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Bates Technical College

As part of its robust computer science programs, Bates Technology College has a bevy of classes in security, wireless, systems administration, and more.

As part of its robust computer science programs, Tacoma-based Bates Technology College has a bevy of classes in security, wireless, systems administration, and more. Also, because the college is keen to see its graduates in jobs, the school replicates a workplace environment. With wireless on the rise in the corporate sector, it’s a natural match for Bates to beef up instruction in that area. Members of the advisory committee for the Advanced Technologies and Computer Sciences department talked about what’s happening, and what’s next.

What kind of courses are you offering to students interested in wireless technology?

As part of our program, we offer wireless in the second year. We teach all aspects of it, and this year we’ve added courses in wireless LAN technology that allows students to concentrate on setting up access points as well as learn about security.

It’s a pretty comprehensive program that’s aimed at enterprise-level wireless so instead of just lighting up a house, a student would be able to implement and manage a wireless system for a company.

Why does the college feel that having business partners for the programs is important?

We think that giving students the opportunity to draw knowledge and resources from the business world is crucial. The school is able to give students a solid academic foundation, but they also have to know how to apply the technical skills when they graduate.

By having business partners that offer internships, or work projects, or job shadowing, students can understand what it’s like to work as part of a team at a company.

Wireless technology seems to be changing so rapidly. How does the college keep up with the changes?

There’s an arrangement here where you can’t expect any one instructor to be an expert in every area, so they work collaboratively.

Our instructors even take courses from one another. We also provide funds for training, and the instructors work closely with our business partners to stay informed about what kind of technology is needed in industry. By doing these things, we’re able to constantly upgrade the curriculum and be aware of growing areas of specialization.

What kind of students do your computer science programs attract?

The average age is about 32, and most are in some kind of job transition. So we have many individuals who may still be employed and come for customized training.

We also have people who have left their jobs either voluntarily or through layoffs, and they know the industry is changing, so they’re looking to stay ahead of the curve.

We’re unique because we have two structures here that give students more flexibility in their education. We have a two-year college program, and we also offer certifications.

Lately, we’ve been seeing more people with bachelors and masters degrees who don’t have certifications like Cisco or MCSE, and they’re able to just come in and get those without having to go through the two-year program. Many students like the way the classes

What do you have planned for the future?

Wireless is a growing field for us, both on its own and as part of security training. We have Cisco-oriented courses, but we also have several other alternatives, and will keep offering those in the future.

Basically, we’re constantly watching to figure out which way the wind is blowing in technology, and developing courses that way. We look hard at which technology paths will lead to jobs, and help our students get the education necessary to get great jobs when they graduate.

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