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How to go from the trades to college.

In our recent chat with Alex, a 23-year-old Nebraskan, we got to know his unique career journey from the trades to the exciting world of computer science. Alex’s story is a testament to the diverse career options out there, where you can pursue what you love while securing your financial future.

Discovering the Trades

Alex’s adventure in the trades started when he realized his passion for working with his hands and creating things. He dabbled in welding, heavy diesel mechanics, framing, machining, and engineering. Yeah, he’s a jack-of-all-trades (pun intended)!

A Day in the Life of a Tradesman

Alex kicks off his day early, around 6 AM, and dives into blueprints and plans to construct luxury homes. It’s not all glamour, though. He admits the job keeps him on his toes and doesn’t offer much downtime. Plus, those extreme weather days can be a real pain.

Likes and Dislikes in the Trades

Building stuff and staying in tip-top shape are definite pluses. But, let’s not sugarcoat it – the long hours, unpredictable weather, and pay fluctuations can be real downers. Larger companies might hook you up with health benefits, but the smaller ones might leave you high and dry in that department.

Advancements in the Trades

Climbing the ladder in the trades is pretty straightforward. Start as an apprentice, work your tail off for a couple of years, and voila – you’re a journeyman! As your skills sharpen, you’ll score raises and promotions. Some folks even become foremen or start their own gigs. CEO, anyone?

Transitioning from the Trades to Tech

Alex made a bold move by swapping hammers for keyboards. He’s off to Southeast Community College (SCC) to dive into computer science. Why? Well, there’s more moolah in it, plus the sweet option to work from the comfort of his home. Goodbye, grueling commute!

Challenges and Concerns

Going back to school while holding down a full-time trade gig isn’t a walk in the park. Alex knows that balancing coursework and on-the-job demands is going to be a challenge, especially in the sweltering summer months. It’s all about finding that elusive work-life-school balance.

Benefits of a College Degree

While the money is a massive motivator, Alex sees college as a gateway to a more diverse and inclusive social scene. Meeting folks from different backgrounds and walks of life is a major plus. Networking with future tech moguls, here he comes!

Advice to Aspiring Tradespeople and College Students

For high schoolers torn between trades and college, Alex’s advice is simple: know thyself. Your interests and capabilities should guide your decision. He also stresses the importance of trade schools for getting a leg up. And don’t forget, take pride in your chosen path!

Alex’s journey from building homes to coding software is a reminder that life offers many exciting roads to travel. Whether you’re swinging a hammer or typing lines of code, success comes to those who chase their passions and invest in their education. His story is an inspiration for anyone on their own quest to find a rewarding and financially secure career. So, here’s to all the future builders and tech wizards out there – your path is what you make of it!

By Sydney Burdick