Meet Joe Colby

Systems Administrator, Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services

Joe Colby

In my job as a windows systems administrator, I work on notebooks, desktops, servers, printers, and their software, keeping them up-to-date and working to support the missions of CO-OPS and NOS.

What do you like most about working at NOS?

I enjoy meeting different people, discovering their skill sets, and working with them to learn something new.

What is the hardest part of your job?

The hardest part of my job is driving to work each week! I live 200 miles from my duty station, and moving my family is not an option.

What is your educational background?

I have a B.A. in criminal justice from St. Leo University, and several Microsoft and CompTIA certifications. I have also started work on a master's of business administration (MBA).

What inspired your interest in the ocean and coasts?

I am intrigued by the vastness and complexity of the ocean and its effect on humanity. There is so much we don't know about the oceans and what lies hidden there.

How did you end up working at NOAA?

I was the windows administrator who previously supported the world's largest help desk—on the Navy Marine Corps Internet contract—and wanted a change of pace, so I saw the job opening online and applied for it.

What advice do you have for young people wanting a career in the "ocean realm"?

There are some exceptions, but most young people have no insight or guidance toward career opportunities, nor do they have opportunities for hands-on experience in different vocations. To that end, I serve as a merit badge counselor for the Boy Scouts of America. I locate colleges, businesses, and other opportunities for young men to learn from people in a variety of fields. At the end of May, the CO-OPS Field Operations Division will be hosting an oceanography event for 50 scouts.