When Matt Hancock, CTS®, took a civilian job at the Charleston, South Carolina, office of Cambridge International Systems, he quickly learned there was a lot more to AV systems than he originally thought. The former satellite communications specialist for the U.S. Army started out at Cambridge on familiar ground, but as his role expanded he was faced with many new concepts and challenges.
“I’d always worked with video teleconferencing systems, but when I got here I had to do a lot of cross-training to learn how the systems work together,” he explains. He took several vendor-specific classes such as those offered by Crestron, Extron, and Biamp, to help get him up to speed, and through those, became aware of the AVIXA™ CTS program.
“I began to realize that all these courses were offering renewable units that I wasn’t taking advantage of because I didn’t have my CTS certification.”
This past December, Hancock, who is also currently studying for a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems at the College of Charleston, buried his nose in the CTS Exam Guide, completed the CTS Prep course and practice test, and “in a very short period of time, but with a lot of experience in the field” took his CTS test and passed.
“Our team lead Jeff Pratt saw my potential and encouraged me,” says Hancock, explaining that, technically, he is not supposed to have an engineer title until he graduates college. Having the CTS certification justified his ability to perform the work required by the AV team, he says, and proved to his superiors that he has what it takes to work on larger projects.
“It has solidified my position and shown the company that I’m interested in staying in engineering and design. I took the CTS on the day of my annual review and was able to say, ‘By the way, I just passed my CTS!’”
Hancock is now setting his sights on studying for his CTS-D.
“AV is so broad that you have to have at least somewhat of an understanding of many different systems, but then you can focus on a few different things. Right now, my focus is design,” he says.
That said, he still describes himself as a jack-of-all-trades.
“I do a lot of things, just like I did when I worked in the military. Every day here is a little bit different, and that flexibility has enabled me to find the niche I fit into and grow in my role as AV systems engineering technician.”