When Julian Jones was among the first students in Howard Community College’s (HCC) Early College cohort, she envisioned a long career in cybersecurity. She was well on her way, too, earning an associate degree in May 2018 – just one year after graduating from Marriotts Ridge High School.
But technology is constantly evolving and individuals in the field must adapt with the changes. After three years of working at Northrop Grumman, Jones is pivoting. She’s starting a new position, with a new focus at a new firm.
“Instead of being in a cybersecurity role like I’m currently doing, I’ll be doing more cloud technology,” says Jones, who transferred from HCC to the University of Maryland Global Campus and in 2020 earned a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity and computer networks. “I’ll be working at a company called Applied Insight, learning all about Amazon Web Service and Microsoft Azuora, which is another cloud-based system.”
Her path in cybersecurity and computer networking was set. But emerging technological trends led her to alter course.
“Everything is going to cloud computing,” she says. “This new job is definitely something I sought. I would like to learn while it’s rather new and the government hasn’t fully adapted to the change. Being ahead of the curve will make me a better-versed employee.”
Wherever she goes, HCC’s banner goes with her. Jones was a groundbreaker with Early College (now “JumpStart”), the dual enrollment partnership program with Howard County Schools. She has advocated for HCC funding increases at public meetings. She was a featured speaker at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Science, Engineering, and Technology (SET) building.
“I’m clearly passionate about continuing education and students attaining it at HCC,” Jones says. “It’s something special for me. HCC was the best experience I’ve had.”
That experience, which began during her junior year of high school, laid the groundwork. She learned vital foundational skills that eased her transition into internships, UMD Global Campus, and her position at Northrop Grumman. “There wasn’t much of a learning curve for me,” she says. “HCC really smoothed out the rough edges.”
Asked what she liked most, Jones said meeting First Lady Michele Obama. Jones also listed the classes, the professors, and the advisors. “Everybody was always willing to extend a hand to help out in any way, shape, or form,” she says. “And with the small class sizes, you got to build more personal relationships with your professors.
As for HCC’s role in Howard County and, subsequently, her career, Jones’s answer is succinct: “The building blocks to continuing education.”
Wherever you want to go, you can get there from here.