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Home > Businesses & Community > Workforce Development > Annandale > TRiP Program > Testimonials

A NOVA student examining books in a library


Ronald Holmes
TRiP Graduate November 2014

When I started with the TRIP program, I didn’t know what to expect. From being on the phone with David Campbell and going to the open house, I was sold from the start. I continually wanted to come back for classes to learn as much as I could, and by doing that, and also interning at night when I wasn’t working, I was given a great opportunity to work here at NVCC.

I was originally working as an Automotive Technician for General Motors for 12 years when I needed to switch career paths. I had some previous knowledge of computers when I was a kid on up through high school. When I started taking the classes, I found myself relearning a lot of stuff that I was taught in the past and realized, hey, I can do this as a job and not as a side project.

I took a variety of classes while I was here, starting in the spring of 2013, and I still am today from Network +, to server 2008 R2 Active Directory, to Certified Ethical Hacker. I started off with my core classes, Network Essentials, TCP/IP, Microsoft 7 Configuration, and Cyber watch Security. By the time I was done with those, I was offered a job at NVCC working under my teachers. (Can’t beat that)

I always enjoyed working in the IT field and for David Campbell and Kofi Mitchual, who gave me a great opportunity to allow me to work here and allow me to do the job I have grown to love. As long as you set your mind to it, you will become a great IT person and will get very far in life. I have to give thanks to my teachers for supporting me, and for those in my personal life who helped me push through to changing careers and allowed me to take on this awesome process.

Mohammed B. Amin
TRiP Graduate November 2013

I am lucky to be in the modern age of object-oriented programming. I was trying several different paths to find the best way to learn about IT. At long last, I discovered NOVA’s TRiP program with its amazing (like magicians) instructors who turned me into an IT professional. As a result, I trained for and passed the CompTIA ® A+, Security+ and Networking+ certification examinations. I also learned about object-oriented programming with Java and Microsoft SQL Server, Server 2008R2 and Oracle 11g.

I completed TRiP courses on configuring MS Windows 7, and MS Windows Server 2008R2 for the Active Directory, Networking Infrastructure and Server Administration. I also learned about Microsoft’s PowerShell programming language.

From the beginning I was very happy about the instructors’ way of presenting information. They used a combination of classroom theory and hands-on exercises that made it easier for me to understand the technology and to use it appropriately. In addition, I got the opportunity to work as an intern with the Pitney Bowes IT staff several days a week. This was the best opportunity for me to learn the technology in the real world and develop experience with hands-on skills which go beyond the scope of the classroom.

In this quick changing world of information technology, I am grateful to have had this tremendous opportunity to learn through NOVA’s TRiP program.

Catherine Berkemeyer
TRiP Graduate August 2013

I came to the TRiP program with the desire to explore and develop new skills that would offer a wide range of applications in the job market as well as a variety of potential employers. Previously, I had worked in healthcare and I especially enjoyed the aspects of my job that involved the interaction of people and technology. I saw in TRiP the opportunity to take what I enjoyed and focus it in new directions.

From the start I was impressed by the breadth of information presented in all of my classes. Much of this information was initially very new to me. The instructors used a combination of materials and hands-on exercises that made it easier to apply and absorb the subjects, making generous time for questions during and after classes.

After taking the TRiP core courses I pursued several directions in more depth, among them computer security, server administration, and Cisco devices, leading to the completion of my TRiP certificate requirements. As a result of my classes, I was able to pass both the CompTIA Network+ and Security + certification exams. In addition, I interned with the NOVA IT staff several days a week. This was an invaluable experience because it gave me the opportunity to further develop the fundamental, hands-on skills, as well as give me access to more complex aspects of networking beyond the scope of the classes. It also led to my employment as a member of the NOVA IT staff.

One of the exciting, and challenging, aspects of computer technology is that there is always something new to learn and explore. For me, this translates as an open invitation to continue to advance, develop valuable, relevant skills, and to create new opportunities in a continually changing marketplace.

Traci Fisher
TRiP Graduate December 2012

After being a stay-at-home mom for many years, I was confronted with the challenge of re-entering the workforce.  I had developed some computer-related work experience in the past, and I  handled some IT tasks in my volunteer activities.  But my skills needed a significant update.  I looked in the Fairfax area for Network related courses.  I took some local Microsoft Windows 7 and Network + classes, and an interest in Network Administration began to form.  I soon realized that attending classes and reading books did not give me the depth of knowledge that I needed.  I looked online and discovered the TRIP program through NOVA Workforce Development TRIP in Annandale.

As I began the classes, I gained confidence in my knowledge of TCP/IP and the OSI Layer Models.  With the hands-on classroom approach, I was able to apply the knowledge and ask questions of my instructors and classmates while I worked through more than 12 CompTIA and Microsoft text books.  Working in the Computer Lab with real-world scenarios was critical.  I looked forward to working with other students to solve computer issues.  This really helped me apply the knowledge and sped up my progress moving through the Network Server Administration materials.  When I struggled through subnetting, the TCP/IP course helped me master this subject forever.  IPv4 and IPv6 are no longer intimidating.  I have also enjoyed learning about VMware in this internship.   I am an avid user of VMware as a result of this program. 

I am thankful for the excellent instructors at NOVA, who make time to answer phone calls and meet with interns in the Lab to help us prepare for industry certifications.  Also, the staff at NOVA has been very helpful.  We have worked together to set up computers with new software in the Labs and to  set up staff desktop and laptop systems in the building.   As NOVA virtualized its servers, many of us interns were able to follow the process and help the staff in the Annandale campus work in their new environments.  As NOVA works with other campuses worldwide, many of us are able to learn real-world applications of virtual servers.  Working through migrations of Windows XP and Vista computers to Windows 7 has been a fabulous way to apply my MCTS Windows 7 and Server 2008 knowledge.

The Annandale TRIP Workforce Development program provides a very supportive and upbeat environment.   I highly recommend that you contact the TRIP office and attend an OPEN HOUSE to learn more about the great courses that are available to you.

John Sapienza
TRiP Graduate 2011

As a thirty-seven year old making a transition into the IT field I knew I had to find a way to gain core knowledge and to distinguish myself from other job seekers within a reasonable time frame.  I began taking on-line classes through NVCC and obtained a CompTIA A+ certification in a few months. I was heading in the right direction but not very fast.  That’s when I read about the TRiP program and decided to give it a try.

The staff is excellent and very helpful both in and out of the classroom.  With their assistance, I was able to complete the program in five months by combining some credits I had received earlier with the TRiP curriculum credits.  During that time I obtained the CompTIA Network+ and Security+ certifications as well as the ITIL v3 Foundation certification.  I am currently preparing to take a couple Microsoft Certification exams with the goal of obtaining a MCTS. 

For me the best part of the program was the opportunity to work with the IT staff at the Workforce Development Center and the Annandale campus.  By utilizing the skills I was studying in a real world environment they were reinforced and I gained the confidence of knowing I was capable of performing necessary workplace functions.  You can study all you want but the ability to apply the knowledge is essential.

Now, as I am applying for jobs, I still receive expert help and advice from the TRiP program instructors and staff in the form of resume assistance and practice interviews; resulting in my being more confident about my ability to start a career in the IT field.

Uzma Cheema
TRiP Graduate December 2010

It was three years ago when I came to the U.S and I started looking for a job, however; it was not going to be that easy. Although I had a Bachelor’s degree, I could not find a job. So I decided to continue with my education and obtain a diploma that would help me get a job.

I was looking at my options and found out about NOVA’S Continuing Education and Database Administration classes. Technology was not what I was seeking in a job but I thought why not give it a try. I was not clueless about technology because once in college I had taken courses somewhat similar. So I decided to take Database Administration classes. While I was taking the classes I was lucky to find a job as a Database Administrator. At this point I was really interested and loving the field I was in.

Then I found out about the TRiP program. At this time what pulled me toward it was the internship opportunity and the hands on experience it provided. As I did not have much experience I decided to take the course.

After finishing the classes as planned I got to intern. It was a process that I went through that helped me get a job as a Lab Tech at NOVA. Not only were the experiences I had great but also the instructors were willing to help me understand the material they were teaching, making it an experience that would help me later on in my job.

Jerry SchwerdtJerry
Fall 09 TRiP Graduate began in September 09 and graduated in December 09.

I had just graduated college and thought that everything else was going to fall into place, but nothing happened. I worked in a dead end restaurant job in the summer while weighing my options of either going back to school or drudging through the terrible job market. I soon found out about a program atNOVA aimed towards helping shape up people for the IT market in a short amount of time. Having built computers and thinking that I knew everything there was, I came in with a lot of doubt on my mind.

I came to know the instructors really well through taking a lot of the courses, and the other techs helped me a lot while I interned on my time off. This was a great experience for me; I am glad that I stuck to it and found that it has a lot more to offer than just taking the classes. The environment is really great because everyone is supportive of each other and the instructors are very knowledgeable and always willing to help you out. They offer a wide range of courses and you can decide which paths you want to take. The instructors are willing to sit and talk with you if you are not sure about which classes to take, or concepts taught in class, or just talk in general. 

If you have the desire and willingness to work hard and succeed in the IT field, then this is the best place for you to start.
Upon graduating, I was able to find a full time job with DELL (currently contracting) on one of their government contracts as a desk side support technician. I LOVE my new gig and can't think of how else my life would be right now.

Tarek Attia
TarekStarted TRIP in January 2006 and graduated in November 2008.

I stumbled into the TRiP program on theinternet and became interested. I knew I wanted to get into the IT industry because I was always helping my friends and family out with their PC’s. I began the TRiP program with an open mind and the staff was very supportive the entire time. Taking all the required CORE courses and the electives is necessary so a person can get a broad range of technical skills. I eventually passed the CompTIA A+ test and just recently passed a Microsoft exam, earning two strong certifications. I defiantly could not have done this without enrolling into TRiP. At the completion of my TRiP required hours, I landed a job working with NOVA as an IT Support Specialist. My time at school and working with NOVA has been great and I would recommend TRiP to anyone who wants to get into the IT industry.

Susan Norman
TRiP 9 Graduate
When I decided I wanted to change my career, I decided to go into the IT field. It seemed to be an area that was constantly changing and moving forward and because of that, I knew I would have many choices and opportunities. I used the Internet and Yellow Pages to find what kind of programs were available. Various schools sent me information, and I visited a couple of sites.

The TRiP program seemed to be the best way to go, by far. I liked the fact that TRiP gave me the choice of choosing a networking or programming track. Since I was pretty sure I wanted to go the networking route, I sought a program that would prepare me for networking and the Microsoft certifications. I ended up not just being prepared to take the MCSE, but feeling very well-rounded and grateful for the knowledge gained in other areas, such as Microsoft Office, HTML, PC troubleshooting, how to write a good resume, local and wide area networks, and even a little bit of programming.

Two of the most attractive things about TRiP were the fact I would be done in six months and the opportunity it gave me to get an internship with an IT company. I was not disappointed. The classes were intense and thorough. They moved quickly, and I was never bored. The instructors were very knowledgeable and were great about answering all of our questions.

I was offered two internships and chose Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). When the internship was completed, I was offered a full-time job. The people at CSC have been wonderful to me and willing to teach me everything I need to be a good network administrator.

I loved every minute I spent in TRiP. All the students were very supportive of each other since we all had many of the same fears and desires about starting a new career. It was great being with people who could understand completely what I was going through and where I wanted to go.

Seetha Cheeti
TRiP 9 Graduate
Coming from a banking background with absolutely no knowledge of computers or where to start, I was excited when I was selected for the TRiP program. Computers have always fascinated me, and I felt my participation in the program would be the perfect opportunity for me to make a career change. The entire experience of TRiP was very educational, exciting, and informative. I loved going back to school and liked interacting with my fellow students and the faculty.

After the first two months of basic computer skills, I opted for the networking track. It was a very difficult decision for me, because programming also interested me a lot. Nevertheless, I chose the networking track, because I thought that it was easier to land an entry-level job in networking. I think I made the right decision. To this day, I continue to be fascinated by all aspects of a computer, be it hardware or software. I am now into my fifth month of my IT job as junior network administrator, and I am enjoying my work. There is always something new and interesting every day. Thanks to TRiP, I am doing a good job of it so far. I think the TRiP program is the perfect way to break into the IT field.

Michelle Green
TRiP 8 Graduate
I spent the first seven years of my 20's not sure what career I wanted to have for the rest of my life. First I got a degree in chemical engineering and found I couldn't really be happy as a chemical engineer. Then I joined the Army for four years, and, while that was an interesting experience, it was also not something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

When I finally realized that I wanted to be a computer programmer, the TRiP program was there to help me realize that goal. TRiP gave me a foundation for my programming knowledge that I am now able to take into the working environment and apply to anything I do.

The internship that I got through the TRiP program was a wonderful experience. I learned new skills on top of what I was learning at TRiP. The best part was that I got a permanent position with the company after my internship was over which made my transition into the IT workplace very easy.

The TRiP program was the best thing I could have ever done. I have found what I want to do for the rest of my life and the TRiP program made that transition very easy for me. If you are unhappy with your current career and you think that programming or networking is where you want to be, the TRiP program is definitely the way to go.

Razak Abbas
TRiP 7 Graduate
First, I want you to know that I have no hesitation whatsoever to sing the praises of the TRiP program to anybody at anytime or anyplace. The TRiP program just can't be beat. The quality of the instructors and administrators, the caliber of students the program attracts, not to mention its very low cost, all add up to one excellent program. Little wonder other state colleges were and still are beating their chests to emulate TRiP.

I consider myself a shining example of what this TRiP program can do for a person who wants to succeed in the IT field. I started as a complete computer novice, and I now consider myself a computer professional in just a few months of training and experience. What a transformation! Since I completed TRiP, I have had diverse experiences as a software tester, network cable installer, and help desk analyst. I have even managed networks doing backups and granting permissions. What I am saying here is that IT is a broad field with many different jobs to be done.

But then of course, the students have to do their part. This six-month, intensive training program requires that they sacrifice their personal life at times, study hard all the time and have a clear understanding of the difficulty they may encounter at first. It can be done, if they prevail.

Madhu Rajpal
TRiP 7 Graduate
My name is Madhu Rajpal, and I am a graduate of TRiP 7. I am 55 years old and have worked in the retail and restaurant businesses all my life. In the winter of 1999 I made up my mind to change my career to the IT field. During my search for the perfect IT training school, I met a student from TRiP 6, who told me about the program and that I had just missed the testing for the newest TRiP class. Not to be discouraged, I called the school and begged Pete White, the TRiP coordinator at that time, to let me take the test.

In the end, I did take the test, but didn't qualify--at least initially. Since I was determined to find computer training, I opted for a program that would prepare me for A+ certification. In January after the holidays, I decided to call NVCC to see if I still had a chance of getting in. To my surprise, I was told I was accepted if I shared a computer with another student or sat in class without a computer for the first two months until students chose their training track-networking or programming. I was determined to be part of the program, and I accepted the offer.

I was very excited to be a part of a new adventure. I got great help from all the students in the class, because I never quit asking questions. The first two months of training went at an easy pace. I asked questions of every instructor, so I could soak up as much knowledge as possible. I found the other students were well informed, well rounded, and like me, looking for a career change. The faculty and staff were knowledgeable and helpful to the students. The support I received from both staff and my fellow students inspired me to work hard in achieving my life long dream of entering the IT field.

This is a wonderful program. For me, no other private or public school can match the caliber of faculty, staff or curriculum of the TRiP program. If you want to work hard and change your career, then this program is for you. Of course, you have make sacrifices to achieve a goal of this proportion. By the time I finished school in July, I had my A+ and MCP certification and had passed four Microsoft exams. Two months later I got my MCSE. If you have a dream of entering in the IT field, then there is no better place than Northern Virginia Community College and no better program than TRiP.