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All eyes on the prize: a further look at the ACE Diploma in Computer Technology

01 Nov 08

Shayna Bryers, Michael Lovell and the rest of their ACE Diploma in Computer Technology classmates, spent October focused on Networking and desktop operating systems – new territory for many, if not all, of them.

Both Bryers and Lovell have been relying heavily on the support of family and friends as they’ve transitioned from full-time employment to full-time study. “What I’m really missing is the paycheque, but my wife has been really supportive. She’s enjoying the marks I’m bringing home, and that’s made up for not bringing home the bacon,” joked Lovell.

While the study is full-time and very intense, it is a far cry from university. “This is not like uni at all,” stated Bryers. “Last week, we got to sit with a computer in front of us and just rip it apart. Uni is all theory, and almost no practical.”

Lovell readily agreed, stating, “We do get theory, but it’s all in relation to ‘why?’. It’s about being hands on while we’re learning the theory, every step of the way.”

The Diploma students have now completed their Networking Essentials course segment and an intense several days-long session on Windows Vista – installing, configuring, troubleshooting and maintaining.

Lovell enjoyed, in particular, the day the students were asked to design a network in teams. “Paul [the Diploma’s instructor] said, ‘Here’s a budget, this is your mock office; design and present your networking solution’,” explained Lovell. In the “mock office”, some of the ports were “broken”, forcing the students into a more real-life experience where not everything is by-the-book.

Mid-October showed the students their first test, and the students can now expect an exam of some sort nearly every week to ensure they’re not falling behind.  Their first major certification exam – Configuring Microsoft Windows Vista Client – took place over the last week or two of the month, serving as a benchmark to the students on how far they’ve come in just a few short months.

At this stage, each of the students is thriving. Onne Hiemsta’s wife and daughters will soon move to a new home on Waiheke Island, meaning he won’t be separated from them through the work week, something he’s thrilled about.

For those students who haven’t yet lined up an internship for the second year of the program, ACE is working to engage additional companies.

Keep track of Shayna Bryers’ and Michael Lovell’s progress by reading their weekly blogs.