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From millwright to webmaster thanks to TCC’s web development specialist certificate

Build a website or maintain one. Learn how to code, draw and animate web graphics and add audio and visual elements, too.

The best part? You can get a job without investing years of your life and lots of your money. Michael Skipper earned his Career Studies Certificate in Web Development Specialist from Tidewater Community College and is now webmaster at Virginia Wesleyan University (VWU).

Skipper thought his future was set for life when he accepted an apprenticeship as a millwright at the Norfolk Ford Plant shortly after graduating from Cox High School. When the plant closed in 2007, he turned his hobby of tinkering with computers into a career by beginning classes in TCC’s 24-credit web development specialist program.

What’s key?

“Get your certifications!” Skipper advised.

Three semesters at TCC, where classes are in the evening or online, prepare you to sit for multiple industry certifications – key to getting hired. Among them:

  • Certified Internet Web (CIW) Internet Business Associate: Proves you have the foundational knowledge of the significant technologies to work effectively in today’s business environment
  • Certified Internet Web (CIW) Network Technology Associate: Demonstrates your understanding of virtualization and troubleshooting networks
  • Certified Internet Web (CIW) Site Development Associate: Demonstrates your knowledge of essential page development skills
  • Certified Internet Web (CIW) Design Specialist: Demonstrates your ability to make sites visually appealing and easy to navigate

Noted Jared Oliverio, head of the web development specialist program, “You’ll be competitive in the job market with certifications.”

TCC offers all the resources, including practice tests, to ensure you pass the first time.

Get real

Perhaps the best component of TCC’s web development certificate program is that students complete a real-world project in their final semester. Students in ITD 210 divide into groups and either build a website from scratch or update an existing site. At the end of the semester, the student groups present their work, and the client chooses which site closely matches his or her needs.

The best part

Skipper touts the TCC professors as fantastic, and he enjoyed learning in the more personal environment on the Virginia Beach Campus, which made for regular interaction and hands-on classroom work.

“The campus had a homey feeling, and that’s what I find here at Virginia Wesleyan,” he said.

Skipper, who is nearly finished with his bachelor’s in business administration and computer science from VWU, is thankful that he still enjoys his webmaster position. “It’s cool to know what I do ends up on the Internet for people to see for years to come,” he said. “The code that you write takes on a completely different life when viewed on the web. It’s transformative work.”

If you want to go further . . .

All credits stack toward TCC’s Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology.

More information: Contact Oliverio at