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Connecting with Community: Computer Systems Technician students support Iqaluit Library

In the above group photo are: Chris McCarthy (instructor), students John Fawcett, Amoudla Kootoo, Lucas Allakariallak, Walter Picco, Librarian Dan Galway, and student Jonathan Kaludjak. In the above group photo are: Chris McCarthy (instructor), students John Fawcett, Amoudla Kootoo, Lucas Allakariallak, Walter Picco, Librarian Dan Galway, and student Jonathan Kaludjak. Photo courtesy of Nunavut Arctic College.

Students with the Nunavut Arctic College Computer Systems Technician Program (CST) took part in a field trip to the Iqaluit Centennial Library this month, providing technical support to the Iqaluit Library’s Community Access Program (CAP) site. Being able to support a more positive user experience for the library’s computer users was an opportunity for the program’s students to gain practical, hands-on experience through a real work project that at the same time provided a positive contribution to the community.

Computer Systems Technician Students fix up the Iqaluit Library CAP site.Librarian Dan Galway heard that the College's Computer Systems Technician students offer computer troubleshooting and repair services to the community, and called to ask if the students could make a site visit to the Library's CAP site, which offers site offers free and unrestricted high speed Internet access.

When the CAP site was initially set up it had not been properly protected from malware and had not been configured with limited user accounts for community members to ensure they could not reconfigure the systems or install unwanted and/or malicious software. As a result, the computers in the CAP site network had become severely infected as well as misconfigured which had a major detrimental effect on the quality of service being provided to the community.

That's where the Computer Systems Technician Program stepped in to help.

“We took an inventory of their current equipment, assessed their current setup, determined what needed to be done in order to make the network operate more efficiently, devised a plan and them implemented the plan,” said Chris McCarthy, the program’s instructor. “This was a great opportunity for our students to make a valuable contribution to the community, as it enables the library to continue offering free high speed Internet access to those who may not have it otherwise.”

Working together as a team, the students and McCarthy re-installed all operating systems and performed required updates. They configured each computer with limited user accounts for CAP site patrons so no one could misconfigure the computers nor install unwanted software  (which also limits the ability of malware to infect the computers), in addition to up to date anti-malware software.

In addition, they devised a system of quickly re-imaging computers that become infected or experience other software based issues in the future and trained library staff on how to do so on their own.

The two-year Arctic College Computer Systems Technician Program, funded by the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Community and Government Services, covers a wide range of topics in Information Technology (IT), providing students with the skills they need to enter an exciting and rewarding career as an IT professional upon graduation.

"I believe that the Computer Systems Technician truly prepares students with the proper skills and duties needed to be able to thrive in today's world of Information Technology (IT)," said CST student Amoudla Kootoo. "I love the program and would definitely recommend it to anyone who is willing to learn how to work with technical aspects of working inside and out of computers, working with computer hardware, operating systems, networking technology and system administration."

Students learn to build computers, to troubleshoot and maintain them, to build and administrate networks, to design and program web sites, plus much more.

Repairing terminals“We cover all the material required to write various certification exams including CCNA, MCTS, MCITP, and several A+ exams,” said McCarthy. “Also, this program takes a ‘learning by doing’ approach and keeps the students busy performing the actual hands on tasks they would perform at an actual work site, not just reading about the theories in a book.”

Amoudla encourages other young Nunavummiut to take an interest in IT careers. "The program offers students all the skills and knowledge needed to work with computers in a whole new way than they're used to. It teaches students the skills that are in demand and can lead to a great career after graduation," she said. "The program offers a wide variety of hands-on projects, so it isn't just reading and writing the whole time.

I absolutely love what I have learned and I am eager to take my knowledge and turn it into skills after graduation."

McCarthy says there are many opportunities for graduates of the program. Opportunities for careers in Information Technology are always growing in Nunavut. As the territory’s economy continues to grow, there will be a constant need for trained professionals.

“Whether someone wants to work for government, private industry or be self employed, taking the Computer Systems Technician program is a great way to get there,” he said.

For more information on the Arctic College Computer Systems Technician Program, click here or contact the Registrar’s Office toll-free at 1-866-979-7222.

Apply today! Applications are due by May 1, 2013!

DO YOU HAVE COMPUTER PROBLEMS IN IQALUIT?

The Computer Systems Technician students provide troubleshooting and repair services to the community. If you've got a problem, maybe they can help! Contact Chris at 1-867-979-7273 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

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For more information on our programs and courses, contact the Registrar's Office at 1-866-979-7222

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