From Tinkering to High Tech
By Deborah Anderson | Photo by Greg Dahl
don’t find their calling until later in life. Others, like Tucker McCumber,
realize their passion at a young age.
grew up in Spooner, Wis., as the child of two WITC graduates. His father, Bruce,
earned an associate degree in telecommunications. His mother, Gayle, graduated
from the EMT program. Career dreams began to take shape when he attended Eighth
Grade Career Day at WITC. The annual event allows students to learn about
careers from professionals in various fields. That’s all it took for McCumber to
begin planning his future.
a lot of time as a kid tinkering with computers and knew that his future career
would involve designing Web sites, repairing computers or building and
maintaining the networks that link them. McCumber attended Spooner High School
and made himself indispensable by helping staff set up audio/visual and other
technical equipment while gaining experience.
graduating from high school in 2009, McCumber enrolled in the two-year
information technology-network specialist program at the WITC-Rice Lake campus.
He felt the curriculum was customized for the real world, hands-on and directly
pertained to the job he wanted to do.
Brodt, one of WITC’s IT instructors, describes McCumber as “an energetic young
man whose previous experience served him well in his studies.” McCumber
continued to work at Spooner High School as an intern while at WITC and
incorporated his internship into one of his college case studies.
great to have feedback from Tucker in class discussions, which he willingly
shared with other students,” says Brodt.
spring, McCumber joined hundreds of other WITC graduates in walking across the
stage to receive his degree while his family watched. He applied for five IT
positions, was called to interview for all of them, and wound up with three job
offers. In a twist of fate, one of the positions he applied for – and the one he
accepted – was for an opening at Spooner High School as a network district
attributes his confidence in his abilities and the speed at which he got a job
to the training and skill set he developed at WITC. With these skills, he passed
the CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications, which employers expect applicants to
“As a network specialist, I will need to keep those certifications current,” McCumber
says. “Technology is always changing, so I have to be prepared to continue my
pleased to hire Tucker when the position came up. He fit right in,” says Hugh
Miller, Spooner School District technology coordinator.
considers himself fortunate to have the opportunity to work full-time at the new
Spooner High School, which opened fall 2009. There is pride in his voice as he
says, “It is an example of a state-of-the-art school with the latest
typical day involves setting up computers and other technical equipment and
fielding calls to the help desk — sometimes more than a hundred in a week.
“Communication skills are important, and you need to be a detective,” he says,
“You need to ask a lot of questions to troubleshoot where the problem is and fix
three-person department is responsible for maintaining all of the technical
equipment, from the wireless network to the weather bug on the roof.
‘as long as everything’s working, we are anonymous’ and we like it that way,”
allows McCumber to stay near his family and friends in Northwestern Wisconsin
while pursuing his hobbies of photography and storm chasing. Even though his
work day revolves around computers and technology, he now teaches continuing
education computer courses.
advises anyone who has an interest in a program area to call WITC and set up a
class shadow. It’s a chance to speak to instructors and current students and
learn more about the curriculum, job prospects and if it is the right career.
it,” McCumber says. “WITC will definitely help you develop the skills you need
For more information about the IT-Network Specialist program,
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