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‘I envisioned a job where layoffs weren’t an everyday worry’


Rockford Register Star - May 18, 2012

Rockford Career College graduate Nicole Strang talks about her studies, goals and line of work:

I might not be a computer geek, but I definitely know my way around a desktop.

I recently graduated from Rockford Career College, where I studied in the school’s two-year information technology program. My goal is to work on a company’s database, where they manage and store their information about things like employees, customers, suppliers and inventory.

I didn’t always know this was the line of work for me. It took some time before I found the career I wanted to pursue. I worked a handful of retail jobs after high school, then landed in a warehouse. But with three small children to care for, I was unexpectedly laid off.

I knew I needed a change. I needed something better.

I chose computers because I could see the potential for this industry. It was growing, hiring and changing. With the right training, I envisioned a job where layoffs weren’t an everyday worry.

At Rockford Career College, I have done class work and an externship to prepare for my new career.

The challenges of returning to college in my 20s weren’t much different than the challenge of getting a new job. Mostly, I worried about getting enough time with my kids and arranging child care around my class schedule.

Few people realize how many different avenues you can take in the IT field. You can study things like the Internet, computer engineering, security or networking.

The side benefits to working in IT are obvious: I can walk into any computer store and not get snowplowed into buying something that I don’t need. Plus, I can help my friends and family with their computer problems.

Of course, working with computers isn’t easy. The hardest part of this field is keeping up with the new technology. As soon as you learn something, a new version comes out and there’s more to learn again.

Still, I’m a firm believer that success comes when you push through whatever obstacles are before you. I balanced my family and school, so that I could have a more stable career. The challenges in my way didn’t matter; pushing through to overcome them did.

I not only have a new future in front of me, but I have also taken a place of honor in my family’s history. I am the first person in my family to graduate from college.

For that, I am extremely proud.