Max Armendariz obtained his Associate of Liberal Arts & Sciences (AA) degree with a concentration in Computer Information Systems at St. Augustine College (SAC) in 1998 and since then, he says, his life has taken a 180-degree turn. 

“What changed my life was the day I was fired from my work in a factory because of downsizing, as they had decided to stay with those that were better prepared. That was very hard for me and I remember that a friend encouraged me and told me that I should give it my all to get ahead… but that I had to go back to school. My friend was studying at St. Augustine College and she told me how she received help to enroll and, especially, to improve her studies.” 

Max remembers that it was 1995 when he went to SAC’s West Campus, located on Armitage Avenue in Chicago, to seek out more information.  “I ended up enrolling because I liked how the recruiters and other people like Gloria Quiroz treated me,” he acknowledged. “I went back to work at my old job but I did not stop studying because I had already set out to better myself through education, and I did not stop until I graduated in 1998.” 

Max began to find better job opportunities and so he came to ASPIRA, where he was Director of Computer Science for almost 13 years. He then accepted another job offer at the Proviso Leyden Council for Community Action, Inc. (PLCCA) in Maywood, where he is still the Director of Technology. 

“My life changed after graduating from SAC. I went from being a simple factory worker to a professional, with better working conditions, a better schedule, a better salary and more time to enjoy my family,” he said. “I am eternally grateful to St. Augustine College, because I was always treated as if I was part of their family. That’s what I always liked about this college, feeling like I am part of a family and not just another student. “ 

Today with a career in his hands, he recommends that the community take his experience as proof that studying in SAC can change your life. “Study is the only way to grow, because it is the key to getting ahead. In SAC not only was I able to obtain a career but friends that I still hang on to, because there they treated me as part of their families,” he concluded. 

Computer Information Systems at SAC  

St. Augustine College now offers two careers related to computer systems. The first is an Associate Degree of Liberal Arts and Sciences (AA) with a concentration in Computer Information Systems, and the second is an Associate Degree of Applied Science (AAS) in Computer Information Systems. 

The Associate Degree of Liberal Arts and Sciences (AA) with a concentration in Computer Information Systems offers a broad range of courses designed to provide foundational knowledge in areas such as English, mathematics, science, and history while also providing key courses that are designed to provide basic knowledge within the information technology (IT) field. The Computer Information Systems concentration is an excellent foundation toward pursuing a baccalaureate degree. 

The Associate Degree of Applied Science (AAS) in Computer Information Systems will be prepared to obtain an entry-level position as an application programmer, microcomputer specialist, web developer, database administrator, or within network maintenance and network support. In addition, the program prepares students to continue their education and obtain a baccalaureate degree in computer science at a four-year college. The program has two concentrations: 

Applications Programmer 

Understand the rules of logic and program design; Identify and classify the data structure used in computer programming; Write a business computer program solution from its specification-design; and Identify customer needs, design and implement a computer solution to the business problem. 

Information Systems Support 

Arrange all hardware components and be able to build a microcomputer system; Use basic troubleshooting techniques to overcome common problems that affect a computer system; Demonstrate the skills to setup, install, and upgrade a common operating system and microcomputer applications; and Identify network components and data communication structures in order to build a computer network. 

  

by Eduardo Alegria

Translation to English: Johanna Castro