Student Stories: Jeff Evans

Jeff Evans

Major: Computer and Information Technology

After spending seven years in residential remodeling, Jeff Evans was looking for a change.

Adult Admissions

“I decided to get into IT based on conversations with family and friends and hearing how hot the job market is and will likely continue to be,” he said. “I also read one issue of College of DuPage’s Engage magazine that featured a local guy who went to COD and completed various Cisco certificates. I found that cover story inspiring in a way that really showed how concrete the steps could be to switch or update careers.

“Choosing COD was a no-brainer as I live five minutes away. But I have been consistently impressed by the quality of the facilities, the access to IT equipment and virtual environments, and the outstanding faculty and staff who made the experience such a pleasure.”

Evans pursued two associate in applied science degrees—in Computer and Information Technology and in Cybersecurity and Defense. He also completed coursework that helped him pass the exams for CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications.

I have been consistently impressed by the quality of the facilities, the access to IT equipment and virtual environments.

Jeff Evans

In addition to his academic work, Evans took advantage of opportunities outside the classroom. For example, he helped with COD’s GenCyber program, offered through a grant from the National Science Foundation and the National Security Agency. The annual cybersecurity program features tracks for middle and high school students as well as teachers of grades 3 to 12.

He also was selected to the Cisco Dream Team as one of five top students from around the country (as well as one from Mexico City) who excelled in NetAcad, a Cisco-designed curriculum used at COD. Team members traveled to Las Vegas and helped Cisco’s networking team set up for the annual “Impact” convention.

“They flew us out for seven days and had us work hands-on setting up a network that would ultimately support over 15,000 guests, shadow their IT crew throughout the week, and meet some of the top executives in the company. It was an unforgettable experience, very educational, and is probably a big reason I heard from job recruiters online.” 

Evans advises other students to make the effort to interact with others in the program, which will lead to experiences like his.

“Stay after class and talk to your teachers and classmates. Participate in a club that’s in your field. When you’re in a virtual class, turn your camera on and speak up every once in a while,” he said. “There is a direct line between my hanging around after class and chatting with my professors to being asked to help out at the GenCyber camp, and from there to a few small side projects outside of school. Those extra experiences were enough to beef up my application for the Cisco Dream Team, and that will hopefully lead to even more exciting opportunities moving forward. But it all starts with talking to people, making connections and building relationships.”

In 2022, during the annual Celebration of Academic Excellence at COD, Evans was recognized for Academic Excellence in Business and Technology, an honor for which he is extremely grateful. In 2023, he was named one of the College’s outstanding graduate finalists. Although unsure of an ultimate career, he knows he can follow hundreds of paths and is open to any one of them.

GenCyber at COD

As for COD, Evans knows he made the right decision.

“The classes are laser-focused on getting you industry-acknowledged certifications and are invaluable. I had multiple job recruiters reach out on LinkedIn after I posted my certifications,” he said. “My professors were wonderful, and I’ve worked with several of them on projects outside of class such as GenCyber. Experiences like that are a priceless way to add accomplishments to your resume before you have any real IT experience.

“I have to add that I probably went to the guidance counselor’s walk-in office repeatedly to get help with scheduling issues, stopped by the financial assistance desk a half dozen times with questions, and been to or called the Bookstore at least 20 times with specific requests and questions. Every single person I have talked to or gotten help from was breathtakingly professional, patient, helpful, selfless with their time, and kind.”

Learn more about the Computer and Information Technology program at College of DuPage