Amanda Mills didn’t want to cripple herself with student debt and needed a flexible class schedule to balance three kids, two jobs and a husband on deployment.
She turned to Tidewater Community College to explore her options and after completing an associate degree and a certificate landed a dream job shortly after graduation.
“I love what I do,” said Mills, database administrator for Armada Hoffler Properties in Virginia Beach’s Town Center.
Information technology was a natural field for Mills, even if she didn’t initially realize it.
The Oscar Smith High graduate started working at Union Mission Ministries as a teen, first at its summer camp and later in the office doing data processing. After high school, she considered physical therapy, but the TCC program was too demanding given all her outside responsibilities. She also considered becoming a teacher until she was directed toward the college’s information technology degree.
It turned out to be the ideal fit.
“I liked math,” she said. “It’s all logic. Everything I was learning made sense to me.”
Night and online classes allowed her to continue to work two jobs while going to school and Pell Grants paid for most of her tuition. Instructor Mary Gable, in particular, helped her navigate all the material.
Mills graduated with her Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology along with a Career Studies Certificate in Database Specialist in May.
By the end of the summer, Mills was hired by Armada Hoffler, where the skills learned at TCC directly apply to her job, particularly the SQL coding. She builds, updates and maintains the property company’s database.
“I didn’t know SQL before I came to TCC,” she said. “Now that’s my bread and butter.”
Mills toys with the idea of getting her bachelor’s but the foundation she got at TCC and professional experience will allow her to advance in the field. “Eventually, maybe I’ll go for my bachelor’s,” she says. “But I have a great job with an associate degree.”
Interested in earning your Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology or your Career Studies Certificate in Database Specialist? Contact Bill Clement, dean of the Division of Information Technology and Business, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 757-822-7124.