A devastating future was just around the corner. The calm atmosphere had morphed into one engulfed with chaos and destruction. With no end in sight, my parents decided to pack-up and leave the civil war torn country of El Salvador in the 80’s. Even with empty pockets, they made sure I had everything I needed to be successful.

After high school, I transferred to a small Christian school and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in religious studies. I loved the missionary work I did during college because I got a chance to work in countries like Israel, Hungary, Mexico and Chile. Life was moving fast and I got engaged right in the middle of the recession. I was forced to find a job quickly and ended up at Verizon as a Field Tech. I only planned to be at Verizon for 6 months but stayed for 7 years! Thinking back now, I was very comfortable financially and avoided looking for another job because I didn’t want to shake-up my life. However, working 60-70 hours a week left no time for me to enjoy my personal life. I was missing so many things at home like seeing my kids grow up and enjoying time with my wife. I remember my wife telling me that she felt like she was a single mom. The epiphany that dealt the last blow was realizing that my parents were 28 when they left El Salvador. They dreamed of me having the opportunity to be anything and have everything I wanted, yet, here I was at 28, miserable and scared to do anything that affected my cushiony life. Work was extremely taxing on my body and I knew I couldn’t work at the pace I was for the rest of my life.

My friends suggested looking into networking and trying to pass the CCNA. I took some Cisco classes to help me out, but I wasn’t understanding anything. Fortunately for me, I found Zero to Engineer. Working through the Zero to Engineer program was the first time I felt like I understood what was being taught and actually enjoyed it too.

I’ll never forget what Terry told me about how prepared I should be for interviews, “You have to be able to articulate things, make them tell you to stop”. Zero to Engineer gave me the knowledge I needed to think like a troubleshooter and helped me land a network tech role at Navy Federal. Professionally I’m constantly improving and growing and currently working towards a role in cyber security. On a personal level, giving back is my passion and I’m engaged in many activities to influence my community to have a larger presence in the networking industry. My parents took a leap of faith for my future and they couldn’t be happier with what I’ve done with the opportunity they gave me.