Ana Alva is currently the Senior Administrative Assistant for Dresser-Rand, a global supplier of rotating equipment solutions to the oil, gas, petrochemical, power, and process industries with offices worldwide. She is part of the Unit Sales department that oversees all sales in the United States, Canada, and South America.

This past spring, Alva was part of a job force reduction with her previous company, and one suggestion from the Texas Workforce Commission was to increase her skills at a community college.

She enrolled in not just one, but six courses concurrently, all while sending out job applications. Alva selected her courses in QuickBooks, WordPress, Microsoft Application, and others, based on job postings showing what employers were looking for.

She completed all her courses with near perfect scores.

“Business is changing, depending on market conditions,” Alva said. “People need to be aware of new trends, tools, and IT advances that many companies are embracing.

“Houston Community College Online is the best way to prepare for change,” she added. “HCC is affordable, flexible, and user friendly.”

She thought taking online classes would enrich her résumé and show she was a multitasker.

With online courses, Alva was able to apply new skills to her new job immediately. Occasionally she would learn a new idea in one of her college assignments, and literally put it into practice the next day.

Alva says online courses enabled her to stay competitive, and were the best way to upgrade her skills.

Most of all, she appreciated the fact that she could access online courses on her own terms—whether after work or on the weekends.

Alva says one of her favorite courses was Total Quality Fundamentals, in which students learned how successful organizations apply quality to their everyday activities. She believes her courses helped her become more expedient, helpful, understanding of the whole picture, and essentially doing tasks succinctly and faster.

She advises students who have not taken an online course previously to identify a skill that personal needs improvement, then select a course with that learning objective.

In addition to the six classes completed, HCC has hundreds more in most every career field. To explore options, visit