When NexGenT launched, we had it in our sights to do two things: 1.) to help 1 million people change their careers and lives by teaching them how to become IT and Cybersecurity professionals regardless of their past work experience and 2.) to disrupt our broken education system by making education more affordable and accessible.
It is through that second part of our mission that drove us to partner with Charity: Water, a nonprofit that provides drinking water to developing nations. Clean drinking water keeps communities healthy, keeps children in school, and saves time from women and girls that spend 40 billion hours, in Africa alone, walking to get clean water.
We are excited to share that through our work with Charity Water we were able to fund a now completed school water pipe system, giving clean drinking water for 434 people in a community in Ntcheu, Malawi. Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries that also face natural disasters, with a recent El Niño drought that has dried out its crops. As a district that is recognized for its produce, access to water has the potential of enriching the lives of its farmers, workers, and community.
The school water pipe system was developed at the Kasinje school. With safe water now at their school, students can stay healthy and in class instead of making a long journey to bring back water to their families. At NexGenT we champion students being able to focus on their studies and their future. We see future engineers and innovators at Kasinje and are excited to see what happens next for these students.
When our Co-Founder, Terry Kim, first heard of Charity: Water and their founder, Scott Harrison, it was 2010 and Terry was working at Cisco. After learning about Charity: Water’s mission he told himself that one day when he owned his own company that he would be sure that altruism was a core pillar in the company’s values and that one day his company would be able to support causes that make a positive impact in our world. Also prior to launching, Terry made it a personal goal to be able to provide the funding for a well for Charity: Water.
Fast forward to 2017, just one year after launching NexGenT, Terry Kim and Jacob Hess (Co-Founders of NexGenT) went to a conference and had a full-circle moment by getting a chance to meet Scott Harrison in person. After their meeting, Terry decided to start a fundraising campaign to go towards a Charity: Water project. For our fundraiser, anyone who donated $5 or more received free access to our popular CompTIA Network+ program. It wasn’t easy, but within 3 months, NexGenT was able to raise $10k, with over 1300 donations.
“We launched the campaign when we were a brand new company because I believe that before a business becomes profitable there can still be an element of giving back. When companies are serious about philanthropy, it changes lives; I wanted NexGenT to serve as an example as to how companies could give at any size.” Terry explained. “I’m really passionate about helping people get out of poverty and making education more accessible and I feel like those go hand in hand.”
Not only was the fundraiser successful enough to get a water pipe system for the Ntcheu district in Malawi, but it also was a part of a $1.2 million dollar commitment from other partners to fund 182 other projects bringing clean water to 66,265 people. Being able to be a part of this important initiative gives us hope and shows us what is possible when we stay focused on doing our part as an organization.
NexGenT commitment to charity has continued with our new scholarship program, giving 5,000 full scholarships for the CompTIA+ Network+ training program to IT students who were not able to attend school and for workers who were impacted by Covid19. From people struggling with employment in our own backyard to students 10,000 miles away grappling with a water crisis, we aim to stay committed to help embolden lives through education.
With the outbreak of the Corona Virus forcing nearly 13% of the US population out of work through furloughs and layoffs, many are in a panic to find new jobs. While the announcement of millions of jobs lost is troubling, there is still hope in landing a stable IT job.
Because many IT roles can be done remotely, and their work is essential in keeping businesses digitally functioning and safe, there are still great hiring efforts for IT professionals. So, how do you find an IT job during a pandemic?
Work your network
With all of the amazing job boards and tech tools for job seekers, networking is still the most efficient way to score an interview. Don’t keep your job search a secret. Let your network know that you are looking for an IT job and the type of industry you were interested in.
While networking digitally, LinkedIn is an excellent tool to check in with your network and ask about positions that may be available. Also, consider community groups or IT forums on sites like Reddit, Facebook groups and even public Slack Channels.
In community groups, you will be in forums with professionals with a similar skill set to troubleshoot ideas, fine-tune your skills and talk shop. They’re also a great resource to find out about opportunities and to talk about your job search. In many IT Forums, they often have a “jobs”thread where they will post about job openings and let job-seeking group members ask for help on their career search.
Get your resume in shape
A hiring manager or recruiter spends on average just 6 seconds looking at a resume before they decide to read on or reject a resume. Even if you have excellent experience and skills, if your resume is lackluster in any way it will get ignored, and with some Application Tracking Systems (ATS) an untailored resume may get rejected.
To make your resume more appealing, be sure to use job descriptions as your guide. Your resume should contain the requirements and job responsibilities listed on the job description that you possess so that you appear aligned to the position. Words that are used consistently on a job description are likely a “keyword”, which is a word that an ATS will scan to put you at the top of the candidate list as a good match.
Keep all information relevant to the job you are applying for, but remove anything that does not support your first job.
Connect with IT Recruiters
A recruiter can be your secret weapon in getting the job you want. You can find recruiters who specialize in placing IT professionals by doing a search of IT recruiting agencies in your area or through doing a LinkedIn search for “IT Recruiter”.
Once you make the connection, keep in mind that Recruiters are currently being bogged down now more than ever so they may not get to you as quickly as you may hope. A Recruiter’s #1 goal is to get a position filled, not help candidates find positions, but sometimes your goals can align if you nurture the relationship.
To keep the connection fresh, make sure that you are giving, not just asking for help finding a job. Share one of their job postings within your network or let them know about something industry-related that you think may appeal to them.
Choose companies in industries that are stable
Right now it’s important to stick to industries that are not only stable during these uncertain times but are actually thriving. Currently, the healthcare (and HealthIT) shipping, online learning, grocery, and communication industries are hiring despite the pandemic, along with a good number of technology companies.
All of these companies need IT professionals to keep them functional online, connected and secure for their end-users and customers.
Before choosing a company, take a look at how they are handling the COVID19 crisis both for their customers and their employees. Not only will this help you figure out if the company culture is a fit for you, but it’s also something that consumers are considering when they make purchases.
Check big (and small) job boards
Large job boards like Indeed and Ziprecruiter are great places to have your resume and start your search, but also take a look at smaller, more niche job boards where you’ll have fewer candidates to compete with for jobs.
If you are not seeing much available in your city, be sure to also check for remote positions as the distance may not be an issue for many IT roles.
While the job search may seem daunting, there are still plenty of great opportunities out there, especially in IT that are just waiting for you to apply. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and always put your best skills forwards.