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SDN engineer recommends Mitchell Tech’s hands-on education

Tyler Larson opens up a cement cover to expose SDN Communications' fiber internet
Tyler Larson is an Outside Plant Engineer with SDN Communications, where he works to ensure the company's fiber internet is maintained.

As a student at Washington High School in Sioux Falls, Tyler Larson had a feeling that a four-year university wasn’t the right fit for him.

“I wanted to get working as soon as I could,” he said. “I always had jobs in high school and I like working. So I did a little research on what types of jobs were hiring and where the work was needed.”

What he learned was that careers in the telecom industry were hot. Advances in technology happen at breakneck speeds and jobs in the industry are constantly growing and evolving. That information made the next step easy for Larson. He chose the Wi-Fi & Broadband Technologies program at Mitchell Technical College and has never looked back.

Today, Larson is an Outside Plant Engineer with SDN Communications. His work ensures that SDN fiber is maintained. He handles permitting through the city of Sioux Falls, works with contractors and plans fiber routes to and from customers’ buildings. It’s a rewarding career that he attributes to his choice of Mitchell Tech.

Larson started at Mitchell Tech in 2011. The experience there turned out to be exactly what he was looking for. His education included hands-on experiences starting from day one. He learned by doing, and that’s exactly what worked best for him. “They get you the groundwork set of skills to excel in this industry,” he says. “After two years, you get a degree and you go to work … you don’t spend four years in college.”

Tyler Larson examines SDN Communications fiber internet equipment in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Tyler Larson completed two internships while attending Mitchell Tech College.

Mitchell Tech set up SDN employee for telecommunications career

While attending Mitchell Tech, Tyler Larson completed two internships with SDN Communications. When he graduated in 2013, Larson had a choice of multiple jobs, including an offer from SDN.

“You can kind of choose to go wherever you want to go,” he says. “Mitchell Tech has a reputation for placing students in their prospective fields quickly. I could have had jobs all over the country.”

But when the time came, Larson chose SDN.

WORK AT SDN: Discover the perks and benefits of joining our team

Like his decision to attend Mitchell Tech, Larson has never regretted his choice of SDN. One of the things he appreciates most about SDN is the company’s emphasis on employee growth and development.

“The industry is constantly changing and growing, so it’s expected that people who work in the industry will do the same thing,” he says. “As long as you want to keep learning, you’ll keep growing in the industry.”

Today, with a new baby at home and a career he truly enjoys, Larson has found his happy place. And if he had advice for any high school students who are contemplating their future, it would be this.

“If they aren’t feeling a four-year degree is right for them … I highly recommend they check out Mitchell Tech and its programs,” he says. “If you want to get your education and get started in your career in certain industries, Mitchell Tech is a great school. I’m glad I made the choice I did.”