Computer Information Technology

Computer in server room showing diagnostics

Computer Information Technology

The Information Technology programs are designed to prepare graduates for employment with organizations that use computers to process, manage, and communicate information. This is a flexible curriculum that can be customized to meet community information system needs.

The Information Technology programs are designed to prepare graduates for employment with organizations that use computers to process, manage, and communicate information. This is a flexible curriculum that can be customized to meet community information system needs.

Career Opportunities

Graduates should qualify for employment in entry-level positions with businesses, educational systems, and governmental agencies that rely on computer systems to manage information. Graduates should also be prepared to sit for industry-recognized certification exams.

Salaries may vary based on the size of business and other factors.

Good to Know

Visit the Admissions Overview page for more information on enrollment at A-B Tech. Once you have selected a program or certificate, you will be contacted via email with a program advisor. For assistance determining your assigned program advisor, visit Program Advisor Information. Proper advising for computer technologies is essential for choosing the right program or certificate that matches your interests and employment goals.

  1. Consult with your advisor to receive a course Plan or register.
  2. Register for classes in your course Plan in Self-Service or with your advisor.
  3. Pay For Classes online through Self-Service or in person in the Business Office.
  4. Purchase required textbooks. (Find out if the course has required books at the Book Store.)
  5. Be present on the first day of class at the indicated time. Parking may be difficult, so plan to arrive at least 20–30 minutes prior to your class time.
  6. Have class supplies such as paper, pens, and pencils for taking notes.
  7. Work hard, have fun designing and learning... and graduate!

Visit the A-B Tech Admissions Overview page for more information.

Registering for an online Computer Technologies course?

Online courses require you to apply technology to access course materials and complete assignments. This can require additional expenses for you. You are responsible for obtaining, troubleshooting, and paying for hardware, software, services, and technical support as needed to be successful in your online course(s).

As a student you already have access to Office 365, Microsoft's suite of cloud-based office applications including Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. Office 365 also provides the ability to install offline versions of Office 2106. Note, Office 365 is not the same thing as an "operating system".

Requirements for online course completion:

  • Reliable access to student e-mail and the Internet. This means paying a monthly fee to an Internet Service Provider (ISP). You will be required to send and receive e-mail. You may also need to send and receive email attachments. You should check your student e-mail and the course website every 48 hours.
  • Access to software specific to courses – see course listings for software specifications.
  • Reliable storage medium (USB Drive, hard drive, online "cloud-based" storage, etc.) to save your work.

Taking an online course is also quite different than a traditional classroom course, so be prepared! In general, you should:

  • be capable of working independently.
  • be very responsible for organizing your time and keeping up with the coursework.
  • use e-mail, voice mail, and office hours to communicate with the instructor (the instructor will indicate his or her preference).
  • be willing to travel to campus to take exams (if required by instructor) or meet with the instructor.
  • be aware that taking programming courses online can be frustrating and time-consuming because of the time needed to figure out coding errors and concepts without direct instructor support.

Technical Issues

Resolving technical problems that a student may experience while installing or using their software/hardware is the responsibility of the student. If students encounter problems, they may need to use campus labs, public libraries or other means to complete coursework. A-B Tech and its staff are not responsible for resolving technical problems experienced by students, including the installation of software needed for coursework. Students who wish to use technology at home, but do not have the expertise, may need to pay for technical support.

Important: How to begin your online course

On the first day of the semester, students registered for online courses must go to Moodle and follow the instructions to log in. Once students have gained access to Moodle, they are to follow the link to their course(s). Announcements and other information will be provided by the instructor. Students are to contact instructors according to the method indicated on the course website.

Instructor email addresses are located on the employee directory. Instructors may use a different address than given at the employee directory; students should use the email address specified at the course website.

Please contact your instructor for questions about your specific course(s) requirements.

Software for each of our courses is available in the lab for the specific course, however, if you are interested in having the same software at home, you may consider the software below.

In general, the following software will be used in all Computer Technologies courses:

  • Windows 10 Professional
  • HTML5 compliant web browser (Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer 11, Firefox, Chrome, etc.)
  • Microsoft Office 365

Online courses may have individual software requirements. Please contact your instructor if you have any questions.

Software Available to Students

Microsoft Office 365

All current students at A-B Tech receive access to Office 365 using their A-B Tech username and password. Computer courses using Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access) may require local versions to be installed for certain tasks.*

To access Office 365 for the first time:

  1. Visit Office 365
  2. Type in your A-B Tech student email address for your username (e.g.
  3. Type in your A-B Tech password (e.g. the one you use for WebAdvisor/Moodle/Self-Service)
  4. Log in
  5. Set your region to "United States and 5 East Coast"

Need help? Read our Office 365 Download Instructions.

Microsoft Azure Education Hub

The Microsoft Azure Education Hub provides access to Microsoft software and services. Your instructor will let you know what you need for a specific course. To access the Hub, please follow the steps below:

  1. Visit Azure for Education and click the blue Sign in button.
  2. Enter your school email and password.
  3. Once signed in, it should take you to the Student Verification page. Please enter your school email address twice and a verification link will be sent to your email.
  4. Copy and paste the link to a new tab then hit continue.
  5. Please agree to the Terms and Conditions.

After completing the above-mentioned steps, you should be able to access the Azure portal. If you were directed on the Azure Home page, please type in “Education” on the search box then select “Education Preview” from the search results.

Software for Specific Programs

IT: Network Management

Networking students can request access to VMware software.

IT: Software and Web Development

Web programming tools and technologies change often, and courses may require certain software tools. Please contact your instructor if you have any questions.

  • XAMPP - Open-source software. Includes Apache Web Server, MySQL, PHP, phpMyAdmin, CGI
  • Coding tools - Many free options exist such as Notepad++, Brackets, Atom, Visual Studio Code, and others.
  • Virtual Servers: Virtual computing servers are offered through the Virtual Computing Lab service of North Carolina State University.
  • Others - As web development technologies and programming languages change often, other software may be used as needed for class projects.

Digital Media Technology

Projects in the Digital Media program rely on access to a number of software applications, most especially Adobe Creative Cloud. Speak to your instructor about software in specific courses.

  • Adobe Creative Cloud - Includes many Adobe applications for design and development, including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, XD, Animate CC, Premiere Pro, Audition, After Effects, and more. A free Creative Cloud account is required to use the software at school. To download (and use at home) you must purchase an Adobe license for about $20/month. Adobe software is available in Haynes 104/115/216 as well as the back two rows of the Haynes 003 lab.
  • Documents - Microsoft Office, Open Office, Google Docs, or equivalent
  • Coding tools - Many free options exist such as: Notepad++, brackets, Atom, Visual Studio Code, and others.
  • XAMPP - Open-source software. Includes Apache Web Server, MySQL, PHP, phpMyAdmin, CGI
  • WordPress - Open-source website development platform
  • Fonts - In order to use custom fonts on lab computers, Portable Apps must be used to load fonts.
  • Others - other software tools may be used as needed in classes.*
  • Online - online tools and services will be used when appropriate.*

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

All GIS classes use ESRI's ArcGIS. This software is provided through a 1-year Educational License by your instructor. This software will only operate under a Windows Operating System. The software WILL NOT run on a Mac OS unless you use Boot Camp and Windows 7 or a Virtual Machine and Windows 7.

*If you have questions about other software, please contact a faculty member or instructor in the related course.

Finding your Advisor

Students are assigned to faculty advisors in their individual programs of study. You can find your assigned advisor’s contact information in WebAdvisor by clicking “Curriculum Students” then “Email My Advisor(s).” Note, many advisors are only 9-month and will be gone from Late May-early Aug. If you have questions, find out more about CT Advising Appointments or schedule one today.



Marlene Roden, Interim Chairperson
  • BS – Western Carolina University
  • MA – Appalachian State University
  • Additional technical training and certifications

My professional career began fresh out of college ... I stepped out of college and went back to high school (as a teacher). For eight and a half years, I taught computer-related courses at two different high schools. Additionally, I was a track coach and FBLA advisor. I also do database and programming consulting (as needed) for local organizations.


My ideal environment is outdoors … I enjoy mountain biking, road riding, trail running, hiking, and camping the most. Prior to working in a professional capacity, I was a whitewater rafting river guide and I am now experimenting with kayaking. My husband and I venture to Montana once or twice a year for skiing, backpacking, and wilderness explorations with family. I am happily married, have two (amazing) step-children, and two white Labradors (Grace and Gus).


Digital Media Technology

Ben Goliwas, Instructor
  • BA - Tulane University
  • MED - Appalachian State

Ben offers experience in consultation, design, development, and life-cycle management of web-based solutions. He has developed numerous web-based data systems (with PHP and MySQL). In addition to experience as a custom programmer, he has extensive experience managing web services in a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) environment, as a Moodle instructor and administrator, a graphic designer, WordPress developer, and administrator, and instructor.


Jonathan Ross, Instructor
  • BA in Vocal Performance, James Madison University
  • MM in Opera Performance, Binghamton University

I started a career in graphic design as an advertisement designer for the school newspaper at James Madison University. After moving to Binghamton, I worked as a motion graphics designer, video editor, and interactive designer for a corporate production house that specialized in trade-shows and events for large corporations. In 2002, I moved to Asheville to teach. For over 16 years I have taught Adobe software tools. Currently, I often work as a consultant and front-end web designer, specializing in WordPress.


Outside of school, I may be found singing in a church choir, or on stage. I may also be found on a disc golf course... trying to get that elusive ace!


IT: GIS Fundamentals Certificate

Pete Kennedy, Instructor


IT: Information Systems

Veronica Dooly, Instructor
  • BA, Business Administration – King University
  • MS, Accounting and Information Technology – University of Maryland University College

Before returning to school to eventually become an instructor, I worked in customer service and as a bookkeeper. Since beginning at A-B Tech in 2001, I have taught a variety of computer courses. I enjoy teaching as it gives me opportunities to learn. I have been fortunate to work with Phi Theta Kappa for seven years and now with Phi Beta Lambda.


I grew up in Andrews, NC with two brothers and a sister. I am married with a grown daughter. We also have a foster daughter who is the mother of our wonderful granddaughter. Our lives are made complete with a variety of dogs. I don’t get much spare time as I am working on a doctorate. However, when I do get to relax, I love to read, swim and travel.


Darren Isbell, Instructor
  • BS - Stephen F. Austin State University
  • MS - University of North Texas

I believe everyone can succeed at something. Find something you are passionate about, do it for a living and you will love every minute of it.


Married to my wonderful wife Karen for 12 years. I have two grown stepchildren, Ashley and Rob, and a West Highland Terrier named Macy.


Pam Silvers, Instructor
  • BA – UNC-Asheville
  • MA – Western Carolina University

Pamela Silvers teaches in the Computer Technologies department. She is a first-generation, non-traditional college graduate. Since 1992 she has taught all aspects of computer technologies, first as an adjunct instructor, now as a full-time instructor, and former department chairperson. Pamela also serves as Principal Investigator (PI) for a National Science Foundation ATE Grant entitled Skilled Workers Get Jobs. Pamela’s commitment to students and STEM can be found in her numerous presentations and awards. She has been recognized as the Faculty Member of the Year and as an Innovator Educator by the local Chamber of Commerce.


I am a huge Disney fan. My husband, Vernon, and I also like to take advantage of the outdoor hiking opportunities in Western North Carolina.


IT: Network Management

Nathan Pfeiffer, Instructor
  • AAS, Network Technology - AB-Tech
  • BS, Industrial Technology - East Carolina University
  • MS, Network Technology - East Carolina University
  • Cyber Security Professional Graduate Certificate, East Carolina University

Nathan has worked in the IT industry since 2002 in roles ranging from desktop support specialist to network engineer. He specializes in routing, switching, and wireless networks, but also has experience with Linux/UNIX and virtualization. He has various industry certifications.


IT: Systems Security

Drake Thomas, Instructor
Education & Certifications:
  • BA, History - King University
  • MS, Technology Management - Columbia University in the City of New York
  • Microsoft: MCP, MCP+I, MCSE, (NT4.0, 2000)
  • EC-Council: CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker), CHFI (Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator)
  • Computer Technology Industry Associates: A+, Security+

"Be nice and fix things" is the mantra that comes through every course I teach where we train students how to listen and engage with their future employers, while also teaching scalable solutions that keep in mind information security and privacy. I believe many careers in IT are best enabled by creating listeners in search of people as opposed to solutions in search of problems. So, I focus our efforts in the classroom on developing technical expertise through practice, while also developing skills in social intelligence, critical thinking, and creative problem solving - all of which are the fundamental skills needed by tomorrow's workforce. Many of my courses integrate large-scale projects that can be accomplished only with effective communication and coordination between students, which allows us to achieve goals far beyond the typical experience of similar programs. We are also heavily focused on preparing students to pass several industry-standard certification exams, which employers count on for evidence of technical expertise.


When I am not teaching I certainly enjoy time away from technology by cycling, fixing things around the house, and traveling with family.


IT: Software and Web Development

Alec Fehl, Instructor
Education & Certifications:
  • BM, Music Production and Engineering - Berklee College of Music
  • MCSE, A+, NT-CIP, ACE, ACI certified
Technical Certifications:
  • Microsoft: MCP, MCP+I, MCSE, (NT4.0, 2000)
  • EC-Council: CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker), CHFI (Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator)
  • Computer Technology Industry Associates: A+, Security+

Alec Fehl has been a technical writer, computer consultant, and web application developer since 1999 and a classroom teacher since 1989. After teaching math for ten years in Los Angeles, he and his wife moved to Asheville where Alec now teaches web programming/design and computer hardware/software. He was named 2007 Adjunct Teacher of the Year at A-B Tech, was a recipient of the 2008 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award, and was thrice nominated for the A-B Tech Teacher of the Year. His involvement with SILSA (Asheville High) earned him the 2017 Asheville City Schools Parent Champion (SILSA ) award. He has written over 20 technology books ranging in topics including HTML/CSS, computer security/maintenance, Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, and A+ certification.


Charlie Wallin, Instructor
  • BFA, Ceramics, and Photography - Michigan State University
  • MS, Software Engineering - the University of St. Thomas

Before working as an instructor at A-B Tech, I taught at Western Carolina University in the Business Computing Department. I have also worked as a programmer for a small web-based company and worked as a programmer for the software development department in a large architectural firm in Minneapolis.


I am married and have one son who is 17 years old. When I’m not spending time learning new technologies and programming ideas, I enjoy playing traditional Irish music on the Anglo concertina. In addition, I enjoy reading for pleasure.

Computer Technologies Student Expo

Come join us as graduating students show off their final projects and portfolios from the Digital Media Technology and Information Technology programs. Many students will be showing their capstone projects including databases, spreadsheets, web design and development, print, audio/video and interactive design. This is an excellent opportunity to find out more about the programs or recruit a graduating student for your business.

The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

2020 Student Expo

Fr, May 1, 2020 | Noon-2pm
Location TBD

Employer Advisory Committee Meeting

Each year, we ask local professionals and organizations to join us at a luncheon to discuss changes in our programs, recognize award-winning students, and offer suggestions for improvements to our curriculums. If you are interested in joining us, please contact Marlene Roden, Chairperson.

Student Organizations

Phi Beta Lambda (PBL)
Omega Alpha Epsilon Chapter
The purpose of this chapter shall be to further the goals of Phi Beta Lambda within the state of North Carolina. This chapter shall provide opportunities for post-secondary and college students to develop competencies for business and the educational world. Phi Beta Lambda is an integral part of the instructional program and in addition, promotes a sense of civic personal responsibility.

Local Tech Meetings and Organizations

Meet the Geeks
Helping IT professionals in Western North Carolina – from programmers to sales, recruiters to venture capital – to meet and network. They have bi-monthly meetings (odd months) and events listed on their website and Meetup page.

Tech Meetups
Find out what is happening in the tech industry through focused Meetup groups including Asheville Area WordPress Group, Asheville Coders League, Code for Asheville, Women in Tech, Unity Game Developers WNC and more.

Tech After Five
Tech After Five is live professional networking for IT Professionals, entrepreneurs and the people who can help them. Meetings happen once a month. With hundreds of companies and thousands of professionals ready to network throughout the Tech After Five community, there is someone waiting to meet you this month.

1MillionCups Asheville
1 Million Cups is a weekly event for local entrepreneurs to meet and present their startups to the thriving peer network of founders in Asheville.

If you have an organization we should add, please let us know. Contact Marlene Roden, chairperson.

Students create a wide range of projects including documents, spreadsheets, databases, websites, and more. Computer Information Technology is a diverse field!

Contact the Faculty Advisors in your program of interest.