David Childress has been an advisor and instructor at ACTC for over 15 years. Most students may recognize him from taking a CIT 105 (Introduction to Computers) course, but David is also the program coordinator and advisor for the Computer Information Technology program. Promoting digital literacy skills is one of his top priorities since the use of computers and related technology is becoming more and more important in today's workforce.
"Computers are used, in some manner, in almost every job field out there. They are a part of our daily lives, so it is important to understand them well enough to feel comfortable and confident when using them." CIT 105 covers computer terminology and how it applies to today's world, Microsoft Office programs (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Access), internet use, e-mail, file management, and Cloud computing.
"It doesn't matter if you're going to be a welder, nurse, machinist, or engineer, computers will be a part of what you do, so you want a good background using them. From creating a resume, searching for jobs online, or creating an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of a family budget, digital literacy is essential."
David has taught basic computer use for over 22 years. He holds a Master of Arts in Adult and Higher Education and a Master of Science in Information Systems. One of his main goals as an advisor is to take the time to answer any questions the student may have and explain the two different tracks they can go into through the CIT program. "We offer a Microsoft Networking and CISCO track. Both tracks deal with networking, but CISCO deals primarily with the hardware side, and Microsoft deals with the software side. Many of our students take both tracks."
During each advising meeting David will review a program check sheet with the student to make sure they are on the right track to graduate and to also ensure that the student understands their program requirements. "CIT graduates often times get their first job in a help desk situation or start out in a networking position. Many of our students can transfer to earn their bachelor's degree. My favorite thing about advising is helping students succeed!"
KCTCS currently has an agreement with Western Kentucky University and hopes to expand partnerships with other four-year institutions. The CIT program has several embedded KCTCS certificates, such as A+, NET +, and Security + that can be earned while they are working on their associates degree. "Certifications may help open doors for the student with little work experience. The more that you can have in your portfolio and resume, the better!"
While the CIT program is mainly offered online, David says the program stresses the importance of soft skills for students and being able to convey ideas to others in a helpful, polite manner and focuses on strengthening interpersonal skills. "There's a lot to consider for this type of work it's not always technical!"