From Raising Kids to Programming Lasers. How This Mom Used CNM to Launch a New Career

Erica Slotkin says CNM opened up a new world of possibilities
July 19, 2022

Erica Slotkin loved being a stay-at-home mom. But when her youngest son went to elementary school she decided it was time for her to re-enter the workforce. She’d been a successful healthcare and IT recruiter, but her real passion was tech so she chose CNM’s Computer Information Systems program as a first step forward. 

All this took place in 2020—during the height of the COVID pandemic—so Erica’s classes were completely online. She’d been looking forward to being on campus, but immediately saw that online classes presented their own advantages. 

“Being able to pause and review my lectures so I could look at the instructor’s code was huge, especially while I was distracted with two young homeschooled kids running around,” she says. “The flexibility of those classes was absolutely part of my success.”  

Erica also found that even though she only saw her instructors and classmates through a screen, she still got to know them.

“I still had a strong sense of community throughout my program,” she says. “We saw each other face-to-face on Microsoft Teams and everyone found a way to be personable. I also loved being able to chat with my cohort during the lecture. We asked each other questions and helped everyone stay on track.”

After graduating with her CIS degree at the end of 2021, Erica applied for just one job here in Albuquerque. She didn’t want a remote job because she wanted the opportunity to be in an office each day. Thanks to her technical training at CNM, plus the interview training the program also provided, and topped off by her super outgoing personality, Erica got the job.

She now works as a Systems Programmer at MZA Associates Corporation, a world leader in the modeling, analysis, design, development, integration and testing of High Energy Lasers (HEL) and advanced optical systems. She loves every day. 

“I wake up with a passion to do this job. I love it so much that it’s becoming a part of who I am,” she says.

Erica says the job is a perfect fit because it’s challenging and never routine.

“I am constantly learning and I never have to just sit and go through the motions. I truly have to be involved with what I do,” she says. 

For other adult learners who might be considering a new degree and/or a new job, she says that it’s not as scary as they might think and encourages everyone to check out the high-quality and flexible education plans offered by CNM. 

“I’m 45 and I’m beyond excited to just now be coming into myself and my career,” she says.