Enter Whatcom’s Matrix

By Victoria Clack

Whatcom Community College offers an award-winning Computer Information Systems (CIS) program that provides career training and employment opportunities for students at Whatcom.

“We are trying to make people employable,” said Corrinne Sande, the program coordinator. Scott Sisco, a Whatcom student in the CIS program said that there is a huge demand for this kind of work and if students put in the effort to complete the program, a job is almost guaranteed. Although he is still in school, Sisco said, “it’s crazy, I’ve had six job interviews in the last month and a half.”

The CIS program staff is fairly small with only three or four teachers so “you build a good rapport or friendship with your teachers,” Sisco said. “[I’ve] been fixing peoples computers all of my life and maybe it’s time to get paid for it.”

Sisco said that the effort is worth it to complete the degree but that, “it is not an easy course by any means.” Jason Hambleton, another CIS student, praised the program and recommended students “give it a try.” Hambleton advised that students interested in the program try a few courses to see how they like it before committing to the degree.

Hambleton said that there are many different markets with a demand for computer knowledge at many different levels and that the computer technology field pays well.

Whatcom was awarded the Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAE2Y) designation in 2011 by the Committee on National Security Systems. This recognizes the quality of the program and the future opportunities it will offer.

According to CyberWatchCenter.org, the website where community colleges can apply for the CAE2Y award, to qualify for the award, community colleges must have “seamless program articulation with CAE universities [and] better job placement and/or transfer opportunities for students.”

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