Edwin Trujillo has gone from being a student at Laurel Ridge to being a valued employee.
He first earned his computer science degree from the college in 2020, thinking he wanted to have a career in coding. However, he soon realized he wanted to go in a slightly different direction, while staying in the computer field.
“Instead of going for my bachelor’s degree, my older brother recommended that I go the certificate route, which is what he did, and now he has a great position in information technology,” said Trujillo, who enrolled in Laurel Ridge in 2018.
“I was familiar with the college because both of my brothers came here,” said Trujillo, who is originally from Massachusetts. “It was kind of in the family. I wanted to get into the IT support field, and I knew the college offered certificates through Workforce Solutions.”
Starting in the fall of 2021, Trujillo earned certifications in CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+, and is currently working on his CompTIA Linux+ certification.
Trujillo’s hard work paid off and opportunity quickly came knocking.
“There was an opening as an information technology specialist on campus,” he said. “I was able to apply for it, and I got it. I started May 10, and I’ve been enjoying it a lot.”
The best part, he adds, is that he gets to use his recently-acquired skills in real-life situations.
“You learn all of the book stuff and then finally, when you’re on the job, you see how you have to apply that knowledge,” he said. “It’s been nice, the IT department backs me up and helps me out.
They’re very supportive, especially in my first IT job.”
With an upcoming exam looming, Trujillo says he feels good about its outcome, as his employer encourages strong study habits. In addition to completing his most recent certification, Trujillo’s responsibilities include aiding students and staff with troubleshooting lockouts and unresponsive tech on campus. He says one certification in particular has been of most importance.
“I feel like my A+ was super vital because it teaches you a way of troubleshooting,” Trujillo explained. “Having a basic knowledge of multiple areas in IT kind of helps. That way, everything isn’t overwhelming at once.”
The A+ certification course was Trujillo’s favorite.
“I thought I knew a lot, and once you finally open up the book, you realize there’s a lot of things you don’t know,” he admitted. “It was nice to dive deeper into things I thought I knew about.”
He speaks highly of Laurel Ridge staff, particularly Computer Science Professor Melissa Stange.
“I loved Dr. Stange, she was amazing,” said Trujillo “She’s the head of the computer science department. She always pushed me forward. When things got overwhelming, she would tell me to take a step back.”
He is also grateful to Math Professor Frank Borleske.
“He was also amazing,” Trujillo said. “He wants you to achieve everything you want and keeps pushing you forward. He puts time aside if you need help.”
Trujillo is an advocate for Laurel Ridge and recommends anyone interested in continuing their education to apply for financial aid, which he secured for his courses.
“Virginia Ready helped pay for my first certification,” said Trujillo. “Then I got G3 funding. I would definitely recommend earning certificates, for sure. They help you stand out.”
He also credits the Workforce Solutions department staff, especially Christina Huffman, who was always encouraging him to apply for the next certification.
“She helps me out with all of the paperwork and always checks in on me,” said Trujillo. “The faculty is so nice and supportive. They’re genuinely there to care for you and help you out, to help you succeed.”
Learn more about CompTIA certifications at laurelridgeworkforce.com/comptia.
Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.