Carter didn't want to follow in the footsteps of some of his former high school classmates and attend a 4-year college right away because he saw that they were not enjoying the experience.
"I wanted to skip the mistake of going to the 4 year school and go to the community college and figure things out."
Carter has enjoyed his experience at Cabrillo and hold several associates degrees and certificates allowing him to work directly in the field or attend a 4 year school.
Ashley was working at the San Jose Marriott and in the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program when she was temporarily laid off due to the COVID pandemic. During this time, she started thinking of working toward a more sustainable career path. She noticed that people who were working in tech and tech support were still employed and getting paid well. Ashley figured this was a good time to start taking classes. She saw an email about CS 71 and went to a presentation, leading to her taking many classes.
“Taking classes has opened a lot of doors for me and I’ve learned a lot,” says Ashley.
She has taken programming and networking classes and plans to continue to work toward earning several certificates. With the faculty’s help, she has a job at Apple as a specialist answering customer’s questions and providing technical assistance. For the future, she is working toward gaining an internship with Apple Corporate.
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 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 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."
In Brandon P.’s senior year in high school, he participated in CyberPatriot, a cybersecurity competition. Brandon states, “I had a lot of fun and the leaders saw my passion and knowledge.” Due to that passion and knowledge, they encouraged Brandon to take dual enrollment and take CIS-76 Ethical Hacking while still in high school. While at Cabrillo, he majored in Computer Systems and used CIS courses as a supplement to really hone into what he wanted to do – cybersecurity. Brandon also worked with the CyberTech team, which is responsible for developing the competition. He currently works as a Cybersecurity Analyst in Irvine and finished his associate’s degree in December. About his time at Cabrillo, Brandon says,
“It was a lot of work, but the payoff is incredible. I don’t know of other programs that give you the opportunity to get such good applicable experience which really helped me get my current position.”
Juan S was studying engineering and was interviewing for a project in Costa Rica when he realized he was interested in a similar field– computer engineering. During the interview process he learned about the CIS program. This program provided Juan with the extra opportunity to work while taking courses full-time. He earned two CIS degrees, interned at Looker, worked with Irvin Lemus on the Cyber Security Team at Cabrillo College, and was a part of the development team for the Bay Area Community College Consortium to make summer camps for students throughout the bay area. Juan completed his bachelor’s degree in six months from Western Governors University. He now works as a Software Engineer at Balbix. He appreciated that he was able to transfer more than half of his Cabrillo credits toward his bachelor’s degree. About the program, Juan says,
“It was a great opportunity to apply what I was learning in the classes quickly. It definitely helped get me to where I am now.”
View Juan’s LinkedIn Profile.