OFTC’s Antonio Bell Gears Up for Bright Future in the Tech Industry
After returning home from active service in the United States Army, Antonio Bell knew he’d need to further his education to create the future he wanted.
He attended a local university before his stint in the military, but it didn’t go as planned. After returning to Dublin, Bell decided to give college another chance.
“I’m a technology nerd and enjoy learning about various aspects of different technologies,” Bell shared. “So, when I saw that OFTC offered a unique variety of programs that were in my interest, I enrolled.”
It didn’t take long for Bell to decide he wanted a career as a cybersecurity analyst, so he purposed to learn as much as possible by earning associate degrees in cybersecurity and networking.
But during the course of his classes his dream evolved – not only did he want to work in cybersecurity, but he also wanted to be self-employed. So, instead of going straight into the workforce, he returned to OFTC again and is now taking classes in Business Management.
“My long-term goal is to become self-employed,” Bell said. “I decided to pursue business management because I wanted to add on to what I’ve already learned with the two previous degrees. Learning business management principles will only add to my skills and help me accomplish my goals.”
The OFTC Difference
The decision to pursue his education at OFTC was an easy one for Bell. “OFTC made me feel comfortable and I was confident that I would receive education and skills relevant to my career choice,” he said. “The instructors used personal experience in their teaching since they were once professionals in their respective fields, and it made a huge difference for me because I felt like I was truly being prepared for the work in my intended career.”
And it was those relationships that made such an impression on Bell.
“OFTC’s instructors and advisors care about each individual student that walks through the door, it doesn’t matter what kind of background you’ve come from. OFTC is the place to be because they are helping you lay a firm foundation for success.”
OFTC’s flexible schedules and small class sizes are two other reasons Bell feels like he’s been successful in college. “The hands-on experience you gain in labs is very helpful instead of sitting and looking at PowerPoints all day,” he added. “You’re also learning to apply the information you’re learning in class directly to your career choice.”
A Bright Future
Bell is a year away from graduating with his third degree from OFTC and is confident in his future.
“For the last four years I’ve treated coming to OFTC like I would a job,” Bell shared. “I’ve learned so much from everyone around me, about work ethics, and having confidence.”
And it’s that attitude that set Bell apart, earning him the title of the College’s 2022 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership winner, and a job off campus where he’s been able to put his experiences at OFTC into practice.
“Currently I’m working at the most prominent jewelry store in Dublin – Smith’s – and I’m using all of the skills I’ve learned in Cybersecurity, Networking, and Business Management on a daily basis,” Bell shared.
“I check in merchandise and price inventory which is using the logistics skills I learned in the military; I make sure the automations for the business are functioning properly, reboot routers, work on printers, and connect devices to the network which is using the skills I learned in cybersecurity and networking; and I work with my boss and coworkers to come up with different ideas for daily operations, putting into practice the principles I’m currently learning in business management.”
While his first experience with college years ago didn’t start out as planned, Bell isn’t the same person he was then. And it’s those experiences that have shaped him into who he is today.
“I faced many challenges to get where I am today,” he said, “Not completing college the first time around was a derailing moment in my life. But I quickly learned that not everything will happen in the order that it’s mapped out to be. OFTC has changed my life and shifted my perspective and taught me to think like a professional.”