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From Assembly Worker to Inventory Technician | NexGenT

From Assembly Worker to Inventory Technician | NexGenT

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.

Danfoss Power Solutions

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!

What is a VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) | NexGenT

What is a VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) | NexGenT

In this quick nugget, Jacob Hess, Founder & CEO of NexGenT discusses what a VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) is and their purpose in modern networks.

What is a VLAN?

What is a VLAN A Virtual Local Area Network or VLAN for short provides us with logical separation or segmentation of our networks. We can take a single switch and chop it up into multiple logical networks where there’s different traffic. The traffic is actually separate in each one of those networks. Let’s define that a bit further. We can have multiple networks or VLANs, all on the same networking hardware or networking switch.    

History of Local Area Networks (LANs)

VLANS have been around for a long time since the 90s. So, they’ve been used for a long time, we use them all the time, they’re huge, and an important topic in networking.

what is a VLAN

But before we can understand VLANs, we need to understand pre VLANs. Before we had VLANs, we would create separate networks like LAN 1 and LAN 2. The point here is we have to physically separate switches. So, the host connected to LAN 1 cannot communicate to the hosts over LAN 2. Now, I think we can all agree on that, right? Because there’s no connection between these two switches. They’re physically separated on their own different networks. We’ll take for example, if we have a finance department, and we’ll say LAN 1 is our finance department, we’ll say LAN 2 is our guest network for any guests coming in. So, it’s obvious that we would never want our guest network traffic or host on the guest network to be able to reach the host and our finance department, right. That wouldn’t be good for any company. In that case we would need to separate those networks. Before VLANs we had to do that physically. The host needed to be physically connected to separate networking hardware, in this case with switches. In order to separate the traffic from LAN 1 to LAN 2, we would have to have them connected to separate switches. 

Importance of VLANs

 Using our previous example where we have two completely separate networks, we could actually have VLANs on the same hardware, but still be separated. We could have our single switch here and implement VLANs. Then we could have our two separate LANs or two separate networks, attached to the same physical device, the same networking hardware, but we can still keep their traffic completely separate, and implement our own security controls on those networks individually and separately. Now you can see the importance of VLANs. Traffic is completely separate from VLAN 1 and VLAN 2, but it is done logically inside the switch, rather than physically. 

RELATED: Taking the Cisco CCNA From Home, Trick Questions, and How to Prepare


Providing logical segmentation of networks with VLANs

Now, the last point I want to make is that our VLANs provide logical segmentation of networks. Okay, so how can this apply to more of a real-world scenario? We can understand more of this concept and understand how VLANs give us freedom and allow us to be unlimited in our physical locations of hosts. Well, let’s look at a situation where we have a building and let’s say that you’re a network engineer and you manage the networks of this building and you installed switches on every floor. Pre VLAN era, if we wanted to have four different networks, we would have to have the hosts for each individual network all connected to the same switch. For example, it would look something like this:


What is a VLAN

We have four different networks: black, blue, green, and yellow. We will have our black network connected to the top switch, our blue network hosts to the second switch, and so forth. The point is for the host to be in the same network. Now jumping to VLAN, it doesn’t matter where the hosts are, we can put them in any VLAN we want to no matter their location. In a normal network, all of the switches in the building would all be interconnected, they would all share the same VLAN database, they would all know about all the VLANs in the network, and you’ll be able to just go into any switch and assign any host to any VLAN. So that gives you a vast amount of flexibility and this is the purpose of virtualization. We logically separate our networks using VLANs.


 A Virtual Local Area Network allows us to logically separate or segment our network. With VLANs we are able to have multiple networks or VLANs all on the same networking hardware or networking switch. On VLANs the traffic is completely separate from VLAN 1 and VLAN 2, and it is all done logically inside the switch, rather than physically. 

Learn more about Information Technology, get hands-on experience, and gain real world skills training all through the Zero To Engineer program. Visit our website more information about our affordable online programs for Network Engineering or Cybersecurity.

NexGenT Welcomes Karishma Mendes, Student Counselor

NexGenT Welcomes Karishma Mendes, Student Counselor

Karishma Mendes is NexGenT’s new Student Counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (supervised by Chari S. Westcott, LPC-S, MA, PLLC) in Houston, Texas. Karishma is thrilled to be a part of NexGenT and seeks to make a positive impact in the lives of students by educating, equipping, and empowering them for success in their academic, vocational, and personal journey. She holds a BA in Psychology and MS in Clinical Mental Health counseling from the University of St. Thomas-Houston (UST)

Karishma’s speciality is in clinical and career counseling. Previously, she served as a Career Counselor at UST’s Career Services and Testing Center and at Rice University-Center for Career Development. During her time at UST and Rice, Karishma counseled over 182 diverse students including domestic, international, veterans, and alumni. Having been a student herself, she enjoys helping students find their ambitions and passions through one-on-one mentoring, counseling, workshop facilitation, and program evaluation. Karishma defines herself as a student success and mental health and wellness advocate. She brings an international perspective, having traveled to India and Dubai. She also speaks English, Hindi, and is moderate in Spanish and Mandarin.

Karishma’s counseling mission is to collaborate with her clients and help them create a life they love that will lead to lasting recovery. When Karishma isn’t teaching coping skills, a course, or counseling, she is painting, writing music, and dancing to her favorite tunes. Please join the NexGenT Team in welcoming Karishma Mendes!

NexGenT Celebrates The FSNE 6-19 Cohort Graduation

NexGenT Celebrates The FSNE 6-19 Cohort Graduation

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.

networking project network engineer nexgent


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.

FSNA FSNP Full stack engineer Cisco CCNA

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:

Join us in congratulating all of the graduates of the 6-19 cohort!

  1. Aleshia Wingate, FSNA-0199, FSNP-0098
  2. Alex Bass, FSNA-0134
  3. Amadou Diop, FSNA-0186, FSNP-0072
  4. Andres Espinal, FSNA-0180, FSNP-0067
  5. Audrey Garcia, FSNA-0179, FSNP-0096
  6. Bernard Adeniran, FSNA-0119
  7. Brandon Spain, FSNA-0190, FSNP-0097
  8. Chen Bayba, FSNA-0171, FSNP-0070
  9. Chinedu Okonkwo, FSNA-0224, FSNP-0114
  10. Christian Evboumwan, FSNP-0105
  11. Christopher Bell, FSNA-0105, FSNP-0087
  12. Christopher Bettis, FSNA-0192
  13. Christopher Robinson, FSNA-0185
  14. Christopher Sassone, FSNA-0169, FSNP-0071
  15. Cory Bethune, FSNA-0191
  16. Costes Kimes, FSNA-0160, FSNP-0113
  17. Curtis Thomas, FSNA-0182
  18. Daniel Aguirre, FSNA-0153, FSNP-0091
  19. Donte Dillard, FSNA-0221, FSNP-0068
  20. Donte Wilkins, FSNA-0097, CCNA
  21. Dren LaPhayne, FSNA-0159, FSNP-0099
  22. Edward Arroyo, FSNA-0203, FSNP-0094
  23. Einar Galilea, FSNA-0181, CCNA
  24. Felice Marin, FSNA-0177, FSNP-0073
  25. Giovanni Ledesma, FSNA-0227
  26. Jared Dickerson, FSNA-0178, FSNP-0092
  27. Jaron Smith, FSNA-0197, FSNP-0076
  28. Jason Deoraj, FSNA-0150, FSNP-0081
  29. Jason Hoang, FSNP-0086
  30. Jea Sheng Chen Ruan, FSNA-0194, FSNP-0069
  31. Joe Edwards, FSNA-0213, FSNP-0107
  32. Johnny Rosario, FSNA-0149, FSNP-0074
  33. Jordan Derington, FSNA-0187, FSNP-0075
  34. Jose Castillo, FSNA-0163, FSNP-0100
  35. Justin Sanin, FSNA-0161, FSNP-0090
  36. Kay Atre, FSNA-0216
  37. Kyoshi Fish, FSNA-0091, CCNA
  38. Liam Lyne, FSNA-0168, FSNP-0085
  39. Loren Dukes, FSNA-0212, FSNP-0088
  40. Marcus Snelling, FSNA-0196, FSNP-0111
  41. Md Rahman,  FSNA-0147, FSNP-0077, CCNA
  42. Michael King, FSNA-0218
  43. Michael Wright, FSNA-0198, FSNP-0093
  44. Minh Truong, FSNA-0155, FSNP-0078, CCNA
  45. Monalisa Ngono, FSNA-0225
  46. Nichole Atkins, FSNA-0217, FSNP-0110
  47. Noah Davis, FSNA-0184, FSNP-0103
  48. Oluwatosin Bamidele Desalu, FSNA-0170, FSNP-0080, CCNA
  49. Phillip Rozul, FSNA-0154, FSNP-0095
  50. Raghda Hussein, FSNA-0166, FSNP-0082
  51. Rakiya Smith, FSNA-0106, CCNA
  52. Ralph Vetter, FSNA-0193, FSNP-0079
  53. Roberto Buenrostro, FSNA-0301, FSNP-0089
  54. Roderick Mitchell, FSNA-0201
  55. Ronald Boughner, FSNA-0172, FSNP-0109
  56. Sadaris Coulter, FSNA-0183, FSNP-0083
  57. Samantha Horne, FSNA-0219
  58. Sarah Mattson, FSNA-0107
  59. Sergio Maldonado, FSNA-0164, FSNP-0084
  60. Tekia Coryell, FSNA-0157, FSNP-0104
  61. Tim Byland, FSNA-0173, FSNP-0101
  62. Techeramie Finney, FSNA-0117, FSNP-0106
  63. Victor Boyd, FSNA-0214
  64. Victor Roberts, FSNA-0152, FSNP-0102
  65. Xhayni De Mur, FSNA-0174, FSNP-0112
  66. Zari Haraway, FSNA-0211, FSNP-0108

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NexGenT Welcomes Nicole Evans, Career Success Coach

NexGenT Welcomes Nicole Evans, Career Success Coach

Nicole Evans NexGenT Career Success Coach

Nicole Evans is a Career Success Coach who has an astounding passion for meeting people where they are to get them to where they want to be! Having pursued a master’s degree in Educational Psychology, she is more equipped with assessing individuals’ current state to help achieve the goal at hand. Nicole is also a Certified Life Coach. She can actively listen to individuals’ cues to reshape their solutions for success, especially career success.

Nicole has previous experience as a Director of Staff and Program Development, Family Academic Support Advisor, and an Educational Manager. Nicole is adept in leadership skills, academic advising, career services, training skills, engagement skills, and professional learning/planning skills. As a well-rounded professional who has years of experience developing and supporting students and organizations’ educational needs, she strives for continued excellence and is eager to help!

Why NexGenT? Nicole believes in NexGenT’s mission and values. Nicole is fueled by helping individuals with their career goals and achieving their desired goals and outcomes.

When Nicole is not shifting gears for individuals and their career goals with intentional coaching, she’s painting, cooking, playing inside corn hole, or pinning on boards for travel, style, and DIY projects. She also loves a great book or finding the next best movie!

About NexGenT Career Service

Our NexGenT Career Service team works with you to develop your job attainment skills. We do this by first analyzing your individual strengths and weaknesses to build a custom career development plan. Your job success is so important that we dedicate a Career Success Coach to meet with you 1:1 to ensure you’re on track to reach your personal goals. Your Career Success Coach works with you to master each career milestone of a professional resume, cover letter, IT or cybersecurity interview preparation, a professional LinkedIn profile, and ultimately, a job and career success plan.

We look forward to helping you level up and achieve your career goals!

If you aren’t already a student, apply for NexGenT’s Full Stack Network Engineer program here or NexGenT’s Cyber Security Specialist program here!

This Simple Trick Can Level Up Your LinkedIn Profile

This Simple Trick Can Level Up Your LinkedIn Profile

Have you noticed that when you create a LinkedIn Profile, your URL looks something like this: -12324-sdf12 ?

This link is auto-generated for all profiles. It can be lengthy and leave a lot of room for error if manually typing in the address. You can both shorten this link and make your profile look polished by customizing this link. It’s free and simple to change. Let’s take a look at how to edit your LinkedIn URL.

To update your LinkedIn profile URL, follow these steps below:

  1. Go to your LinkedIn profile page. On the top right corner, you will see the option to edit your public URL.

how to edit your linkedin url

2. Click on the small blue pencil icon to go into editing mode. You can change all of the letters and numbers after the backslash.

change your linkedin URL

3. Once you have shortened and customized your profile link, you can click the blue save button. And now you’ve just learned how to edit your personal LinkedIn URL!

Some tips and ideas to consider when selecting your new LinkedIn URL:

  • Unless you have a unique name, you may find that your actual first and last name is already taken. If your desired URL is not available, you will need to find a variation of your desired name that may include numbers.
  • I especially love it when a candidate uses the same username as their email. For example, if your email is, consider your LinkedIn URL to be This creates consistency and branding for your resume header.

While we’re at it, let’s talk about your resume header for a moment. Now that you have a spiffy new LinkedIn URL, use it on your resume header like this:

First LastName

City, ST 12455 | |


The shortened LinkedIn URL not only looks better, but it makes it easier for your hiring manager to manually type in this URL in their browser in the event the resume was printed and not viewed on a screen. Keep this in mind when using any hyperlinks in your resume!

Have questions about your LinkedIn, resume header, or general application assistance? Reach out to NexGenT career services today.

RELATED: 7 Ways to Stay Motivated During An Online Course