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Liljana Cvetkovska

Liljana Cvetkovska started at Columbus State for English as a Second Language, then she came back to learn a language that’s even harder to understand: How to speak geek.

Cvetkovska is in her last year in the IT Support Technician program, learning how to fix computers, troubleshoot operating systems and maintain computer networks. She enjoys learning about all the many models of computers—and all the many ways they can go wrong.

“It’s a great field where you can’t get bored,” Cvetkovska says.

Cvetkovska was raised in Macedonia, in the former Yugoslavia, and took technical classes in high school. “When other girls were getting dolls, I was helping my father with the tools.”

She met her future husband in 1996, when he was in Macedonia visiting relatives, and she moved to the United States in 1997. She got a job at a telecommunications company and started taking English as a Second Language classes at Columbus State's Modern Languages department.

She was laid off from that company in 2001, but she received some training money as part of her severance. She took more Columbus State classes, finishing half of her associate degree, then left in 2003 to start a family. She came back to Columbus State in 2009 with her eye on the IT Support Technician program.

She credits small class sizes and good instructors, especially Asst. Prof. Debra Dyer. “(Professor Dyer’s) enthusiasm, guidance and real-life experience have greatly enhanced my skills,” Cvetkovska says.

Dyer returned the compliment. “She’s one of my students who you just know will do well,” Dyer says.

In addition to the associate degree, students who complete the IT Support Technician program can also get the CompTIA A+, Network +, Linux +, and CCNA, certifications, Dyer says. The CompTIA and Cisco certifications are recognized standards in the industry.

The second CompTIA A+ class (ITST 143) even includes some social service. The class runs a nonprofit organization called FreeGeeks at CSCC, which receives donated computer equipment from area businesses, Ohio State University and individuals. The ITST 143 students then repair the equipment and donate them to local nonprofits, along with training, as a way to address the IT divide in our community.

That allows the students to work many different kinds of computer equipment, work with customers, and address the “digital divide” in the community, Dyer says.

Columbus State offers a variety of computer-related majors. If you’d rather program computers than support them, check out the Computer Information Technology major. Students who are into computer graphics animation or web design should check out Interactive Multimedia or Digital Design & Graphics.

Students who want to use technology in other fields could check out Health Information Management or Geographic Information Systems, and those who want to write about it should see Technical Communications.