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Our Voices: Dominic Hartjes—A Second Career in Half the Time

Posted on: March 14th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

Dominic Hartjes, ITEC student.When Dominic quit his first job out of college and moved to Minneapolis with his wife and two-year-old daughter, he knew he’d need some new job skills fast.

“When our household went from a dual income to a single income and simultaneously moved to a city with a higher cost of living, I knew I needed to get in and out of school as quickly as possible,” said Dominic. Having left the world of high school band instruction, his goal was to finish a two-year Information Technology (ITEC) degree in Software Development in just one year and land a job in Minneapolis. So far, so good—with the help of his academic counselor, his MCTC instructors and a scholarship for students pursuing STEM fields, Dominic has custom-designed his path through the ITEC program so he can finish it in half the expected time.

“When I decided to make the switch from being a high school band instructor to working in software development, I looked at my past educational credits and realized I might be able to get my degree in one year,” said Dominic. “In the midst of my career switch and our move to a more expensive area, I couldn’t afford other local schools. MCTC worked for me because of its extremely convenient location, and because of its price tag.”

Dominic took advantage of how close MCTC is to his new home, and found another odd comfort within his degree program. “When I started the ITEC program I was surprised at first. Not only does the program have many students who are switching careers, but several of them are also switching from a music career to a tech career.”

“There’s definitely a connection between music and technology.”

When he first considered making the switch, Dominic took a long, hard look at his career choices.

“In my experience, people who come out of the workforce to make a career switch already have a strong work ethic.” He used the opportunity to evaluate what career would accentuate his personality strengths and better leverage his skills. “I’m opening the door as wide as possible with this new academic track. I’m hoping to work for the fun of it and happen to get paid.”

“By this time next year, I hope to be biking to work in downtown Minneapolis.”

Dominic’s days of teaching aren’t completely over. “Although I’m not teaching high school band anymore, I teach music to kids in Sunday school.”

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