NPC offers opportunities for people of all ages to expand their knowledge and transform their lives. You’re never too young or too old to pursue higher education. For high school students, dual enrollment presents a great opportunity to accelerate your education and ultimately your career. Ian Graham, formerly of Show Low, used the education, mentoring and work experience he gained at NPC as a springboard to a highly rewarding and lucrative career in information technology.
Graham began his dual education by studying busi-ness at NPC while he was still a student at Show Low High School. He eventually earned an associate degree in business, but that field was not going to be his future.
Possessing a strong interest in computers, Graham began working as a summer temp in NPC’s Information Systems (IS) Department in 2012. This experience opened his mind to a whole new career field and encouraged him to continue working in IS while completing his business studies. In 2013, he began working full time at NPC as an IS computer technician and later advanced into the position of systems technician. By 2016, he had finished his associate degree in business, and his remarkable information technology skills attracted the attention of a large corporation in Phoenix. He went to work at IO Data Centers and now, at age 24, he earns an impressive salary that takes most people decades to reach, if at all, as a systems administrator.
“NPC was a fantastic place to work and study,” Graham says. “My classes were exciting, and I met many great friends and instructors there. I’ve always liked to tinker with computers, but I had no formal education in them prior to my time at NPC.”
In his role as a temporary worker at NPC, Graham did inventory and general labor work. “I was mentored by many people in the IS department and began reading IT books on my own in my spare time. I continued to learn and work with my colleagues for a year and a half before a full-time position opened up.”
A career shadowing assignment in Professor Jennifer Bishop’s business class also helped shape Graham’s career path. He shadowed her husband, Eric Bishop, professor in the Computer Information Systems program and former director of NPC’s Information Services department, further deepening his knowledge about computer technology.
As a full-time employee at NPC, Graham served the Snowflake/Taylor and Holbrook campuses and the centers in Springerville/Eagar and St. Johns. He kept software and hardware up and running and deployed new systems. Later, as his skills advanced, he ultimately became responsible for the college’s back-end server infrastructure, including maintenance of email and video confer-encing. “It was both exciting and challenging,” he recalls.
Graham’s success at NPC paid off handsomely. “I was referred to the IO Data Centers job by a colleague and mentor who formally worked in the IS department at NPC,” he says. “I do much of the same work I did as the systems technician at NPC, just on a larger scale.”
“I think the most important thing I learned from my experiences at NPC was that finding a good mentor and making use of the opportunities and the knowledge of everyone around you is the most important thing you can do to help further your goals,” Graham says. “I would not trade the mentorship of my teachers (especially Jennifer Bishop) and those in the IS department for anything. I believe they have been the most valuable experi-ence of my life thus far.”
Northland Pioneer College is your gateway to career preparation, perhaps in a field you had not previously considered. Let NPC help you transform your life. Speak to an academic adviser today about your options.