Student Spotlight: Michael Wagner
Major: Computer and Internetworking
After graduating from high school, Michael Wagner moved into his own apartment to gain independence.
In his 20s, Wagner married, had three daughters and at 29 purchased a home for his family. But he knew that wasn’t enough.
“If I wanted to continue my success, I had to push harder,” he said. “My decision to enroll in college courses more than a decade past high school was a difficult one to make.”
Ever since learning the fundamentals of MS-DOS in high school, Wagner had been adaptively learning within Microsoft’s Operating System structure. He visited several technical schools but ultimately decided upon College of DuPage, knowing that his educational credits could transfer to an accredited four-year university in the future.
Wagner started his academic career focusing on education that would lead to industry certifications within IT.
“COD enabled me to become CompTIA certified for A+ and Network+, and I earned the Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching certification,” he said. “I have earned five College certificates within the Computer and Internetworking Technologies program and, to wrap it all up, I’ve now earned my associate’s degree.”
In 2016, Wagner was named one of the College’s Outstanding Graduate finalists. He then interviewed for many jobs before accepting one as a network engineer with BCDVideo, an industry leader in purpose-built video surveillance. His job has taken him around the country to such places as Silicon Valley, Scottsdale, Gulfport and Las Vegas, and he’s even traveled to Central America to Panama City for IT work on the Panama Canal.
“My role as a network engineer has provided me the opportunity to implement, design and install a wide variety of IT-related systems,” he said. “I have been able to apply many of the things I learned throughout my education and so much more.”
Wagner also continues to pursue his education through the CIT program and has earned his CCNA Wireless certification.
“I have no regrets, only positive affirmation of my decision to educate myself through College of DuPage, which has more than satisfied my educational and personal goals,” he said. “For all the people in my life who doubted me, thank you. Because when times became rough for me mentally, physically and emotionally, I used your comments as fuel to continue to push forward. I proved that you can be more than what you’ve become, and that it’s never too late to succeed.
“My advice to future students would be to never let your situation define you, rather define your situation. Personally, I can attest to this motto. It is no easy task being a full-time worker, student, parent of three small children and husband. However, with dedication, commitment and sacrifice, you can achieve your goals.”
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2017 College of DuPage