Two years ago, Marilyn Wilhelm of Annapolis faced a difficult decision. Her husband had lost his job, and the family of six couldn’t make it on the single income of a school day-care worker. Her sister suggested she look into a computer networking career, so she enrolled in the Cisco Networking Academy at Anne Arundel Community College.
After two semesters of working part time and living off savings, Wilhelm became a Cisco-certified network associate. The entry-level certification ensures technicians know how to connect and manage the wiring and switches to link computers and provide Internet access. The college held a career fair last year with companies that had partnerships with California-based Cisco Systems Inc.
Her training and enthusiasm landed her a summer internship and later a job at Chesapeake Netcraftsmen, a networking company in Arnold. This year, she began teaching the basic networking courses she took at the college and started studying for higher-level certification through her company.