Jonathan Maas came to Forsyth Tech in 2004, right out of high school. His plan was to get his Associate degree and then transfer to a four-year university, but it didn’t work out that way.
“I spent a few years just in and out of classes, not sure what I wanted to do,” he says. “I was more focused on getting to my friends at the university than on my career. But I had always enjoyed working on computers, so then one day it just clicked and I said, ‘You know what, I’m going to go into computers.’ And I did well once I started those classes.”
Jonathan graduated in 2009 with a degree in Networking Technology and soon went to work for Novant Health as a technical support person. Today he’s the lead tech for Novant in the Winston market, with a staff of 10 people under him. He’s also Novant’s hardware tech for the Winston market. “Laptops, desktops, printers, scanners – any type of hardware that connects to our network is something I support,” he says.
He credits Forsyth Tech for providing him the comprehensive education that made this possible. “The Networking Technology degree did focus on networking, but one of the great things is that I also took classes in database, programming, operating systems and hardware,” he says. “What I learned in those classes are things I still use every day in my job.”
But it wasn’t just what he learned – it was the people he learned from. “The instructors were awesome,” he says. “I could talk to them after class or days when I didn’t have class. They even said, ‘Hey, our classrooms are always wide open. Come in if you feel like you need further guidance on something you’re struggling with.’”
Small classes also helped. “The small classes were great for me because I was able to feel comfortable enough to speak up in class and ask questions. I was able to build the confidence I needed to be more outgoing, which is important in IT. In IT you’re dealing face-to-face with people all the time.”
What led Jonathan to Forsyth Tech initially was advice from other people. “They kept saying, ‘If you’re not really sure what you want to do, go to Forsyth Tech,” he recalls. Today, he gives the same advice. “I would recommend Forsyth Tech one hundred percent. If you don’t really know what you want to do, don’t spend all the money going to a university – go to Forsyth Tech, then transfer. Or if you know what you want to do and want to jump into work, Forsyth Tech has a wide variety of different programs.”
For Jonathan, it’s advice he’s glad he took. “Overall it was just an excellent experience.”