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The Real Word: Convergence Program Feeds Students To Area Co-ops
Convergence Program Feeds Students To Area Co-ops

The Real World: Convergence Program Feeds Students To Area Co-ops

Michael Cole started a co-op at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, where he managed servers and worked in broadcasting sermons and presentations.

Michael Cole started a co-op at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, where he managed servers and worked in broadcasting sermons and presentations.

In this job market, the smallest advantage can make a difference.

In the world of IT and networking, competition is fierce. The Convergence Technology program at Collin College is charged with equipping their students with the knowledge, skills, credentials and opportunities to put them head over heels above the others seeking employment in the workforce.

“It’s great to have experience,” said Brent Vickery, a Convergence Technology student, who undertook a cooperative work experience (co-op) opportunity with Baylor Medical Center at Frisco.

“In the IT industry, it’s about experience. You can have a four-year degree and certifications, but a guy with an associate degree, certifications and experience may get the job instead.”

Brent Vickery, a Convergence Technology student at Collin College, had a co-op with Baylor Medical Center in Frisco turn into a full-time job.

Brent Vickery, a Convergence Technology student at Collin College, had a co-op with Baylor Medical Center in Frisco turn into a full-time job.

Experience, Vickery thinks, is what got him the co-op with Baylor in the first place. He'd previously worked at his father’s IT company at the help desk and with troubleshooting.

Vickery started at Baylor in January 2010 and, within a couple of weeks, the hospital hired him as a full-time employee, a status he held until June when he decided to put all of his focus on his degree at Collin College.

His responsibilities were varied. Vickery said he worked with several others providing help desk support, maintaining and managing servers, building servers for VMware (virtualization desktop software) and creating a self-service password reset system at the hospital.

Convergence technology is one of the fastest growing fields in the world. It is the “convergence” of voice, video, data and images into one network. A good example is the iPhone or the MP3 player where you can listen to the latest hit song, watch a movie, call your mom and read a news story.

“We had some voice-over IP at the hospital and it was an NEC (a provider of IT, network and communications products and solutions) system,” Vickery said. “But I still understood the basics of what was going on so it was good that I had the foundation that I got at Collin College. A lot of the courses I’ve taken fed right into the job. It’s not like you take a course and you go work and never use what you learn. It was right in line with what the professors said.”

Visit www.collin.edu/academics/ctc for more information about convergence technology.

Reprinted with permission by Allen Image