Keith Hoffman* had always dreamed of moving to Florida.
But relocating from central Pennsylvania, where he lives with his family, was complicated. His four children were not enthusiastic. Plus, he wasn’t sure he could land the kind of job he wanted in the Sunshine State.
Why? Because he didn’t have a college degree.
*Keith is an actual Capella graduate who agreed to appear in promotional materials for Capella.
Experience, But No Degree
Hoffman has more than three decades of professional experience in information technology. He currently works as associate director of infrastructure services and information security
at a small, private liberal arts college, and he says he enjoys his work in the education sector. But many academic institutions require at least a bachelor’s degree—and sometimes a master’s—to land a senior level position. Hoffman worried that switching employers would mean losing his seniority.
To prepare for the future, Hoffman decided to get a degree. He began to research online education options and quickly found Capella University. “I’m busy, so I needed a way to get a degree that didn’t require I go and spend a certain amount of hours in a physical classroom,” he says.
Hoffman especially liked one of the options: the bachelor’s in information technology via FlexPath, Capella’s self-paced learning format. With FlexPath he could move through his coursework at his own pace. “I could squeeze in a few hours of studying whenever I had time and make steady progress,” he says.
Motivation and a Master’s
Because his employer encourages personal and professional development, Hoffman was able to crack the books with his bosses’ permission whenever he had a free hour or two during the workday. He also spent time on assignments for a half hour each morning before going to work, studied over his lunch break, and fit in a couple of hours or more after dinner.
Self-motivation was key to succeeding in FlexPath, Hoffman says. “Occasionally you may have to contact a tutor. But most of the time, in order to keep moving, you have to be able to find the answers on your own. You have to be disciplined and driven.”
Hoffman was pleased with his undergraduate experience and upon earning his bachelor’s degree saw value in continuing to advance. He moved immediately into a master’s program after finishing his bachelor’s degree in 2016. “I truly enjoyed the experience that I had earning my bachelor’s through Capella,” he says. “I liked it so much that I wanted to complete a master’s. It was always on my bucket list.”
The master’s in information systems and technology management* degree program involved more writing, more intensive research, and more detailed analytical work than his undergraduate coursework, but Hoffman found it invigorating.
“The capstone was by far the most time-intensive and lengthy part of the program, but I expected nothing less,” he says. “Research with scholarly articles was a big part of the challenge. But the resources Capella offered helped me tremendously.”
With his master’s in hand, Hoffman is eyeing the next step on his career path, perhaps a Chief Technology Officer position or higher. He likes the idea of a new challenge—and if it happens to involve relocation to Florida or another warm, sunny place, Hoffman says, that’s the icing on the cake.
Learn more about FlexPath.