Sunday – September 24, 2017
Career-Ready Training Leads to Near-Instantaneous Job Offer for Web Developer Maggie Fernandes
Maggie Fernandes' participation in Milwaukee Area Technical College's Portfolio Night last year was more than an academic exercise - it was an express ticket to an exciting job as a front end web developer at Milwaukee's Communicor, Inc. Fernandes received an email inviting her to meet with Communicor staff about a job opportunity the day after Portfolio Night. She received and accepted a job offer from the company within the next week
Portfolio Night, which could be described as a "reverse job fair," is held annually at MATC. (This year's event is scheduled for May 12, 2016, at the Downtown Milwaukee Campus.) Many graduating students, particularly those from the School of Media and Creative Arts, gather to show their professional portfolios and work samples to industry representatives and to the public at Portfolio Night.
A 2015 graduate of MATC's mobile designer associate degree program, Fernandes urges women to investigate careers in high demand technical fields.
"I met so many industry people at Portfolio Night," Fernandes said. "It was exciting to be contacted so quickly about a job opportunity." Communicor provides design, production, marketing, fabrication and logistics services. Fernandes serves as a front end web developer for the company, developing and improving web and mobile-based applications for clients. Front end developers ensure that websites are attractive, usable and easy to work with from browser to browser, and from computer to mobile device.
Ready for Job on Day One
"I was ready for my job on day one," Fernandes said. "I got the design files and I started working. It was a great feeling. I knew just what I was supposed to do."
Fernandes learned her craft by earning MATC's mobile application designer technical diploma in December 2014 and the mobile designer associate degree in May 2015. She came to MATC with some college credits that could be applied to her degree and diploma. She wanted a career that would allow her to find a job wherever she decided to live.
Fernandes spoke at an Advisory Committee recognition event for MATC's School of Media and Creative Arts in November 2015.
An avid fan of scrapbooking, she applied her interest in design to a class in Illustrator and then another in Photoshop. Taking those courses convinced her that web design was the best fit for her interests.
"I love organizing and layout," she said. "I like to have a framework and to be able to organize within that framework. I love problem solving and coding, bringing a vision to life. I like both the creative and the technical end. Both aspects are satisfying to me."
Fernandes was drawn to MATC for many reasons. The colorful MATC banners highlighting the Downtown Milwaukee Campus first caught her eye, leading her to research MATC. "I learned about the breadth of the programing and how affordable the college is," she said. "To take a technical course for less than $500 is unheard of these days."
Impressed with Instructors and Small Class Sizes
She is very impressed with the small class sizes and the scheduling of the courses with one-and-a-half or two-hour lectures followed by two hours of lab time. "The instructors are there to help you with your projects if needed during lab," Fernandes said. "It's terrific to have that time to work on the computers with instructors available to help you. You don't have to do your projects during lab hours, but if you want to, it's a bonus. That makes a big difference to students who don't have computer access at home."
Fernandes was contacted for a job interview the day after the 2015 Portfolio Night event, and received a job offer from Communicor, Inc., within a week.
Great instructors are a strong suit for MATC, said Fernandes. "Every MATC instructor I had was terrific, personable and accessible," she said. "They help you to challenge yourself and to advance your career. It really is wonderful to learn from people who have actually worked in the field."
She also is impressed with the course structure in the School of Media and Creative Arts. "Courses are project-based," she said. "You have building blocks. You don't have to have all the answers. You are taught how to get the answers. It's great that the college has designed the courses based on problem solving. It works. It's a terrific approach. It helped me transition into a job situation."
"Every MATC instructor I had was terrific, personable and accessible. They help you to challenge yourself and to advance your career. It really is wonderful to learn from people who have actually worked in the field.
Encourages Females to Prepare for IT Careers
Fernandes said that her field is considered a non-traditional occupation for women. She encourages girls and women to enter technical fields, and volunteers her time to work with a group called Girl Development IT Milwaukee.
She also serves on MATC's Web Design and Front End Development Advisory Committee, advising program instructors and staff on what students need to learn to be successful in the field, and on industry needs and trends.
Fernandes is shown with instructor Kate DenDooven (r) when she received MATC's Lamp of Knowledge award for her work in the mobile designer associate degree program in May 2015.
Fernandes encourages individuals to enroll in MATC's web development programs. "You can spend one or two years here and get a diploma or degree; graduate; and get a good, family-supporting job in one of fastest-growing fields out there," she said.
Portfolio Night 2016 will be held on Thursday, May 12, on the Downtown Milwaukee Campus. Industry professionals are invited to attend from 4:30-6 PM and the general public is welcome from 6-8 PM.
For more information on MATC's web design and front end development associate degree, visit: http://www.matc.edu/media_creative_arts/degrees/web-design-front-end-development.cfm
See more information on MATC's mobile designer associate degree at: http://www.matc.edu/media_creative_arts/degrees/mobile-designer.cfm
To learn more about MATC's mobile application designer technical diploma, visit http://www.matc.edu/media_creative_arts/diplomas/mobile-application-designer.cfm