I attended triOS back in the late 90s. At the time I was the youngest person ever to attend. Private colleges were expensive, and it was difficult to obtain financing. Students my age could easily obtain financing for college or university, but few could afford private college. I knew the value of industry certifications and chose triOS as it was the quickest path to a well-paying job in the industry I wanted to be in.
triOS offered courses in Unix back when very few people knew what Unix was. They dialed into the IT world and identified that the top two skills at the time were Unix and Windows NT4 which they taught together in a complete program.
The courses were taught in a corporate atmosphere. The classes were mostly made up of professionals between careers or those looking for a certificate to get a better job. I was the only one in the program who was using the course to transition from high school to the workforce. I wasn’t sure how employers would react, but I knew the skills of the day were only being taught in private colleges like triOS, not public 3-year colleges, or 4-year degree programs.
There was a mix of instructors, most of them were still relevant and working in the industry. Almost everyone had practical real-world advice for us to ponder. My relationships with staff and students had a profoundly positive impact on my work and personal life.
Microsoft’s “Network Essentials” was one of the toughest courses I’ve ever taken. I still carry around a brain chock-full of information about token rings, frame rates, and a world that existed before the web browser. The course single-handedly altered the way I view networks and computing forever. Much of the content from that single course is still relevant today.
I used triOS to leapfrog my career and to “formalize” my knowledge of Unix. Along the way, I also learned quite a bit. One of the biggest skills I learned that I still carry with me is vim. We learned how to use vi as part of our intensive coursework. There were easier text editors available, but the instructor insisted we learn it because every system has it installed. To this day I use vim, which was not something I would have been saying back then as learning it was tedious and hard. Once I mastered it I never forgot it, and my instructor was right – to this day I have yet to find a Unix system that does not have vi installed.
My life circumstances required that I be able to get a good job quickly. I can say from experience that I was able to earn far more than I would have on my own. It checked the box for post-secondary education as far as employers were concerned. Unix on my resume always jumped out at IT people and usually landed me an interview. They liked that I was skilled and job-ready, I wouldn’t have had that effect with a degree.
I started out working for a prominent internet company where I was paid better than many traditional College and University graduates. One day I solved a Unix problem one of my “seasoned” colleagues couldn’t. I knew I had made the right choice in schools, I possessed skills that someone with a computer science degree couldn’t understand. A few years later I was hired by one of the top 5 banks, a year after that I left the working world for self-employment.
I became involved in data center management and used my Unix and Windows skills on a daily basis. It was a dream job in a dream environment. My ability to do complex routing gave me a competitive edge in my industry. My business was in digital marketing, but much of the costs were data center-related. By owning and controlling my own equipment and space, I was more profitable than my competition and was able to expand rapidly.
My business grew to the point where I had offices on both sides of the border, employees working for me, and endless opportunities. triOS put me in a position where I was able to experience success. After decades of self-employment, I still give triOS some credit. Without a credential, I would have had a difficult time finding employment early on. With a 3 or 4 year program, I knew I would have graduated with out-of-date information and few marketable skills.
triOS aimed to teach job-ready skills, but it provided me with knowledge I still use to this day. After more than 20 years I still draw on some of the knowledge I learned while a student at the Mississauga campus.
There are few educational programs that lead directly to jobs. Colleges and Universities constantly try to get the ratio of theory to practical knowledge right. In a rapidly changing field like technology, broad-based programs typically only provide you with foundational knowledge. Private career colleges such as triOS are able to tweak their programs on the fly to provide a unique offering. In my case, triOS offered the perfect balance between theory and practice. The skills I learned were not only relevant, but they were also saught out by employers. triOS lived up to its promise of delivering job-ready skills, I was hired for my first position before the program officially ended, something you rarely hear from college and university graduates.