Pre-Apprenticeship Links Engineering Student to Employment

Pre-Apprenticeship Links Engineering Student to Employment

Hunter Tucker

Pictured: Hunter Tucker takes a break after cleaning up cable runs at IAC. Hunter earned his Computer Engineering Technology degree in 2016, and is now pursuing a degree in Information Technology (IT) Network Management at SCC to enhance his skills.

When Hunter Tucker completed his Computer Engineering Technology degree in December 2016 from Stanly Community College (SCC), he had no trouble finding employment. "I was able to obtain an interview with my present employer after my instructor, Brian Crump, mentioned that I should submit my resume; he said the job would be a good fit," explained Hunter. Hunter is now pursuing a degree in Information Technology (IT) Network Management at SCC to enhance his skills.

As a Tier-II IT Support Technician at International Automotive Components Group (IAC), Hunter stays busy with a variety of tasks. "I help with the support ticket system, finding solutions to the PCs and equipment on the production floor. I am also responsible for the backup solutions utilized by our servers and PCs," he said. "I also do quite a bit with VOIP installations. I have been helping with the migration process at the Albemarle location and the Montgomery plant from a legacy phone system to a VOIP solution."

Stanly Community College collaborates with local business and industry to help students earn while they learn during a paid on-the-job training component. Companies are able to observe potential employees, while the students prepare for any open positions.

Chris Harwood, a 2001 SCC graduate in Information Systems – Network Administration and Support Concentration, and IAC Regional IT Manager, said, "Hunter came to us with a good base knowledge and a willingness to learn. He has learned a lot about supporting end users both in the corporate office setting, as well as the manufacturing setting." Mr. Harwood said that hiring an SCC student was easy and he was very pleased with the process.

When Hunter is not at work, he is usually playing the saxophone or camping. "Oddly enough, when I have some spare time, I like to work on computers. Outside of computers, I love going to the lake to swim or fish. I especially like to go camping!" he noted.

Hunter says he has always enjoyed working on computers and remembers his electronics teacher in high school encouraging him to study computer engineering. "A big factor in choosing to attend SCC was due to the instructors' knowledge about the subjects they taught. They seemed to really enjoy what they were teaching and that definitely showed throughout my time there."

According to EMSI Data,, computer engineers' median hourly earnings are $27.92 an hour, with nearly 9,429 jobs becoming available in the Charlotte region by 2020.

"If you are going into the Computer Engineering or Networking field, the best advice that I can give is to buckle down and get your certifications out of the way. They will put you a step above all others when you enter into the job market. I am extremely grateful to have a career in a field that I enjoy and that I was able to go straight from the classroom to getting real-world experience. I thoroughly enjoy helping users with their issues and solving problems that occur with equipment," Hunter said.

For information about the Computer Engineering or the Information Technology – Network Management degrees, contact the Eagle's 1-Stop at (704) 991-0123.