Spencer Radford | Emerald Coast Technical College (ECTC)
How did you become interested in your current program or coursework?
I’ve always been interested in computers, but I first became interested in the college
when a current LPN student posted about the college on her Facebook and discussed how helpful her instructors were. When I researched Emerald Coast Technical College, ECTC, I also discovered that they had a very high job placement rate! At that time, ECTC offered a Business Computer Programming program that I was interested in. However, I was also earning my Bachelors in Computer Science. I e-mailed Ms. Harrison and she told me to meet with her to decide which program would be best for my situation. Because I wanted to research other colleges in the area such as UWF in Ft. Walton and NWFSC, I constantly postponed the meeting to a different date. About a year and a half later, I finally met with Ms. Harrison, but the Business Computer Programming program was no longer offered! Ms. Harrison told me about the Computer Systems and Information Technology program and how it would be a good fit considering that I had a programming background. I agreed and finally registered. On the first day of class, Ms. Harrison gave me a tour of the classroom and I immediately knew that I was in the right place.
What do you like most about your program or coursework?
What I like most about my program is the amount of hands-on experience that I am obtaining. When you read about a computer component, you can only absorb so much information about that specific component. On the other hand, when you physically see it, install it, and watch how it works, you’re exposed to new information that the book might not have been able to explain. I’ve been to 2 physical colleges and 2 online colleges. However, none of those colleges offered hands-on or virtual labs like ECTC.
Why did you pick the center/college you’re attending?
I picked ECTC because they have an amazing completion rate, placement rate, and licensure exam pass rate. Anyone who goes to their website will find this out because it is on their homepage. I wanted to earn computer certifications, but I did not want to earn these online because some of the certifications require a lot of hands-on which is unobtainable through an online course. ECTC solved all of these problems because it is local, offers tons of hands-on projects for my certifications, and I have a high chance of obtaining a job when I finish the program… if I have not already obtained one!
What do you plan to do after graduation?
After I graduate from ECTC in June, I plan on working a few years while coming back to ECTC for the Applied Cybersecurity program. After I finish that program, I want to work for the government while I finish up my Masters in Management Information Systems.
What advice would you give someone thinking about a career in your field?
You won’t ever know until you try it! Take a computer course, audit a class, or come sit in our classroom and observe. You could also talk to someone in the field to see if it’s something that you would be interested in. I was indecisive about my major. I couldn’t pick between Nursing, Computer Science, and Mathematics. After I took my first Human Anatomy and Physiology course, I knew that I did not want to major in Nursing. My Computer Science degree required Calculus I and II which turned me away from Mathematics. This left me with Computer Science. I always knew that I wanted to work with computers, but I would have never known that if I didn’t take that first step.
What does “Career in a Year” mean to you?
To me, a Career in a Year, means that you will obtain the knowledge, experience, and capabilities of a specific career within a year. This also means that you must be dedicated, motivated, and determined to reach this goal.