Fascinated by electronics, Michael Orlando has pieced together computers since he was a teen, but to gain a job in the information technology field he wanted credentials.

He joined the College of the Mainland Networking Fundamentals class, where his instructor prepared him for the Microsoft Networking Fundamentals Certification.

He and his class recently earned a 100 percent pass rate on the exam, which helps them qualify immediately for networking jobs.

“The teacher (Chris Walding) prepared us. I don’t think I could have done it without his help,” said Orlando.
Students in COM’s many information technology certificate programs exit not only with a COM certification but armed with Microsoft certifications that companies seek in new hires. COM offers certificates in networking, programming, SQL server database development, SQL server database fundamentals and SQL server implementation and maintenance.
“We start students from the very basics,” said Selina Rahman, COM Business and Computer Technologies Program chair. “The beauty of the classes is that we prepare our students for Microsoft certification exams. Once they pass the exams, they are a hot item on the market.”
Students in the COM networking program also leave with real-world experience gained as part of the program’s co-op at businesses from Del Papa Distributors to First Texas Bank.
Marcus Pitre, an adjunct professor at COM, employs students at City Technology Group, an information technology management company in Houston.
“As a former student of COM many moons ago, I want to give them environment to work in. We have a short training program to teach them our system and customer support,” he explained.
“I try to train them in several different areas. Any co-op program where they can get in and have hands-on experience is really important. It increases their skill level and confidence. It helps them build a resume. Everyone wants to be in technology, and you’ve got to give them competitive advantage in looking for a job.”
Student Cody McFarlin, who is pursuing a one-year networking certificate at COM, works 20 hours a week at City Technology Group as desktop and remote support.
“It’s a lot of troubleshooting,” said McFarlin. “You have to think on your feet a lot of the time.”
A well-rounded program, the one-year networking certificate covers servers, routers, software and hardware. Students can become employable early in the one-year certificate programs, but often continue for more job opportunities.
“It was such a good experience for the first classes, I want to take more, like Windows 7. A lot of people use Windows 7, so it looks good to employers,” explained Orlando. “The classes prepare you for individual, industry-recognized exams. You can pick what interests you. IT allows you to go anywhere in the world.”

For more information about COM information technology certificates, call 409-933-8311.