Computer and Information Systems

Student Success Stories

Todd Kramer

About the time the internet was starting to boom, Todd Kramer decided at the age of 40 to go back to school.

“I thought IT could be a great field to get into, and I knew that Cabrillo was wonderful,” says Todd.

Todd earned two certificates and created his own internship with Cruzio. He installed giant wireless infrastructure; the backbone of Cruzio’s infrastructure.

“That gave me valuable experience in the field,” remembers Todd.

He learned through Cabrillo faculty about a job opening as an Educational Technology Specialist at Santa Cruz City Schools. Doing well at the interview, he was hired. Todd credits Cabrillo with providing interpersonal communication skills in addition to technical skills.

“It would be challenging to do well in IT without interpersonal skills.  I do a lot of training and have to explain in ways that people understand,” Todd says.

The position began five years ago at 9 months per year, meaning he needed to work two jobs. He now works full-time with SCCS. He has continued his education, receiving his Associate’s degree.

“I feel super successful and attribute that to the instructors. I want to give back to the community, such as volunteering at the Homeless Garden Project.”

Ben McCord

Ben McCord wanted to go back to school when he found himself unhappy in his job. He chose Cabrillo due to its accessibility, and he had heard that it had a very good CIS program. When he began, faculty talked with the students about opportunities in various apprenticeship programs. Ben decided to apply and was welcomed by Cloud Brigade (part of ScratchSpace).

Ben has completed his first year of the three year apprenticeship. He works with a variety of projects. “Webhosting, DevOps, VoIP PBX, networking, virtualization, and AWS are all regular parts of his workday.

“I work full-time at ScratchSpace and will gain a certificate each year. The work experience is great – most places want you to have prior experience when you apply. I will have something to show on future resumes and applications.”

Ben is working toward his CNSA degree as well. He has found his courses to be a positive experience, with good faculty.

“I appreciate that I can take my courses on-line while I work. That flexibility allows me to do my school work in the evenings and weekends.”

Elena Montesino

Elena Montesino studied computer technology at UCSC and earned her degree. However, she felt that she didn’t get as much exposure working with computers as she wanted. Learning about the CIS program at Cabrillo, she enrolled to work on different certificates.

After hearing the presentation about apprenticeships, Elena applied and interviewed. She was accepted into the apprenticeship program at RVS Technology Group, where she is developing her career and learning RVS technology .

“I had the knowledge,” Elena says, “but now I’m getting important hands-on experience.”

Elena is working at RVS helping clients manage their systems. She says, “RVS has been very helpful in teaching me their systems and taking the time to train and move me into their system.”

She encourages people to go into the program to get the important hands-on experience. Elena also finds the on-line CIS courses to be helpful in managing her busy schedule.

“My experiences with both CIS and RVS have only been very positive ones.”

Sam Perez

Sam Perez was working in electronic sales and realized that, while he liked working with people, he wasn’t enjoying the job. He started at Cabrillo with the idea of getting a Computer Support Specialist certificate. His first semester he took a Linux class with Rich Simms, who made the complicated subject seem accessible.

“Rich’s teaching style and passion got me really motivated to do more than fix computers but to get behind the scenes and see how they work,” Sam says when explaining his decision to major in CNSA.  A class in Ethical Hacking led Sam into focusing on networking and IT for cybersecurity.

While working toward his degree, Sam started working at the campus IT help desk and continues to work there on computer and phone IT for faculty and students.

Sam has nothing but positive words when describing his time in the CIS program.  “It’s absolutely amazing and got me where I am today. The faculty really pushes you to go further than what you’re reading in a book and get your hands dirty with hands-on work.”