dcsimg
You are here:

Gavin Black: Family Man Earns Online Degree in Software Engineering

Gavin Black dodged layoffs at International Gaming Technology (IGT), in part due to the software engineering degree he earned online and a chance meeting on an airplane. Gavin started at IGT building slot machines and then earned his degree to advance his career. After telling a fellow airplane passenger about his job and education experience, Gavin was later recruited to work for the state of Nevada.

Q: After you earned your associate's degree in electronic engineering at a brick-and-mortar school, why did you choose to go back to school and finish your bachelor's degree in software engineering?

A: At the time, I was working for IGT and had reached a ceiling in what I could make with my current position and degree. Going to school was in my plans for the future, but I was forced to do it sooner than I had planned. I was given a list of degrees that IGT would accept and had to give them the name of the school to have them approve it. I already [had the skills] my education was going to teach me, but in today's work environment a degree is the key to success.

Q: With so many online schools available, how did you choose?

A: Finding a school was the hardest thing to do. There were a lot of schools offering software engineering. I pride myself in my ability to research something to the point that I will know it inside and out. Even with this ability, I first started off down the path with [one college], but after a few months, I realized the schooling they offered me came across as a diploma mill. So after more research and learning the questions I needed to ask, I found [the online school I attended], which was an online extension of their brick-and-mortar school.

Q: What sorts of expectations did you have about online education?

A: Naively, I expected it to be a lot like learning and attending class in a brick-and-mortar school. I found it to be a very different learning experience in the way they had it set up. I was surprised by the types of online learning tools that were offered to us, such as recorded lectures that included questions and answers from the students and a virtual library for source material for our assignments. Sadly, since we are attending school from a distance and we can find answers on the Internet, they included a tool that would rank the probability that you have plagiarized your work.

Q: Do you feel the classes prepared you for or were directly relevant to your career?

A: In my case it was the other way around. I was already doing programming for work, and my career prepared me for school. I was also blessed with a great mentor at work as well.

Q: What was your favorite class?

A: My favorite classes were my programming classes. Mostly because they normally were not assigned as a group project. I liked the logic problems that they posed and enjoyed being able to come up with many different ways to solve the same problem.

Q: How did the online school you attend help support you academically and professionally?

A: It gave me access to all of the questions and answers that students were asking the teacher along with ways to contact my teacher or fellow students with question or help on the course work. The school also included a lifetime alumni program that will help me with things like preparing a resume and helping me find a job in my career field.

Q: Do you think you've received a return on your investment in your online degree?

A: Yes, I have, regardless of the cost to us. I have been able to accelerate through my career field and have found a great job that is able to support my family.

Q: What career goals has your degree already helped you to achieve?

A: We wanted to be able to have a family with the ability for my wife to stay home and raise our kids. Going to school gave me the career that helped us achieve that goal. It has helped us into our first house and has given me the confidence that if something happened to my job that I have the skills and experience necessary to obtain another job.

Online degrees can help you advance your career without taking time off from your work. Consider how you can get your degree and take your career to the next level.

--
JoVon Sotak is a writer, community journalist, and photographer who enjoys living in the middle of nowhere, Nevada. Her articles have appeared in online and print publications in Nevada and throughout the United States.

Search Schools

      
Matching School Ads
  • Capella University

    Jump ahead in your IT career with a degree from Capella.

    Programs

    • BS - System Development: Mobile (ABET-accredited)
    • DIT - Information Technology
    • DIT - Information Technology Education
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Capella University Request Info »
  • South University, Online Programs

    As a student at South University, Online Programs you will receive the same quality instruction, variety of learning options and level of service found at the campus locations.

    Programs

    • Information Technology (BS)
    • Information Systems & Technology: Information Security Studies (MS)
    Location:
    Savannah: 709 Mall Boulevard, Savannah GA 31406
    South University, Online Programs Request Info »
  • California University of Pennsylvania

    Recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for: Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s 2017, Best Online Programs, Grad Education 2017 and Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s for Veterans 2017

    Programs

    • Computer Information Systems (Bachelor of Science) - Online
    • Cybersecurity Certificate
    • Applied Mathematics (Professional Science Masters) - Online
    Location:
    California: 250 University Ave,, California PA 15419
    California University of Pennsylvania Request Info »
  • Syracuse University Computer Engineering

    Earn your Master's in Computer Engineering online in just 15 months. GRE waivers are available for those who qualify.

    Programs

    • Master of Science in Computer Engineering

    Location: Online

    Syracuse University Computer Engineering Request Info »
  • Post University Online

    At Post University, we believe you shouldn’t have to put your life on hold to further your education.

    Programs

    • B.S. in Computer Information Systems / Computer Networking
    • B.S. in Computer Information Systems
    Location:
    Waterbury: 800 Country Club Rd. P.O. Box 2540, Waterbury CT 06723
    Post University Online Request Info »
  • Keiser University

    For over 35 years, Keiser University has provided student-centered, quality career education. Keiser University Online offers degree programs online to prepare students for in-demand professions.

    Programs

    • Associate of Science in Information Technology

    Location: Online

    Keiser University Request Info »
  • Argosy University

    Welcome to Argosy University

    Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges:  College of Behavioral Sciences, Graduate School of Business and Management, College of Education,  College of Health Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Creative Arts and Design, College of Clinical Psychology and Western State College of Law at Argosy University as well as certificate programs in many areas.

    Programs

    • Information Technology (BS) (Online)
    Location:
    Phoenix: 2233 West Dunlap Ave., Phoenix AZ 85021
    Argosy University Request Info »
  • Utica College

    What They’re Known For

    Founded in 1946 and located in the heart of central New York, Utica College is a regionally accredited, independent, private institution that features many of the advantages of a large university — such as undergraduate and graduate degree options, excellent academics, and outstanding faculty — with the intimacy and high degree of personal attention more closely associated with smaller private institutions.

    Programs

    • BS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
    • MS Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations

    Location: Online

    Utica College Request Info »
  • Matching School Ads

    Quick School Search

    College & Career Search Tools

    • Careers: Unsure about your career path? Study profiles of hundreds of professions.

    • Interviews: Professors and deans sit down with our team to give you unique insights on college life.

    • Military Education: Find only Military friendly online schools and campuses.

    • Student Reviews: Know before you go. Read student reviews on over 2000 accredited colleges. Write your own experience.