Otobong “Oto” Michael Ukpong effectively balances work, school, and family to live every day to its fullest potential.
Being a good role model for their children is a goal of most parents, and Otobong Michael Ukpong, father of two and Champlain College Online graduate, feels the same way. His family is the most important thing to him. “My wife and I tell our children that being educated will open up the world. It will lead them to pursue things beyond their wildest imaginations,” says Ukpong. Having earned his degree in Computer & Information Systems, Otobong Michael Ukpong knows this firsthand.
Ukpong was raised in Dallas, Texas, by his Nigerian parents—an upbringing that influenced his decision to get into Computer & Information Systems. Ukpong says he was always interested in figuring out how things work and finding solutions to problems. “As a mischievous boy, I would take apart my remote control cars and attach a battery with some wires to the motor, just to see how it would work.”
Ukpong now works as an analyst for Comcast in Houston, Texas, where he performs quality control to ensure items are built within the system to the correct standards. In his current role, Ukpong and his team are responsible for creating tools that make functionality simpler for the end user. Although it may seem straightforward, Ukpong explains that “Technology is driven by back end items that the average user is unaware of. For example, clicking a button on a website requires so much code behind the scenes. It’s not just a button; there are inner workings that happen to make that one thing magically work.”
At Champlain, Ukpong has learned new skills that will help him in his career, including Java coding, HTML and CSS, SQL Server, and networking applications. “The experience with Champlain has been amazing,” says Upkong. “I love how an individual can find a particular niche within the technology space and focus on building that skillset until they become an expert.”
The experience with Champlain has been amazing, I love how an individual can find a particular niche within the technology space and focus on building that skillset until they become an expert.Otobong Michael Ukpong ’20 // Computer & Information Systems
As he gained new expertise in these hard skills, he absorbed important soft skills as well. Time management and goal-setting were critical in helping him balance work and school. Ukpong admits that it can be tricky to have a job while earning a degree. “It is a balancing act with work, school, and life,” he says. “I strategically do a little bit of work every day. It’s my divide and conquer method.” Most importantly, though, Ukpong says we need to “live life to the fullest,” and everything will work out.
In addition to graduating Summa Cum Laude, Otobong Michael Ukpong’s position on the Dean’s List in Fall 2019 is a clear testament to the effort he put into his education. “Embrace the experience,” he urges future Champlain College Online students. “Come in with an open mind and become a sponge to all of the information you are taught. Extend your knowledge beyond a textbook, and look at things happening within the world around you. The path may be bumpy, but the goal is the same. If this was easy, everyone would do it.”