Pandemic Helps Nickerson Reevaluate Plans
Thursday, August 11, 2022
Jacob Nickerson, 22, has a plan to turn his passion for computers into a profession. And as a student at St. Louis Community College, he’s on track to do just that.
After graduating from Lafayette High School in 2018, Nickerson began his college career at The University of Kansas (KU). Interested in STEM, he started in mechanical engineering before pivoting to architectural engineering his sophomore year. Then, COVID-19 happened.
“I took several engineering courses in high school and have always enjoyed learning how things work,” he said. “While I had intended to complete my degree at KU, I wasn’t sure which area of engineering I wanted to pursue. When COVID-19 ramped up in the spring of 2020, and my classes moved online, I took the opportunity to reevaluate my college plans.”
Rather than return to KU the next fall, he chose to stay close to home and explore his interests at STLCC.
“Since I completed the A+ program in high school, transferring to STLCC just made sense,” he said. “With everything online anyway, I decided to focus on earning an associate degree in network engineering. After a couple of classes, I was engaged in the coursework and enjoying the fact that I was saving money while learning a lot.”
Along with his degree, Nickerson turned his attention to earning IT certifications.
He recently became CompTIA A+ certified, and he’s currently working on his CISCO networking certification. He’s also considering earning CompTIA Security+.
“In IT, certifications matter, and STLCC has been a great place for me to gain the skills needed to earn these credentials,” he said.
Recently, Nickerson added another credential to his resume. He’s now working part time as an end-user technology specialist at the Wildwood campus. For him, the position provides the balance he needs to earn some extra money while he completes his degree. After graduating in December, Nickerson intends to transfer to a four-year university to pursue a bachelor’s degree in network applications or network engineering.
Nickerson thinks community colleges offer students many options to discover their passions.
“Community college is a great place for you to find yourself, dip your toes into different career areas and figure out what you really want to do,” he said. “I’m glad I made the decision to transfer, and I look forward to graduating, finishing my bachelor’s degree and building my IT career.”