Connecting with Technology
- BY LORI BACHAND
- PHOTOGRAPHY BY GARVIN TSO
- October 22, 2021
Roberto Hernandez Jr. values the power of connections, paths and networks. As the support and services leader at Ruckus Networks at CommScope, a network architecture and security technology company, he leads global teams to design and implement complex wireless networks.
“I’m really happy that I was part of East Bay.... My motivation to continue into the technology path had to do with the environment the school provided.”
“Connectivity today is important in any shape or form, especially now with the pandemic,” he explained. “When we look back at the 90s, it was about social media taking off, and streaming movies and videos. Now, a lot of organizations — hospitals, hotels, offices — require different levels of connectivity because of all of the millions of devices we use now.”
He says that he didn’t choose Cal State East Bay, but that the university chose him. A group from the university’s recruitment team visited his high school in Union City and connected him with the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP).
Hernandez (B.S. '99, Computer Science) had not thought much about college while in high school, much less what he would study. He recalls a then-Cal State Hayward math professor who made math relatable and a path to his career emerging.
“I decided to change my major to become a math professor,” he says. “I’m really happy that I was part of East Bay. It really is a very easily accessible school. The teachers are great. My motivation to continue into the technology path had to do with the environment the school provided.”
As part of the math degree curriculum, Hernandez was required to take a programming class, and soon changed his major again to computer science. “I honestly didn’t know I was in the heart of Silicon Valley, in the 90s … things [were] booming. I was lucky and ended up in computer science in a great location.”
After his own experience entering college without a solid career goal, Hernandez turned to mentoring students to stay focused and find their path. He has spoken at various school events and corporate events geared toward motivating students to follow their dreams.
“I always encourage students now to seek internships because they are so important to your career,” he said.
Hernandez is enthusiastic about the continuous changes in computer technology and its integration across all parts of our lives. He contributed as a technical resource to the book "Juniper MX Series" and helped design mission-critical networks that still operate today through the biggest service providers around the world.
“Technology is evolving so fast,” Hernandez said. “There are a lot of security risks that go along with that. But from an opportunity point of view, if you’re a student, the amount of areas that you can get yourself engaged in are endless.”
At the end of the day, Hernandez says it’s all about staying focused and not losing track of your values. “A few days ago, my daughter was asking me questions about being able to do some of the things I’ve been able to do. My answer to her was that she can do a lot more,” he recalled. "Hard work, dedication, being true to yourself and being humble are qualities that will take you to boundless places.”