Advancing your career with certifications or a degree

The great thing about vocational and technical education is usually the cost,  instructor(s) who have worked in the industry, true hands on, a quick classroom to career time and a higher than average placement rate.    So once you graduate are you done with education?  No. Today with TN Promise and TN Reconnect it is easier than ever to go to college.

Today education comes in every format you can think of and with Information Technology, you can’t stop learning or your career can grow stagnant.   With seminars, webinars, MOCCs, supplemental college courses and more,  every topic imaginable can be found at colleges and universities worldwide.

While MOCCs are sometimes controversial, many employers are taking the certificates offered by these institutions.    If you have never taken one, I challenge you to do just that.  They are excellent learning tools and the standards are becoming higher.

Several months ago I took a course at Coursera from the Royal Holloway: University of London – Malicious Software and its Underground Economy: Two Sides to Every Story thinking it would be an easy course and maybe I could learn something new along the way.  I was floored with the amount of videos, PowerPoints, assembly and disassembly of code, the number of exams and the plethora of materials that came at me.   It was estimated there were over 40,000 people who signed up and a little over a thousand students finished.  It was tough and well worth $0 (free).

Although there are many examples of students continuing their education after graduation of the CIT program, here are a few alumni and their stories.

misty Misty Layne completed the CIT program in 2006 at Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Shelbyville, TN.She started her Information Technology career at a local industry and later moved to a government contractor in Middle Tennessee as a configuration specialist.Misty recently completed her B.S. in Information Technology at Columbia Southern University.
Donna Donna (Pierce) Richardson completed the CIT program in 2001 at Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Shelbyville, TN.She started her Information Technology career at manufacturing company while working to complete the CIT program after completing her national certifications. Upon completion,  she went on to work for Technology Services company as a Level 2 Help Desk Technician at a film manufacturing company in Greenwood, South Carolina.While working there she completed her Bachelors in Computer Science in 2006 from Limestone College. She also completed 2 Microsoft Certifications.Donna later changed companies where she worked as Help Desk Coordinator.  While working there she completed her Masters in Information Technology, with a Management Information Systems emphasis in 2008 from Strayer University.Additionally she became certified in ITIL Level 3 and also became a member of the Help Desk Institute.
She currently works at a major healthcare organization where she started as a Client Analyst III where she coordinated Technology and Software rollout projects.In August 2013 she transitioned to a Systems Engineer role where she builds and maintains servers that support health care providers.  She is currently supporting close to 300 servers, multiple storage arrays, as well as working with vendors with projects to upgrade and maintain the Electronic Medical record environment.  She also teaches Computer Technology courses at a local Technical College.
Carl Carl Marshal completed the CIT program in 2010 and immediately enrolled in Western Governor’s University.  Carl earned his B.S. in Information Technology in 2011.Carl left the CIT program and began working for a major federal contractor and worked in Huntsville, Ala for approximately one year before moving to a utilities company in Tennessee.
2063_1089927083621_3644_n Jamie Humpreys completed the CIT program through part-time and supplemental offers in 2000 at Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Shelbyville, TN.She started her Information Technology career private and federal contractor and later moved to a government contractor in Middle Tennessee as a server specialist.Jamie obtained her  B.S. in Information Technology.  Jamie continues to pursue additional certifications and training to advance her career.

Regardless of the program you graduate from, you should continue your education to learn after your career starts for advancement in your organization,  for new job opportunities, to learn new technology and so you can hone your skills.


About TCAT Shelbyville IT Department

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology - is one of 46 institutions in the Tennessee Board of Regents System, the seventh largest system of higher education in the nation. This system comprises six universities, fourteen community colleges, and twenty-six Applied Technology Colleges.
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