CSC’s Susan Rouse is program manager of mission systems
An aspiring medical student winds up in IT, loving the work and leading a team in software development, operations and maintenance for government entities
In 1959, when there were only about 4,000 computers in the world, two young computer analysts scraped together $100 to create Computer Sciences Corporation. It is now CSC (Falls Church, VA), a global provider of technology-enabled business and government solutions and services. Significant engagements include supporting the IRS as it modernizes the U.S. tax system, helping NASA open a shared services center, and Department of Defense (DoD) support activities from flight training to complex cyber challenges. As of December 2012, CSC had annual revenue of $15.5 billion.
Susan Rouse is senior program manager in CSC’s mission systems division (MSD), overseeing several government contracts. MSD is responsible for supporting DoD clients and ultimately the mission of the warfighter.
“We do software development, operations and product maintenance. These software products provide the warfighter with situational awareness, decision-making knowledge that the person can use whether they are working CONUS (in the contiguous United States) or OCONUS (outside the contiguous United States),” she explains.
Rouse has twenty-five people reporting to her directly, including systems and network engineers, software developers, systems administrators, and computer specialists. She spends some of her time on financial reporting and proposal reviews, as well as responding to requests for information.
Rouse grew up in Camden, NJ and, intending to become a doctor, enrolled at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ). “But I wasn’t savvy enough in math to go to medical school so I had to find another career,” she remembers. “I couldn’t think of anything else that I wanted to do. Doctor was the only career I ever wanted. I was devastated.”
She received a BA in history from Rutgers in 1984. “There was no rhyme or reason other than I always liked history and I didn’t want to quit school. I wanted to finish.”
After graduation, Rouse joined the U.S. Navy. “I wanted an advanced degree and I knew that the military would provide that opportunity. I figured, ‘Where else in the world could you go, travel, learn, get an education and be paid?’ I was still interested in medical care and earned a masters degree in public administration with an emphasis in health services administration in 1990 from Golden Gate University (San Francisco, CA). At the time, I thought that healthcare was my future.”
After leaving the Navy in 1991, Rouse moved to Washington, DC and into a job at pediatric hospital Children’s National Medical Center, to work in hospital administration. “I was the manager of the central supply services department, providing all the sterilized equipment for the operating rooms and nursing units. After a few years, I decided that it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” she says.
Discovering and growing with IT
In 1993, Rouse went to work at the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (MDHMH, Baltimore, MD) as an administrator. This was just prior to the passage of HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). “HIPAA had two parts to it,” Rouse explains, “the healthcare piece and the security piece. Since I was responsible for compliance throughout the MDHMH, it was part of my job to be sure that we complied with both pieces. That’s how I became interested in IT security. I took courses to help me understand computers, networking and network technology, and I found that I really liked it!”
Rouse looked for jobs outside of healthcare in the information technology sector and worked at three high-profile companies before coming to CSC. She recalls, “My first IT job as a security consultant was at Unisys Corporation (Tysons Corner, VA) as a consultant for government agencies, helping them comply with HIPAA.
“From there, things blossomed,” Rouse says. “The more experience I got and the more certifications I received, the further I went. But Unisys required a lot of travel and by this time, I was a single mom and it was difficult to find people to care for my daughter.
“I moved to IBM, partly so I wouldn’t have to travel. I spent a few years there as a senior consultant doing the same type of work for federal clients,” she says.
“Later, I joined Deloitte & Touche (Washington, DC) as a management consultant. They also had a privacy and security practice for federal clients and I spent several years there.”
Rouse came to CSC in 2010, thanks in part to a ride on the Washington Metro. “I was looking for another opportunity and I also wanted to get out of the four-hour-a-day DC commute. I was on a train and saw an ad for CSC. They were having a job fair, so I went, and a couple of days later, I got a job offer.”
She’s a member of the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc, (ISC)². Headquartered in Palm Harbor, FL, (ISC)² is a worldwide nonprofit membership organization of certified information security professionals. She’s also a member of the Baltimore chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI, Newtown Square, PA).
Within CSC, Rouse belongs to several communities of practice including business and proposal development, capture and competitive intelligence, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and project and program management.
“I want to explore options related to starting a woman-owned business in the next three to five years,” Rouse says. “Right now, I’m saying that I want to be in cybersecurity and intelligence but in a few years, they may not call it that anymore,” she smiles. “Whatever that new buzz word is, that’s where I’ll be.”
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