle.
What Evelyn loves about her job is that she gets to find—and then fix—problems, she says. Solving a particularly thorny issue gives her a “woo-hoo feeling,” Evelyn notes.
“I’ve been likened to a bulldog—when I find something, I can’t give up. I can’t be beaten,” she says. “It’s like, there’s something wrong with the system; I’ve got to figure out why.”
Having been in IT for over two decades, Evelyn has worked in many places where she was a minority, “and it was a bit challenging,” she acknowledges.
“Just being a woman in IT has been the biggest challenge,” she says. There were times she wasn’t taken seriously and had to prove herself. Once she did, it was smooth sailing.
Evelyn says she gained her confidence from her mother who told her at a young age that nothing is impossible. And Evelyn, in turn, has passed that advice on to her children.
“I keep telling my boys: You can do it, you can do it, you can do it,” Evelyn says. “If you’re strong and determined, you can do anything. No matter what it is, you can do it, if you just set your mind to it.”