Samantha Perez was one of the first to graduate from Victoria College’s Computer Information Systems-Networking Program with an Associate of Applied Science degree in network engineering technology and cloud computing.
Samantha Perez continues to surprise herself almost every day in her job as a network technician for Victoria website design company DE Web Works.
“My mind is usually blown away because there are so many things that you learn in a day,” said Perez, who was among the first to obtain an Associate of Applied Science degree in network engineering technology and cloud computing at Victoria College. “But the more I work, the more I learn and it gets easier.”
Victoria College began offering its two-year degree in network engineering technology and cloud computing in the Fall 2020 semester. At the time, Perez, 33, had recently completed the one-year Personal Computer (PC) and Local Area Network (LAN) Technician Certificate.
“I was told there was a two-year degree that VC just started,” Perez said. “Since I was already in the program, I went ahead and finished it through. I did very well in the one-year certificate program, so I decided to continue in school and make this my career. And now here I am in the field.”
Perez, who graduated from VC in May and began working for DE Web Works in June, balanced a full-time job and parenting four children while taking classes at VC.
“It was extremely challenging,” said Perez, who worked nine years as a medical assistant. “I had always been interested in making it my profession, but I never knew it was my passion until I started at VC. I was a little intimidated at first because it’s a man’s profession, basically. But I kind of turned that into motivation. I wasn’t going to let anybody tell me no. I had to prove myself. Once you prove yourself, then you can really grow.”
Marty Stockbauer, VC department chair of business and computer programs, said one of the benefits of a career as a network technician or cloud practitioner is the opportunity to work remotely in larger and higher-paying markets.
“You can work for a company in New York City or Boston from here in South Texas,” Stockbauer said. “The career kind of breaks the salary ceiling because it can be completely remote.”
According to CareerFinder.com, cloud support specialists with cloud industry certifications earn an average of $129,868 nationally.
Victoria College’s Computer Information Systems-Networking Program offers training in the cloud, cyber security and the Cisco Networking Academy.
“There are colleges that provide solely cloud, security and Cisco associate degrees,” Stockbauer said. “What we have done is combine all three. It’s a more generic program where you have options to go whichever way you want.”
Perez said VC’s program prepared her well. Students in the program are on a separate network and are given their own server to work on, troubleshoot and perform other tasks.
“Marty is an amazing teacher,” said Perez, who works mostly as a troubleshooter in her current position. “I did the networking, routing and switching labs. Those were my favorite parts of the class. We did a lot of hands-on training. It’s an amazing program. If you like a challenge and want to get an education that will let you grow with a company, it is definitely a step in the right direction.”
Victoria College’s AAS degree plan includes a one-year PC and LAN Support Technician Certificate that students can earn in the first year and a one-year Cloud Core Technology Certificate built into the curriculum. Students who previously have completed the PC and LAN Support Technician Certificate also have the opportunity to return and further their education.
Students can also earn three different Occupational Skills Awards on their path towards receiving the certificates and degree, making them more marketable to employers.
“So many companies are moving from storing data and machines on premise to storing in the cloud, which essentially means their data is stored on servers in an offsite data center,” Stockbauer said. “Companies need workers who’ve been trained in cloud computing because it helps them achieve greater flexibility and low up-front hardware costs when using a 'pay-as-you-go' model for cloud storage.”
For more information on Victoria College’s Computer Information Systems-Networking Program, email Mary.Stockbauer@VictoriaCollege.edu, visit VictoriaCollege.edu/BusinessTechnology, or call (361) 573-3291.