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If you’ve ever spent years at the same job and felt stuck in a position, we feel your pain. When your schedule is already tight and your budget is limited due to raising a family, the thought of going back to school seems almost impossible.

We get it, and, more importantly- we’re here to help.

Despite popular belief, a degree is NOT necessary to be successful in the world of IT. With the right upskill training, hands-on experience, and guidance, you can make big strides even if you feel like you’ve hit a plateau.

This is exactly what Al Minnigan discovered when he stumbled across an advertisement on Instagram for NexGenT. 

Al had spent approximately two decades in the IT industry before realizing he was bored and felt generally unfulfilled in his position. He was working as a field technician at a high school. The job wasn’t particularly difficult and Al wanted something that would both challenge him and allow him to grow his skills.

“I kind of felt like I was babysitting laptops after a while… And it got boring and I actually got frustrated” he said. And in true “lemonade from lemons” fashion, it was that dissatisfaction that motivated him to look into leveling up his skillset to move on.

He had long been intrigued by the wondrous worlds of networking, server maintenance and cyber security. Regardless of this reasonable craving for something new and more fascinating, Al was skeptical about taking the leap. 

He already had a wife, kids, and a full-time career. Going back to school sounded unappealing, but Al chose to be realistic and knew that self-learning through Google searches and Youtube videos was not the most efficient method for him to master a new topic. 

“I’m not a good self-learner,” he confessed. Like many, he was used to schooling that includes access to an instructor, a planned and designed course and accountability for showing up to class. His knowledge of online courses didn’t meet the criteria he was looking for.

Finding The Light In The Darkness

“I never expected NexGenT to be a one-on-one kind of program.”

Al minnigan

His wife encouraged him to branch out and ask for help and that was when he stumbled upon the program advertised on Instagram. He recognized the uniqueness it offered with its training calendar, network of industry mentors, and flexibility. After doing his due diligence and realizing the record of success the course had, he and his wife decided it was worth giving it a shot.

“Every time that I have had a question, it has been answered in a reasonable amount of time,” he said. He feels empowered to learn and never feels guilt or shame for not grasping a subject immediately. 

He says that Jacob Hess and Terry Kim have been excellent instructors. They are able to break down complex topics in a fashion that is more understandable to the average student. 

“I never expected NexGenT to be a one-on-one kind of program so I was surprised.” That was how he knew it was what he was looking for.

Al found a new surge of confidence from the knowledge he was gaining through the FSNE Program. While originally, he felt as though there was going to be no growth at his old position, the mental shift that NexGenT provided allowed him to self-advocate during the workday. Combining new technical skills with the knowledge of how to wield them allowed Al to actively pursue advancement and opportunity that had been right under his nose.

Related: Want To Stand Out From Other IT Candidates? Read This First! FSNA & FSNP Certifications Could Be Your Answer

Gaining Experience & Leaving An Impression

He began taking initiative to asking others at his company if he could help out in order to gain experience. He offered to assist in tasks such as switching out routers and servers and his colleagues were pleasantly surprised and encouraging.

The network operations manager caught wind that Al was trying to get experience in networking and encouraged him to keep applying.

When asked what gave him the confidence to apply for these other positions, Al responded with, “NexGenT, to be honest.” Al Minnigan’s hard work and determination helped him get promoted from a Field Tech to a Network Operations Technician.

In regards to his new position, “I was a little nervous because I’m a person who likes to move around a lot, but it’s actually not bad. It’s exciting. I’m learning a lot of technology so it keeps me busy and I don’t feel bored or sleepy. I’ve got the four screens going on too which is cool.”

NexGenT not only restored his confidence but provided him with the motivation to continue working in the IT industry. Previously, Al had underestimated his ability to learn new skills, but the program proved it not to be true. He found that the more he learned in the program, the more he wanted to continue learning. Al realized learning was not finite. Instead it is a trajectory that once on, becomes a flywheel of more learning, and more success.

He admitted that he had initially failed his CompTIA Net+ exam just before landing his new position. Despite being embarrassed to share a failure, he was determined to earn his CCNA prior to the Cisco changes in late February- a goal that he has proudly accomplished since this interview.

With his success and experience, he has been able to encourage his peers by showing them that they too can accomplish whatever they are determined to work for. He also loves to share with other NGT students the inner workings of his current position in IT and help them understand basic concepts he has encountered in his career.

Related: From 4 Years A Stay-At-Home Mom To Getting Hired As A Cybersecurity Technician

He appreciates the FSNE program for offering the ability to learn at a reasonable pace and honoring the many different types of learning styles. 

When asked about the things he liked most about the program, Al stated how he appreciated that NexGenT was genuinely determined to help people, how affordable it was for quality training, and he especially liked the individualized mentorship.

“Give it a chance,” he testified. “Even if it’s not for you. Give it a chance because you will learn a lot.”

Now more than ever, Al is inspired to continue leveling up in his career. After spending two decades in the industry, he had reached a stage where he believed he had missed his chance to excel further. Now he has broken through that barrier.

“Thanks to NexGenT, I am motivated and inspired to keep going to become a Rockstar Engineer even when I thought it wasn’t possible.”

Al’s story is not just inspiring, but also possesses a very relatable beginning. It is easy to feel stuck at a job that we are unhappy with and to convince ourselves that there is no easy way out- therefore, we might as well stay put and stay miserable.

But this is a common misconception that often leads one to deprive themselves of a fulfilling career. 

Al has proven that you can change your mind, learn new things and start anew at any point in your journey- even 20 years in. If you feel as though you may want to do something similar, NexGenT has your back and we’ve helped many people break past their plateaus. We have got your blueprint to guide you down the right path.

It’s time to level up!

Did you know we offer our training for ZERO upfront tuition? Learn more about our programs focused in Network Engineering and Cybersecurity. You don’t pay us a dime for training until you land a high-paying job! Apply for free.