From Lab Assistant to Microsoft Engineer – SCC Student Finds Success

Trent Helms (Norwood, NC), a Support Escalation Engineer at Microsoft, graduated in 2004 from Stanly Community College
with double-degrees in Computer Engineering Technology and Electronics Engineering Technology,
and he acquired numerous IT industry-recognized certifications.

 

 

When Trent Helms is not duck hunting or spending time with his family, he is busy troubleshooting and resolving network-related issues for Microsoft customers. As a Support Escalation Engineer at Microsoft, he supports all aspects of Microsoft Windows products related to networking. Trent graduated from Stanly Community College with double-degrees in Computer Engineering Technology and Electronics Engineering Technology, and he acquired numerous IT industry-recognized certifications. After he graduated in 2004, the faculty and staff at SCC was so impressed with Trent’s abilities that he was recommended for an instructor position, which he accepted and held for 10 years, moving from an adjunct faculty member to a Networking Technology Program Head. 

“I took my first classes at SCC when I was a senior in high school, and I really liked what SCC had to offer,” said Trent. “I chose SCC because it was close to home and inexpensive compared to a 4-year university. SCC instructors were extremely helpful and they offered me a Lab Assistant position as a student, which allowed me to expand my knowledge beyond the classroom and get more practical experience,” added Trent.

Trent confesses the hardest part about getting his education at SCC was deciding exactly which degree he wanted to focus on. “There were a variety of options available and I was interested in so many of them. I wanted to come back for more than just the two degrees I earned originally,” he said.

Trent admits the most challenging part of his career is also the most rewarding. “Technology is constantly changing, so I am constantly learning new technologies. It becomes a big challenge to understand and remember how technologies work between different versions of operating systems and keep them all straight on calls with multiple customers. But on the flipside, the opportunity to learn new technologies and stay on the leading edge is extremely rewarding.”

Trent not only stays abreast on the latest technologies, but he also earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Technology from East Carolina University while working full-time. He is currently working on his Master of Science in Professional Studies, Computer Networking, at Fort Hays State University. “If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t have waited so long before trying to complete my advanced degrees. Believe me, it only gets harder the longer you wait,” he explained.

Recently, Trent had a paper accepted to the 10th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE 2019). “My paper proposes a new approach for using a method called ‘Goal-Question-Metric’ (or GQM) as dynamic inputs for a neural network. For context, a neural network is the basis for Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems.”

Trent wants to encourage individuals to keep learning new things. “Don’t let your education wait. If you find something you are interested in go learn as much about it as you can. At SCC, you will have many opportunities to try new things. The good thing about SCC is that they offer smaller class sizes that allow for more interaction and hands-on learning which is crucial for the technology fields.”

For more information on the Technology and Engineering Degrees at SCC, call (704) 991-0123 or visit the Colleges website at www.stanly.edu.