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.”
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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.
Demetrisse Harris took a chance on NexGenT and found a family. He is currently one month in as Field Support Rep for Gazion Technologies and loving the experience.
Let’s rewind: Demetrisse was running an errand for his other full-time job at that time and decided to study NexGenT content on his laptop, while he was waiting. A man passing by was intrigued by the clip he overheard—our lesson going over spanning tree protocol—and asked what he was watching.
The man was impressed at how far along Harris was for only studying a few months and quizzed him on basic IT questions and identifications. At the end of their conversation, the man looked at Harris with a sharp eye. “Are you willing to start working part-time, right now?” The man continued, “I’d like you to do a ride-along with me and see if you like it.” Demetrisse raised an eyebrow and pursued more information, from which he learned he was speaking with the owner of the company Demetrisse would be working for if he accepted his offer. Flabbergasted, Demetrisse pressed into the conversation to hear more.
Gazino lamented his wishes that NexGenT was around when he was in school to Demetrisse, saying how it would have saved him $80,000 in debt, out of which he suggests only gaining only $2,000 worth of IT education. Unreal, but a sad reality for many and a problem in our broken education system that NexGenT aims to solve.
“This card they gave me – I live by this card”
Demetrisse tells us, “Almost every day I run into someone in IT who wants to help me out and give me advice. I feel like I hit a lucky streak just by signing up for the program.”
One of the main draws of NexGenT for Harris was the live interaction between the student and the instructors. He has come to love the online community of NexGenT and how he has somewhere and someone to turn with questions with a virtual program.
We value real connections with our students—there’s no substitution for high-touch interaction when learning new skills.
“I’ve totally bought into the program, I’m at the point where as soon as I finish this, and if another class opens up, I’m taking that one too. I’m that invested in it already.” Demetrisse was first drawn into IT when he was running a music studio, where he had to learn how to configure everything by himself and he enjoyed the process.
At that same time he was working as a sales manager in retail and it struck him one day that he no longer enjoyed what he was doing. He said to himself, “I need to go back to school to do something I love.” With that mindset, he started digging around into different IT programs and landed on NexGenT.
Demetrisse was enticed by the program focusing on the right curriculum and leaving out all the fluf – really getting into the nitty gritty and job-ready skills. “I love that [while going through a lesson] you’re not sitting down for 2 hours to get one point across. It makes it easier to backtrack, to learn, to write my notes.” — We keep the lessons inside the modules between 15-45 minutes with few extending past that. That way you can take breaks, students can keep focused, and track topics easier.
Demetrisse’s tip for taking things to the next level: If you want an extra hands-on experience instead of only Cisco Packet Tracer, you’ll want to find equipment that will serve you. It could cost as low as $300, and that gets you the hands-on practice that will give you the confidence and the upper-hand when starting your job search and interviews.
“I don’t feel like I’m trying to be sold into another program that may work. I’m being in a program that is going to work and already is.” He beamed, “I knew enough for a guy from a company to say hey, let me take you on, and I’m only a month in. I don’t think that would have happened if I was with any other program.”
It’s amazing what a community can provide to those who dare to step into a new direction. Demetrisse is filled with hope for the future, and he has found a true family while in pursuit of his goals.
“Thanks to NexGenT, I know I’m going to be successful. . .Answering that email has been the best decision that I’ve made in a long time.”
We are beyond grateful to have Demetrisse as a part of the NexGenT family! We’d love it if you joined us, too.
Stephanie Cote was becoming bored in customer service, looking at a future of putting out fires, reprimanding workers, and shouldering the weight of supervising and all of its daily frustrations. Whether that frustration was from navigating the fact that they were still using Windows 7, the constant slog of being the one people came to with their problems, or any other staple of unfulfilling work.
Stephanie was at a fork in the road. She knew what going one direction would bring, but the other way? She couldn’t fathom where the second path might take her.
It was in the midst of these crossroads that Stephanie found NexGenT. It was that “Other path” she had been searching for. She was further convinced this was the path for her after a call with one of our representatives.
“The level of hands-on learning that you get through the NexGenT program is really unmatched,” Says Stephanie and was one of the primary features that lead her to signing up.
She began her program, attended the weekly live coaching calls led by instructors, and dedicated her spare time to learning the new material. Sometimes that meant carving out extra hours on nights and weekends for completing homework and practicing in virtual labs which made all the difference in helping the new subjects stick.
It wasn’t long before Stephanie was ready to start dipping into the job search and testing the waters. One of her initial applications was noticed, and she ended up getting a call quicker than expected. After speaking with the HR person, she got a follow-up call on the same day to set up an interview with the hiring manager.
It was her first technical interview, and it was different than any she’d had before. She answered with confidence and the best of her knowledge however there were some questions she got wrong, and Stephanie thought that was the end of it.
But a few days later, they contacted her for an in-person interview. Afterward, to her surprise and excitement, she was chosen for the position.
“I’m just constantly absorbed into it because it is something that I enjoy doing.” Says Cote about her new position. Where there once was frustration, lack of fulfillment, and dead ends, there is now a drive that fuels her every day, “I’ve never felt this way about any other job that I’ve had.”
Cote had a hard time believing that she got the job – She went out to lunch with her new boss to find out why he chose her – she had to know for sure.
He told her she had clear descriptions of systems in her resume, and he could tell she knew her stuff.
She banked heavily into the project she completed within our Network Plus program to showcase her competency and abilities. Cote could confidently use the language and the skills she honed with NexGenT to earn her new position as an IT Systems Engineer.
“If you don’t go out there and make it happen, you’re never going to have those opportunities.” Says Stephanie, “By joining the NexGenT program, I started to create those opportunities for myself.”
That’s the backbone of NexGenT: the community, the hands-on experience, and the accountability from our Career Success Coaches that helps earn jobs and careers.
“Thanks to NexGenT, I was able to have the motivation and drive to enter the field.” Through NexGenT, Stephanie found her path and gained the passion she had been missing.
Do you feel like you’re at a fork in the road? Unsure of where a new path would take you? Complete an application and get in touch with one of our career specialists! We’re here to help you explore your options and build a career that reignites your enthusiasm for everyday life.
On the evening of December 15th, we gathered for our virtual graduation ceremony to celebrate the recent success of our Full Stack Network Engineer 6-19-2020 cohort. This was truly an exciting moment for everyone as the cohort members completed the Full Stack Network Engineer (FSNE) program having put in their passion and hard work over 22 weeks to achieve success. The cohort began on June 19th, 2020, and completed with 66 graduates.
Through the program, students learned exactly what it takes to be an effective and successful Network Engineer in today’s workforce. Having most students starting out with no prior experience, their knowledge was built from ground zero where they learned the fundamentals of networking and progressed all the way to planning, designing, and deploying their own multi-site, enterprise-grade networks by the end of the program. The students from this cohort are now in the job hunting phase. Some of which have already landed new IT jobs or landed promotions within their companies.
What’s the program like?
The FSNE program prepares students for the real-world by rigorously vetting their skills and knowledge over 22 weeks and across multiple checkpoints and milestones which include multiple certifications. The first certification that students must achieve is the Full Stack Network Associate (FSNA) certification from NexGenT. To achieve this students must pass a written exam and also deploy a real network on their own which supports routing, switching, wireless networking, voice over IP, and network security. After achieving the FSNA, students then work on obtaining their Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification from Cisco Systems. The goal is for the students to knock out this certification by the 90-day mark before moving into the advanced training aspect of the program. Upon entering advanced training, students immediately begin learning project management skills and working to design and build their first project. Their first project is a very robust 3-site network deployment with a headquarters and two remote offices. Two more projects are then deployed where a Cisco ASA with remote access SSL VPN solution is deployed, followed by a Colo Data Center deployment for redundancy and additional network services.
After planning, designing, implementing, supporting, and finally closing all three of these projects, the student must pass their final skills qualification and troubleshooting check, in order to achieve their Full Stack Network Professional (FSNP) certification from NexGenT. Throughout the program students also receive career help and have many career-related milestones to accomplish relating to their career plan, resume, and personal branding. After completing all program milestones and capstone projects, the students then move to the job hunting phase where they focus strictly on landing their new job or promotion.
There are currently three other cohorts running who will soon be graduating and celebrating similar success, and our next FSNE cohort launches in February 2021, only a few days from now! To learn more about getting on the path to become a network or systems engineer with robust training, project-based learning, career planning, and real-world skills certification with zero upfront costs, then click here.
Additionally, six special recognition awards we handed out to recognize top performers, most improved, and first to get certified.
Winners of the six Recognition Awards:
- Master of the Network: Md Rahman
- Most Improved: Marcus Snelling
- Commendation Medal: Chris Sassone
- CCNA 1st To Certify: Oluwatosin Bamidele Desalu
- FSNP Low Latency: Jason Hoang
- FSNP Ace Award: Amadou Diop, Andres Espinal, Audrey Garcia, Brandon Spain, Chen Bayba, Christopher Sassone, Donte Dillard, Jason Deoraj, Jea Sheng Chen Ruan, Jordan Derington, Jose Castillo, Jason Hoang, Liam Lyne, Md Rahman, Noah Davis, Phillip Rozul, Raghda Hussein, Ralph Vetter, Sadaris Coulter, Tekia Coryell, Victor Roberts
Join us in congratulating all of the graduates of the 6-19 cohort!
- Aleshia Wingate, FSNA-0199, FSNP-0098
- Alex Bass, FSNA-0134
- Amadou Diop, FSNA-0186, FSNP-0072
- Andres Espinal, FSNA-0180, FSNP-0067
- Audrey Garcia, FSNA-0179, FSNP-0096
- Bernard Adeniran, FSNA-0119
- Brandon Spain, FSNA-0190, FSNP-0097
- Chen Bayba, FSNA-0171, FSNP-0070
- Chinedu Okonkwo, FSNA-0224, FSNP-0114
- Christian Evboumwan, FSNP-0105
- Christopher Bell, FSNA-0105, FSNP-0087
- Christopher Bettis, FSNA-0192
- Christopher Robinson, FSNA-0185
- Christopher Sassone, FSNA-0169, FSNP-0071
- Cory Bethune, FSNA-0191
- Costes Kimes, FSNA-0160, FSNP-0113
- Curtis Thomas, FSNA-0182
- Daniel Aguirre, FSNA-0153, FSNP-0091
- Donte Dillard, FSNA-0221, FSNP-0068
- Donte Wilkins, FSNA-0097, CCNA
- Dren LaPhayne, FSNA-0159, FSNP-0099
- Edward Arroyo, FSNA-0203, FSNP-0094
- Einar Galilea, FSNA-0181, CCNA
- Felice Marin, FSNA-0177, FSNP-0073
- Giovanni Ledesma, FSNA-0227
- Jared Dickerson, FSNA-0178, FSNP-0092
- Jaron Smith, FSNA-0197, FSNP-0076
- Jason Deoraj, FSNA-0150, FSNP-0081
- Jason Hoang, FSNP-0086
- Jea Sheng Chen Ruan, FSNA-0194, FSNP-0069
- Joe Edwards, FSNA-0213, FSNP-0107
- Johnny Rosario, FSNA-0149, FSNP-0074
- Jordan Derington, FSNA-0187, FSNP-0075
- Jose Castillo, FSNA-0163, FSNP-0100
- Justin Sanin, FSNA-0161, FSNP-0090
- Kay Atre, FSNA-0216
- Kyoshi Fish, FSNA-0091, CCNA
- Liam Lyne, FSNA-0168, FSNP-0085
- Loren Dukes, FSNA-0212, FSNP-0088
- Marcus Snelling, FSNA-0196, FSNP-0111
- Md Rahman, FSNA-0147, FSNP-0077, CCNA
- Michael King, FSNA-0218
- Michael Wright, FSNA-0198, FSNP-0093
- Minh Truong, FSNA-0155, FSNP-0078, CCNA
- Monalisa Ngono, FSNA-0225
- Nichole Atkins, FSNA-0217, FSNP-0110
- Noah Davis, FSNA-0184, FSNP-0103
- Oluwatosin Bamidele Desalu, FSNA-0170, FSNP-0080, CCNA
- Phillip Rozul, FSNA-0154, FSNP-0095
- Raghda Hussein, FSNA-0166, FSNP-0082
- Rakiya Smith, FSNA-0106, CCNA
- Ralph Vetter, FSNA-0193, FSNP-0079
- Roberto Buenrostro, FSNA-0301, FSNP-0089
- Roderick Mitchell, FSNA-0201
- Ronald Boughner, FSNA-0172, FSNP-0109
- Sadaris Coulter, FSNA-0183, FSNP-0083
- Samantha Horne, FSNA-0219
- Sarah Mattson, FSNA-0107
- Sergio Maldonado, FSNA-0164, FSNP-0084
- Tekia Coryell, FSNA-0157, FSNP-0104
- Tim Byland, FSNA-0173, FSNP-0101
- Techeramie Finney, FSNA-0117, FSNP-0106
- Victor Boyd, FSNA-0214
- Victor Roberts, FSNA-0152, FSNP-0102
- Xhayni De Mur, FSNA-0174, FSNP-0112
- Zari Haraway, FSNA-0211, FSNP-0108
One Year in the Making
Today we wanted to share a story from our very own Nate Nicely, a story that started exactly one year ago and we hope that Nate’s story gives you the encouragement that you need to get you to your next level.
Not really a significant day in terms of the whole year but this day, one year ago marks something very significant for me. While most people were preparing their evening to bring in the new year I was at the start of a new journey that was too good to be true.
December 31st, 2019 is the first time I logged into NexGenT. I still remember the first video I watched of Jacob and Terry explaining the program and the opportunities in IT. I was excited and ready for the challenge and even going back and watching those videos now I still get the same feelings! I started the NexGenT Zero to Engineer program with a “let’s see what happens” mentality. I had a decent paying job, and for me, it didn’t hurt to learn more and if I got a better job out of it that would be a win. I decided I was going to clear my calendar and focus only on getting through the program. My goal: do the 6 month program in 3 months. I decided to force myself to do nothing but work and learn. I stopped playing video games, watching netflix, and dedicated my weekends to watching videos and labbing. It wasn’t easy. I pushed myself like never before and took the exam for the CCENT at the beginning of February–and failed! I was bummed but determined not to let it stop me. I rescheduled the exam for 2 weeks later and hit the books even harder. The second try I passed and it was a huge relief!
— yea. Like everyone else, I had no clue that 2020 was going to be what it was. I came into March and April with a CCENT and a job but was separated from my family because of health concerns. A better job that would enable me to return home to my family was what I needed. I took my CCENT and applied for every job I could find. Nothing. Then came the furloughs, I was out of work for one week and went back home, thankful to be with my family but worried because I wasn’t working. One week of furlough in April turned into the month of May. Testing centers were closed, and that’s when I decided it was time to buckle down and get that CCNA! My wife graciously agreed to watch our kids and let me study as much as I could. I scheduled an in-home exam for the end of May.
If you sleep for eight hours a day what do you do with the other sixteen? Studying was my job now, and I studied for twelve hours a day, stopping only when I couldn’t possibly fit anything else in my brain. Because I was forcing myself to learn so much I discovered new ways to learn and retain information. I found systems that worked for me and how I learned best.
I was so anxious, I just wanted to take the test and get it behind me. I felt like I was ready but there is so much they could test me on. Through 75% of the test I felt like I was doing ok, then I realized I had ten minutes left to answer fifteen questions and at that point I was certain I would fail. I had to answer each question in thirty seconds, no matter how complex it was. I clicked finish and held my breath, waiting for the inevitable.
“Congratulations on passing the exam”
Landing my first IT position
After completing my NexGenT course and obtaining my CCNA, I dug deep into job searching. One of the intimidating parts with preparing my resume was trying to translate my experience from NexGenT into “real-world experience” since that is what companies always look for. To my surprise, one of the companies I heard back from told me that the project attached to my resume from NexGenT is what set me apart from the other applicants and struck their interest to set up an interview.
With an interview on the calendar, I reached out to the NexGenT mentor network and got in touch with one of the mentors who I had built good rapport with during my studies. He hopped on the phone with me and we talked for nearly two hours. He answered my questions and talked me through some questions to expect. It made a massive difference with my confidence going into the interview and it proved to be worthwhile after I received the offer call.
In just nine months, I went from working in the fire protection industry without any IT background to landing a role as a Network Support Analyst earning an additional $20,000 a year! It took a ton of work but has been so surreal.
Thanks to NexGenT, I’ve grown personally, professionally and financially more than I ever thought that I would. I’m in a much better place now than I would have been had I never started the Zero To Engineer program.
Are You Ready?
It’s time to take your career to the next level. If you want to level up your career, your skills, your overall knowledge like Nate did follow other success stories like Nate’s on our Zero to Engineer page and learn how you can take your career to the NEXT LEVEL.