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The University of Phoenix is Americas largest accredited private University with over 180 campuses in 35 states nationwide. The University of Phoenix offers a host of undergraduate programs for the working adult. The program that interests me the most is the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BSIT). "The BSIT program is focused on the acquisition of theory and technical competencies associated with the information technology profession". The program is setup as such where full time professionals have the opportunity to attend school while tending to the needs of a growing family.
By assigning both group and individual assignments, the programs focus is to provide a unique learning style that is both academic and practical to real life work experiences. This is a distinctive approach to learning and is a different style from that of a traditional University. I was drawn to the University because of this distinctive approach and it is one of the aspects that intrigued me about the program. I started at the University of Phoenix in January 2004, and have not since regretted a minute of that decision.
Becoming a student in the BSIT program has already proven to be an invaluable experience. I have since applied acquired knowledge from the programs course work to tasks encountered in the job field. My current position as a Maintenance Technician in the Semiconductor Industry requires me to troubleshoot hardware and software failures.
This assignment is broken up into three parts, first I will reflect upon where I was in my personal and professional life before I started the BSIT program.
Next I will evaluate the growth I have experienced during my University of Phoenix program of study. Lastly I will analyze the impact of completing the University of Phoenix Bachelor's program and my current and future professional goals I have established for myself.
In the past, I was of the opinion that having an education was for some people but not for all. Those who made the choice to obtain higher education did so as a personal decision for themselves, more power to those individuals. I knew that the chances to make more money would likely be in my favor and the probability to advance to a higher position is almost guaranteed in some cases. These two benefits and more could be obtained by earning a college degree. I have read studies reporting that people who had a college degree are more likely to be happier with their job responsibilities and more committed to their roles as an employee of the company. "The average family income for people who had only a high school diploma was $52k a year verse the family income of people who had a college (bachelor's) degree was $96k".
The prospect for me to aspire a college education was never a misconception, nor was it a question of the lack of finances available. In fact, I supported my wife as she earned her Bachelors Degree in Case Management at Arizona State University. She began her studies right out of high school while she kept a part time job. It took her approximately six years to complete the program. Me on the other hand, I found a good paying job with excellent benefits, and had been with the same company for six years. My wife and I both graduated from the same high school the same year, but had taken very different paths.
When my wife finally graduated, she found that recent college graduates (RCG's) were starting work at very modest wages. It was apparent that it would take her a decade or more of raises and promotions to catch up to the salary mark that I was at, having started my career six years earlier. While she was hitting the books, I was hard at work making advancements at my company. At that time I was not in the mode of seeking a higher education for myself. Pursuing and completing a degree could have increased my marketability and enhanced the skills I had learned on the job. But, my job was comfortable, the pay was good, the responsibilities were manageable, and as a perk I was having fun working there. There is no question that I had made a mark for myself with only having had a High School education.
Fifteen years later, my wife and I are still satisfied with the paths we had chosen for ourselves. I am still at the same company that I started with out of High School, and doing quite well. My wife has jumped around to a few different companies, but has since found her niche. She has worked at her current company now for 4 years. We have three kids, one weenie dog and a four-bedroom house with a pool. What else can anyone ask for we are happy.
One day at my company, there were talks about the plant shutting down. Wow, I've heard plenty of rumors that float around the plant, and in mort cases they usually come true. I had been there long enough to decipher which could be fact and which ones are just bogus. In any case this rumor finally died down, and we didn't hear anything more on the subject.
While watching the news, we heard a report that my company had plans to shut down several plants on the west coast, one of which was my plant. People within the organization began transferring to different departments and some even jumped ship to the competition down the street. There was a low level panic through out, and people had their own secret agendas lined up to cope with the situation.
Given the circumstances my plan was to go back to school. I choose the University of Phoenix based on some preliminary research I had done online. First of all I sought a program that was primarily geared for the working adult. Secondly I wanted a school that was fully accredited, some how in my mind a degree from an accredited college sounded like it would be a more appealing selling point to a potential employer rather than a degree from a non accredited college. And lastly I wanted a school with locations in multiple places, so I could continue the program anywhere in the country, you know, just in case.
I choose the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology program because I have always had an interest in computers and networking. I knew that the BSIT program would lend itself nicely to the skills I that already posses. I couldn't have chosen a better time to start, because I am at the prime of my life where I am willing to discover and I have a can do attitude about learning & growing. In the past I've taken some college courses and failed miserably, because it was an expectation of my parents for me to go to college.
Now, after completing all of the core competencies in the BSIT program, I feel confident in applying some of the techniques I've learned to various tasks encountered at work. The formal training that I have acquired has been evident in the knowledge and self-assurance that exudes in my day-to-day activities. I reflect on the job struggles I had had in the past and before learning the key objectives taught through the program and now realize the tremendous growth I have achieved from the schooling. This I can attribute to the individual projects & team course work assigned. I have a newfound ability to communicate and speak clearly with a positive emphasis, whether it be a large or small group. The University experience has enhanced my ability to recognize and assume needed leadership roles. Thank you University of Phoenix.
I have two more weeks of class to finish, this assignment I'm working on now, and a team assignment we still need to collaborate before I can say, I am done with the program. So officially I haven't completed my program of study quite yet. However, I can speak on my goals and personal growth plan for the future.
When I graduate and at last earn my degree, I will immediately change my resume from 'scheduled to graduate' to 'earned a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (2006)'. With my newly formatted resume I will begin applying for jobs in the field of Information Technology (IT).
Having a bachelor's degree is not a guarantee of success in the job search arena, rather it may get me the interview I might not have gotten without the degree. Nonetheless, I will aggressively pursue the IT career of my dreams. The company I work for now is very small, and the chances of me getting into the IT department in this century are very slim. Although my current position has been satisfying and rewarding, I will still look for opportunities that will afford me long-term career growth in my chosen field. I also hope to become associated with an organization that will enable me to fully utilize the skills that I have acquired at University of Phoenix, while developing new ones.
It is essential that I continue to emulate the role of a lifelong learner and to keep up those practices. I hope to some day become a mentor for individuals who can benefit from my knowledge and foster those with lesser capabilities. The comprehensive course work completed has taught me the immense value of continued professional learning. In the future I can foresee myself earning a Master's degree in another discipline, perhaps a curriculum more focused in Web Design. A degree in Web design will enhance my understanding of the syntax of HTML programming and strengthen my ability to create award winning Web pages.
Five years from now I hope to have accomplished all of the goals set forth above, and have established a whole new set of goals to strive for going forward and beyond. Over all I have found my experience at the University of Phoenix to be rewarding, challenging and sometimes painful. The BSIT curriculum has made a tremendous impact on my personal and professional life as well as defining future educational endeavors for me to explore.
Apollo Group. (2005). Undergraduate Programs, Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. Retrieved February 20, 2006, from http://www.phoenix.edu/programs/degree_programs/undergraduate_programs/Default.aspx
University of Phoenix. (1998-2006). BSIT v004 Program Handbook. Retrieved February 21, 2006, from https://mycampus.phoenix.edu/secure/Programhandbooks/programhandbook.asp
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