Daniel Adams | From forklift operator to IT Support Technician | People of Zero To Engineer
Daniel Adams came from a position as a forklift operator for a chain manufacturing company. About a year and a half into his warehouse career, he was thinking about a change.
He realized his passions lie elsewhere and this job was not one he wanted to do the rest of his life. With encouragement from friends, he decided to get back into IT. He had studied IT in high school — it felt like coming back to an old friend he says. He came across NexGenT online while we were hosting a Network Plus course and decided that was his moment to take his first shot at getting his foot in the door.
He blew through phase one of the program in a month and landed a new position job before he’d even finished his program! He had been combing through job listings, almost casually, when he decided to throw his hat in the ring.
He was shocked when he got a call back.
“They set me up for a phone interview. They drilled me on basic IT questions, and they called me back about a half-hour after we’d finished scheduling the next stage.”
He got the offer the same day as his second interview — he was the 6th person they interviewed that day but they were so impressed by his detailed answers that they knew they had found their guy, hands down.
Daniel stepped into the role of IT Support Technician with a pay increase of $17.50 an hour — quite a few notches above his previous employment.
Daniel sees a huge potential for growth in his new position, with lots of paths to explore and lot’s to learn.
As he continued to work through the program, he was blown away by how concepts were explained and broken down. Particularly when it came to subnetting which was a real breakthrough for him — he had struggled to understand subnetting since highschool. “I’m able to calculate on the fly now!” said Daniel regarding his progress.
NexGenT is designed to get you IT experience without a degree, right when you need it. We’re with you every step of the way.
Through diligence and the willingness to break out of the norm, you can earn a future that brings you true fulfillment. That potential shines even brighter through the community and the accountability that comes with joining the NexGenT family. We are confident that the tools we have to offer can take anyone from zero to engineer if they are put into action.
We don’t just want you to make money — we hope that you’ll wake up every morning full of energy and purpose, enthusiasm for your work, and a pension of intentional living. And, yes, to make a good salary while doing so. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice one for the other.
“Thanks to NexGenT, I was able to land my first IT job,” says Daniel.
If you’ve been itching for a change like Daniel, but are concerned you don’t have the right resume to get you in the rooms you want to be in, we’d love to hear from you and talk you through your options. Apply to one of our programs today!
Juan Fernandez | People of Zero To Engineer
Juan Fernandez was tired of the same old routines. After working over 6 years in retail security as an Asset Protections Manager and being on call 24/7, he was burnt out and bored.
Sometimes, that feeling is all it takes to change your life.
He was scrolling through Instagram and saw a NexGenT ad for a CompTIA Network plus course on a great deal, “Why not?” He thought.
From the mini-course, he was introduced to the Zero to Engineer program and learned more about what was included. It offered the kind of flexibility he needed because of his full-time hours as a manager. He was able to work on his labs, homework, and research in the wee hours of the night and go at his own pace.
“Jacob was doing such a great job explaining topics throughout the course, it just made sense.” Says Juan.
He was motivated greatly by the NexGenT community, the support, and the way everyone drives each other forward.
We love to help our students paint a picture of what’s waiting at the end of the tunnel — something they can hold onto when it gets tough or when it feels never-ending. We remind them what they’re fighting for. We help them find their cornerstone, their driving force. For Juan, the weekly calls were a huge help. It kept him going. Those reminders gave him something to shoot for among the workload.
He began to apply to every job that interested him. By the time Juan found his new position through LinkedIn, he was more than ready to take on the challenge. “I run into people who have spent 4 years in school, and have spent so much time in between books, they don’t even remember what the devices look like,” claims Juan, “Coming from the program, I’ve touched equipment, removed equipment, set it up,” he continues, “I’m not scared to go in and touch the equipment. It’s not foreign to me.”
RELATED: How To Create The Best IT Resume for Top Tech Companies Like Google
Juan was promoted to Systems Project Manager a mere 2 months into his new role, with a sizable pay increase, and a whole lot more growing to do.
He gets to find his own answers in his new role. He’s the only IT guy on the team, so it’s up to him to figure things out and get it done. He enjoys what he does every day immensely.
“There’s nothing wrong with taking one step backward to take three steps forward. Nothing wrong with taking a break, regrouping, re-assessing, and then moving up.” Juan reflects on his career change.
He sees a lot of change coming up for him, and the next step is right around the corner.
Juan is lit up about his experience with NexGenT and encourages others to take the leap.
“You get the best support system, up-to-date content, and hands-on experience that is more valuable than any books or reading material you can get.”
He’s no longer on call 24/7 for work. He knows when his day is going to end. He can have a life. He’s free to plan, grow, and thrive.
“Thanks to NexGenT, I get to enjoy what I do and level up my career,” says Juan.
If any part of Juan’s story resonates with you, don’t hesitate to reach out. There’s a chance that you could seize the same freedom that Juan has earned, and we’re more than happy to help you get there. It’s what we do best!
Check out the programs we offer and fill out a quick application to join our live instructor-led cohorts today.
One of the most difficult obstacles to overcome while getting into the IT field is landing a job with little to no experience. Frequently job seekers are frustrated to see job postings where hands on experience is a requirement.
In this article we will explore ways you can find volunteer opportunities that will help you add valuable experience to your resume.
The first step to pursuing volunteer opportunities is to gain fundamental knowledge in specific areas of the IT field. Whether you went through technical training or did self study for a certification, you’ll need to have some level of knowledge before you can pursue volunteer opportunities. For example, you shouldn’t look to volunteer with an ISP if you don’t know the basic operation of a router.
Once you have some technical skills you are ready to volunteer and gain hands on experience.
What kind of work?
Naturally, you might wonder where you can volunteer and what kind of work you can do. The following are a few places to start-
- Nonprofit organizations
- Schools and School Districts
- Hospitals or Healthcare providers
Shelters, churches and other nonprofit organizations such as the YMCA often rely on technology professionals or professionals-to-be to do everything from set up local area networks to develop Web sites. Nonprofit organizations typically have limited IT resources and need as much help as they can get.
Volunteer work with nonprofits can vary greatly and cover a lot of aspects of IT. The range of skills is wide and you can gain a tremendous amount of hands on skills in a short period of time.
Another wonderful place to look is schools and school districts. Schools have ongoing challenges from many perspectives. Students need access to resources in a secure fashion and with such an emphasis with distance learning, the need for technology professionals will continue to grow.
Typically schools need extra resources with physically installing equipment in classrooms, moving computers, and cleaning/re-installing software. Now with distance learning being so prominent, schools have more opportunities with networking, security, and application delivery through distance learning applications. Configuring and setting up tablets and Chromebooks is also becoming a standard for many IT departments in schools.
Hospitals and Healthcare providers have plenty of volunteer opportunities to explore. These environments are different from nonprofits and schools as they generally have bigger IT departments. With this comes more policies and procedures but that’s not a bad thing!
Doctors, nurses, and other staff within healthcare clinics always need additional support. Computers and technology are in constant use for looking up patient information, scheduling appointments, and inputting data into lab tests. Most volunteer opportunities in hospitals will be in support. Be ready to troubleshoot printing, install software, update software, help end users with getting their job done.
Where to look
Luckily now it’s easier than ever to find opportunities. You can search online for nonprofits in your area. Call and ask to speak to the IT manager and explain how you’d like to volunteer and help their organization. You can check job sites such as Indeed or Monster for opportunities as well. If you are interested in schools, there is a specific site dedicated to openings for schools.
Another thing I recommend is to create a Linkedin profile and begin to network with other professionals in your area. You can make your headline- “Looking for volunteer opportunities” or “Open to work”. Taking time to make some tweaks to your profile and networking with other professionals in your area can go a long way to helping you land a job or a volunteer opportunity.
Though it’s not a guaranteed way to overcome having no professional experience (nothing is, after all), volunteering is a valuable way to prove yourself. It can also help you make the contacts needed for a successful job search.
If you’re planning to volunteer, you should also have a genuine desire to help the organization rather than just gain quick experience and split once you’ve got a full-time job.
As you can see, volunteer work is great hands-on experience and it looks good on a resume.
Jason Benson | People of Zero To Engineer
Jason Benson was in pain, unsure, and beaten down about his work. Every day was a question of muscling through pain and uncertainties, striving for a way to increase his family’s quality of life.
After suffering a back injury—and reinjuring himself multiple times—as an assembly technician, he knew it was time to move on to greener pastures.
He had always been interested in computers but knew that taking on thousands of dollars in student loan debt at his age and with his family was not an option. He was determined to find a route of education that would actually work for him in all areas, his finances, his schedule, and quality of education. He found the Zero To Engineer program while doing a Google search and it checked all his boxes. He had high hopes that this would be the program to help him reroute his life.
It proved to be so and he never looked back!
Fast forward to near completion of the end of the program and feeling confident for the Cisco CCNA, he scheduled his exam and all was about to change.
He passed his CCENT and immediately started applying to every temp agency he could find. He was able to get his foot in the door at Microsoft and prove his value.
During the program, he had to find a balance between caring for his two special needs children, his work, and his studies.With his kids being his biggest motivation for creating a better life, he stayed determined and stuck with it.“If you quit, you’re right back where you started.” says Jason, “If you’re going to commit to it, really commit to it.”
Jason connected greatly with our training strategies. “It can get discouraging, but for me, it’s the way they [NexGenT advisors] teach that’s the biggest thing.” Because of this, he was able to keep a steady pace.
We’ve all been in that place before — unsure, trapped, desperate for change. That moment where we look up from the haze of everyday routines and realize that it’s time to fight for a better existence.
This last year—the infamous 2020—has uprooted many people from normalcy and security. It’s during such a time of transition that we look to new paths and new ways of creating better lives for ourselves and our families.
Even amid COVID-19, Jason’s in a place to have extreme growth in his career, and continued participation with the NexGenT community is more than willing to support him as he reaches for his goals of becoming a network engineer.
“Thanks to NexGenT I have found a great job, a good environment that gives me growth potential, and honestly, have been able to grow in my personal life as well with the direction of having a professional goal in mind.”
Jason created a better environment for his family and has solid career goals that brighten his quality of life. Through NexGenT’s online IT training, he found his next steps.
UPDATE: Since last speaking to Jason, he has continued to drive forward in his career and has now landed a job as an Installation Technician for internet and cable.
For more stories of people changing their career paths from all walks of life, visit Zero To Engineer.
If you’re looking for a chance, a path forward, and want to do so without mountains of debt, apply to the Zero To Engineer Program today. We’d love to help get you started!
Have you been considering making the jump into a career in IT but aren’t sure if it is the right move? I had the same questions and concerns when I decided to pivot from Inventory Control/Project Management in Warehousing. One of the reassuring things I found once I started researching was that some of these are common questions and concerns for folks not only transitioning to tech, but ANY new field. Here are a few things to know before changing careers to IT.
#1 You don’t need to be a programmer
Thankfully, you do not NEED to be a programmer to land a role in IT. Although understanding basic programming is nice, it is not required to work in many positions outside of being a developer/programmer. In fact, the majority of the IT jobs revolve around supporting the work programmers do. The sheer amount of non programming jobs related to IT means there is plenty of non coding work to be done while the developers do their thing!
#2 You aren’t too old
This was the biggest concern I had when I decided to take the plunge into IT. The one thing that held me back the most was worrying how I would change careers mid 30’s, and transition into a world that is perceived to be dominated by people younger than me. This type of thinking is a waste of time, you are not too old! In fact a lot of your experience in other industries is going to be an advantage in IT. I was pleased to find out the average age of workers in tech is 38 years old. Be willing to work alongside people younger than you, be flexible and adaptable, but do not let your age prevent you from a rewarding career in IT. Plenty of people who are in their 40’s and 50’s have taken the skills they have learned over their early career and used that to pivot into a successful role. Life begins at whatever age you decide to start living, a number doesn’t decide that!
#3 You don’t need to be good at math
Boy am I grateful that there wasn’t a math test on my first IT job interview. In fact, the majority of math calculations I do on a daily basis is figuring out my time card!
IT of course does have certain roles where a high proficiency in math would be required, but not ALL roles require this. Working on a help desk, so far I have not been asked to calculate anything that I can’t do with a basic calculator. Do some research on your desired career path, see if math is required for it and if not go for it.
#4 You don’t need to be a nerd(tech enthusiast) anyone can learn
This one was a shocker to me, and I didn’t learn this until I hit the service desk. Apparently, not everyone in IT builds their own PC’s, writes their own programs, and has a command center in their house that can crack the longest passwords in a few seconds. In fact, a lot of people that work in IT are simply good at process and procedure. Would you believe me that some folks I have met in IT, who have been working 10+ years do not own a personal computer? If you can understand how to follow written instructions, and effectively communicate with someone over the phone/email then you have the majority of the skills you need to work in IT.
#5 You don’t need a degree – but it is helpful
This is one of the things that attracted me to a career in IT, the fact that a degree is often not required! This field has so many opportunities for someone without a degree that it isn’t even funny. Now does a degree help? Absolutely, but oftentimes you will see job listings asking for a degree less and less, especially for entry level roles. Also, if you happen to have a degree in a different field, that is usually considered equally to a degree in Computer Science. Don’t let a lack of degree hold you back!
#6 You don’t need a certification – but it is helpful
In my experience, IT certifications rank above degrees in most cases. With that being said, certifications are NOT required so long as you can prove that you have the skills to do the job. There are plenty of people working on the service desks across the country, who only have customer service experience. These individuals are typically less technical savvy than their certified counterparts, but no less valuable. I have seen many people on the desk with nothing but good customer service skills crush it and take the leaderboards for positive customer surveys on a daily basis. If you are interested in certification, Comptia Net+ is a great start.
IT is a much larger field than what the TV shows and movies give it credit for. There are so many different positions you can get, and leveraging what you learned during your previous years in the workforce is going to be the best way to succeed in this move.
Your greatest asset will be your experience! Knowing how to work with people is huge in IT because it is not all about TECH, people are at the heart of IT and knowing how to work as a team is critical. Did you ever work in customer service? If yes, capitalize on that as customer service experience is huge in IT. If you have ever managed a team outside of IT, then you have leadership skills! Project Management and collaboration are all non IT specific skills that can land you a job working in this field. By leveraging these soft skills along with some foundational technical knowledge/certifications you would be amazed at what you can accomplish!
If you have been thinking about making the change, go for it! I did it at 36 years old, with no degree, a few certifications and very limited experience. I can safely say it was the best career decision I ever made. Good luck!