Want a more affordable start or midway boost to your tech career? Here’s another entry point: Blue Bell-based Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) is launching new associate degree and certificate programs for cloud computing in fall 2022.
These programs aim to introduce students to cloud computing and computer networking through hands-on course work. Students in the programs are expected to gain an advantage for entry-level positions in this field, MCCC said in its announcement, as they will be prepared to take certificate exams such as CompTIA A+, CompTIA cloud+, CISCO certified administrator, AWS cloud practitioner, AWS solutions architect, Azure cloud fundamentals and Azure cloud administrator.
“It means jobs and flexibility,” said James Bretz, MCCC’s dean of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, in a statement. “If you have these skills, you are eligible for entry-level jobs with lots of room to grow all over the place. These are often remote jobs. Our students can work for companies all over the country. With these skills, students will be ready to work and grow in the field from day one.”
Why launch this program now?
Marie Hartlein, computer science professor and co-coordinator of the program, noted that the cloud computing field is ever growing, with plenty of job opportunities to go with it — a sentiment back up by reporting from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. And Matthew Krause, computer science assistant professor and the other co-coordinator of the program, said these programs are for people interested in network administration, maintenance, and security: “Cloud computing is the new flavor of network admin.”
“Using cloud services decreases the costs associated with the maintenance and management of servers and networks,” Bretz told Technical.ly via a spokesperson. “The cloud also allows companies to be more agile as they can make changes quickly without purchasing expensive new equipment. As cloud services became more common, it became clear that the demand for employees skilled in cloud computing would only increase. MCCC introduced these new programs to meet the need for these skilled employees and to give employees trained in traditional networking technology the ability to enter this expanding field.”
The degree program is meant for those who are new to the field, while the certificate program is best suited for current tech pros who want to update their skills, per MCCC. The certificate program also allows students to earn stackable credits that can go toward the associate degree program if they eventually choose to pursue that path.
“The certificate contains 12 courses, all in computer science and cloud computing,” Bretz said. “The associate degree program contains all the same courses as the certificate plus the general education courses required to earn a two-year degree. Students just entering college may benefit most from the associate degree program because it provides courses in mathematics, speech communication and writing that are valued by employers. Students earning the associate degree automatically earn the certificate as well.”
And on that affordability point: Seriously, just compare the cost per credit at MCCC to that of any big-name university.
Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2023 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.