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CFCC Software Development Student Starts Job as I.T. Specialist

Ernest Cates

On a whim, CFCC Information Technology student Ernest Cates is taking his side hustle and turning it into a career. Cates has always had an interest in computers. He spent his spare time working on side projects with web development and dabbled in game programming.

Cates enjoyed it so much that he decided to get his degree in computer science so he could land a full-time job in the industry.

Career Jumpstart

“There’s a running joke in IT,” chuckles Cates. “That in order to get a job, you must be 20 years old, have a master’s degree, and 30 years of experience.”

But fortunately, Cates found that not to be true. The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office recently hired him as an IT Specialist. Some of his new job details will include software installation and inventory management. Cates credits CFCC with equipping him with concepts and skills that made his job interview comfortable and smooth.

In August of 2023, Cates will earn his information technology degree and a diploma in software and web development. Completion of these programs will position Cates for career advancement.


CFCC’s strong reputation for technical programs was one factor in Cates’s choice to study at CFCC. Since he began the program in August of 2021, Cates has had plenty of hands-on training. He spent time actually working on computers and not just reading textbooks.

The program teaches students software concepts as well as hardware support. Students learn the framework of a computer, how to take it apart, and how to reconstruct it.

“Even if you’re studying software development,” explained Cates. “You still must go through hardware classes to know what a computer is and its inner workings.”

Cates also appreciates the job placement opportunities and interview preparation. He believes that the combination of CFCC’s reputation and career preparation gives students an extra edge in the job market.

No Experience Necessary

Cates arrived at CFCC with some self-taught experience. However, students from all skill levels and other careers can start the program. Students do not have to be HTML literate or have a computer to begin. The IT programs at CFCC cover basic computer skills and progress to more advanced concepts.

“The instructors are great, and they will help you get where you need to go,” said Cates. “CFCC can also provide you with a computer. Don’t let that be a barrier for you to enter the program.”

Ernest Cates

Calling All Gamers

When Cates is not studying, he shares his passion for software development in a more social environment as a member of CFCC’s ESports Club.

ESports Club is a newer CFCC Student Club where video game enthusiasts gather in-person or virtually. Members participate in a variety of video games that may include Super Smash Brothers or a random game from the Jackbox Party pack. The club also forms teams for specific games, such as Halo, which compete in local tournaments.

Students, staff, and faculty are welcome to join in the fun. Meeting times can be found on the myCFCC portal, or learn more about the club by visiting the ESports club website .

Whether you dream of a career in information technology or how to crack the next game level, CFCC offers training and fun options for every skill level. From certificates and diplomas to updating your skillset or an associate degree to get your career started, it’s all here at CFCC.

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