NECC Grows Computer Science Options in Lawrence
Northern Essex Community College’s expansion in Lawrence is good news for local residents interested in careers in high demand computer fields.
Beginning this semester, the college will have two new computer labs equipped with the latest technology in the college’s newly renovated 420 Common Street building.
“Before this semester, we’ve only been able to offer a limited number of introductory computer courses in Lawrence,” said Shar Wolff, assistant dean of technology, arts, and professional studies.
The two new labs will allow the college to expand and offer courses in subjects such as networking, security, programming, and help desk.
“We’re focusing on hot job skills,” said Russ Gouveia of the computer science faculty. “Our help desk certificate graduates, for example, have their pick of jobs with pay starting at $35,000 and increasing to $55,000 or $60,000 within five years.”
Higher level computer courses like data management, information security, and introduction to operating systems are available in Lawrence during the spring semester which begins Jan. 22. For the first time, the college will also have a full-time computer science faculty presence in Lawrence along with computer science tutoring and open labs. In the future, the college hopes to offer computer science certificates and degrees that can be completed in Lawrence without having to travel to the Haverhill Campus. The college is also planning to add industry certification training in networks and computer security.
“We want to work very closely with area employers to place interns and graduates,” said Gouveia. “We’re also looking for employer input as we develop the courses and programs that will be available in Lawrence.”
The college will invite the Lawrence community, including public school students, to experiment with some of the high tech equipment now available in Lawrence. “This semester, we are planning to have regular “high tech petting zoos” where we introduce new tech toys such as robots, micro-computers, and wearable computers. Our students and the community can come in and experiment with some very cool cutting edge equipment.”
In addition to the newly renovated 420 Common Street Building, which will feature an Eastern Bank branch, a café, and a bookstore on the first floor, the college will open the Dr. Ibrahim El-Hefni Allied Health & Technology Center in Lawrence this semester. The 44,000 square foot facility will feature a Health Education Simulation Center, where health care students will receive hands-on experience in simulated environments such as a hospital intensive care unit, a trauma room, an acute care hospital room, an apartment, an ambulance, and a doctor’s office. The building will also include classrooms and computer labs and a Career Planning and Advising Center where students will receive academic and career counseling. The building will be open for classes Jan. 22 but the Career Planning and Advising Center will open later in the semester
While the college is expanding its computer science programs in Lawrence, the programs will continue to be available at the Haverhill Campus. “This is a computer science program that will live in both places,” said Gouveia.
Northern Essex offers three associate degrees and seven certificates in computer science that prepare students for transfer to a four-year college or university and/or immediate employment. Computer & Information Sciences Associate Degrees include Applications, Computer Science Transfer or Information Technology. Certificates include Computer Applications, Computer Forensics Basic, Computer Networking, Computer Security, Help Desk, Information Technology Fluency, and Web Design.