Skills Put to the Test on the Front Line for Gwinnett Tech Graduate, National Guardsman
Pierre Scott Applies Networking Know-How When Called Up to Iraq
When Pierre Scott’s boss at Genuine Auto Parts asked him for the third time if he knew the computer programming language, COBOL - he decided "the next time he asks me, I’m going to know it."
Scott recognized an opportunity when he saw it - and knew he had to act fast. "I realized that if my boss was asking, I’d better get learning," Scott said. And sure enough, when his boss found out Scott was obtaining his associate degree in programming from Gwinnett Technical College, "I got the chance to move up." Scott was promoted into programming at the businesses’ data processing center in Norcross.
Scott’s decision to enroll in Gwinnett Tech for the training wasn’t a difficult one. It was the only one. "Gwinnett Tech had the only [COBOL] training program around. And the program fit right in line with our operations," Scott said.
Three years later, Scott’s education made him a fit for the Army National Guard’s operations as well. Scott, who had spent 10 years active duty in the Army directly out of high school and is an active member of the National Guard, was called up to serve a year in Iraq.
He was originally assigned to the military operations field of radio/communications. However, the Army has become extremely computerized, and he ended up showing colleagues how to work in Word software and performing computer networking tasks for the military branch. He was so effective that the Army National Guard tried to hire him full-time when his tour in Iraq ended this May. Scott declined the offer to return to his previous employer in Norcross, where he is being primed for management and has "lots of doors opening."
"I have been in and out a bunch of colleges during my active duty [in the Army]. I hopped around to different schools because I moved around so much," Scott said.
According to Scott, though, what set Gwinnett Tech apart from the other colleges was that the education he received readied him for his career. "When I came out [of Gwinnett Tech], I was prepared to go into that line of work right then and there."
Actually, Scott was prepared even before he completed his degree. Because he was working and going to college at the same time, he was able take what he learned at school and apply that new-found knowledge to his job. "As I used my new skills on the job, I could see what areas I wanted to or needed to focus on in the classroom. It enhanced both sides - learning in the classroom and putting my skills to the test on the job."
Even though Scott is currently building on his Gwinnett Tech education by pursuing his bachelor’s degree at a four-year college, Scott says "I honestly don’t feel I’m getting the education I got at Gwinnett Tech. I’m going to learn the theory that I must have in order to get my degree [at the four-year school], and then go back to Gwinnett Tech to actually get the skills I want."
For more information about Gwinnett Tech’s Computer Information Systems associate degree, diploma and certificate programs, visit www.GwinnettTech.edu or call 770.962.7580.