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From Laid Off to Hired – How NexGenT Student Turned His Life Around And Broke Into IT

From Laid Off to Hired – How NexGenT Student Turned His Life Around And Broke Into IT

Kent Davis was in the mortgage industry, working as a Mortgage Originator and Processor but the truth was, he didn’t enjoy his job. The money was good and that’s what made it hard to leave.

Kent was unexpectedly laid off but he knew all too well, “The bad stuff always turns good, it’s just a matter of time. So you gotta keep it positive” he tells us. And with this mentality, he knew that he had a choice to make and opportunity was just around the corner.

After some soul searching, he made the decision to not return to the mortgage industry.  “I was dealing with finances and getting people loans but I just didn’t really want that to be my calling and IT is my calling, so I made the switch” Kent explains.

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Kent had been interested in IT and computers since he was young. He never thought to break into the field professionally but was commonly the go-to computer guy for his family and friends, calling himself the “resident techy.” 

In exploring his options, he looked online at IT programs. The one that caught his attention was a Facebook ad for NexGenT’s CompTIA Net+ course.  He signed up and was pleased with the course and how much he was learning from the online videos. “I really liked it so I went and jumped into the full-fledged program and did the rest of the CCNA class with Jacob and Rob. [The instructors] definitely know how to convey information really well and keep your attention,” Kent says. 

And thus began his journey to change career fields through the Zero To Engineer program. 

Staying Motivated

It’s no secret that online courses require discipline. Kent quickly figured out the exact plan he needed to keep himself accountable with his studies. 

Thanks to the instruction given by Terry Kim in the course intro, Kent created a vision board. He organized it by three months, six months and one year goals – aiming to complete Net+ in the three months and CCNA in six.

Although losing a job is never a fortunate situation, Kent took advantage of the extra time and devoted roughly 6 hours a day to the course material. Leveling up was his new full-time mission.

Quick Tip From Kent – It might not work for everyone but I like making notecards for the material. Even little things like the acronyms. For example, on the test it won’t break down “APIPA” in the question, it’ll just mention it. I found it helpful to quiz myself even on the smaller topics.  I also bought a CCNA book and went through and highlighted things for later review. The highlighting really helped.

Related: NexGenT Donates $5 Million in IT Course Scholarships During COVID-19

Getting Hired In His First IT Role

Perseverance and repetition will help you get to where you want to be. “I never thought I would apply so much in my life, let alone for one position,” Kent shares with a sigh of relief knowing that his search was over. After being done with the course, he searched rigorously for opportunities around him and submitted over 100 applications.

One company he heard back from, Mytech Partners, Inc. caught his attention from the first phone interview. This call in particular stood out to Kent – everything about it felt right. Not to mention, their values aligned perfectly.

Kent tells us that after the first phone interview, he had to go through an online assessment. “This thing was brutal!” He was given a 75 technical question test with 45 minutes to complete it.

Thanks to Kent’s hard work and study habits, he completed the assessment with an acceptable score and was called only two hours after completion for an in-person interview.  

Related: 4 Qualities That Will Prove To An IT Hiring Manager That You Are A Great Fit

The skills check didn’t stop there. During the in-person interview, Kent was required to whiteboard a series of technical topics to prove his ability to articulate what he knew.  No sweat off his back – he was grateful for the NexGenT instructors who thoroughly reviewed this skill in the course.

“I thought well, I’m glad I had this training because now I can just stand up here and be familiar with what to do.” Kent exclaims the interview process was rigorous. After all, to land a role as a Tier 2 Service Desk Technician, a company needs to feel confident in a candidate’s abilities. “It was really a good starter for me through that entire interview and I really felt like I related to the engineers who were interviewing me who are now my peers.” 

Kent soared through each interview and challenge and was in fact job-ready.

Getting Acclimated To IT

Kent spends a lot of time on the phone, dealing with calls, working on certain projects, building network diagrams, etc. “Things kind of change day-to-day whether I’m on the phone or on site.”

“When life closes one door it opens another. That really holds true for me”

Kent Davis, NGT ALumni

With a wide variety of work, he is getting a lot of experience and says he is trying soak up all that he can. “I’ve actually installed some hardware already within my first 30 days and I really enjoyed that,” he tells us. Kent calls it a steep learning curve but is thrilled to basically be getting paid to learn while he gets more comfortable in his new career. 

It was a big jump for him – going from the world of mortgages to the world of IT – and sometimes not knowing where to start is the hardest part.  “Knowing what you need to do to make the change is really critical. But [NexGenT] lays it out for you. They set that path and you just have to walk down it.”

He trusted the direction that he was being led in, followed the path and his vision board timeline, and successfully acquired the position he worked so hard for. A strong core foundation has helped him to understand every aspect of networking easily. 

Career Change:Life Change

As cliche as it might sound, if you are unhappy with your life, something around you has got to change. Since breaking into a field of work that gets him excited to wake up in the morning, life has completely changed for Kent. 

He admits he had to take a pay cut to get his start in the IT field, “But it doesn’t matter to me because now I enjoy what I do. I don’t dread a third of my life anymore. Eight hours a day is a lot of time to not enjoy what you’re doing. It’s a world of difference.” With the passion this man has for IT and his new position, there is no doubt that he will move up quickly into an advanced role such as Senior Network Engineer. But in the meantime, getting his feet wet in IT was a serendipitous life-change that he needed. 

“Thanks to NexGenT that I am happy in my life and in my career”

Kent Davis, NGT Alumni

He didn’t enjoy doing mortgages. “It paid the bills for sure, but IT is something I like coming in to work for. I don’t dread coming into work anymore” Kent says with a grin.

If you are craving a career change and want to break into a booming industry that you can be excited about each morning you wake up, reach out to us on our chatbox on our website or click the link below. 

If you or someone you know has been laid off recently, especially in the midst of this pandemic and would like to dedicate your available time to learning a new skill to break into the world of IT, click here.

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

Why NOW Is The Time To Consider A Career Move In The Field Of Cyber Security

Why NOW Is The Time To Consider A Career Move In The Field Of Cyber Security

Cyber adversaries are regularly coming up with sophisticated tools and technologies and innovating at a faster pace than what enterprises today can cope with. Let’s see why it’s high time and how to go about getting a job in cybersecurity. How much money can you make? In this article, you’ll explore what the critical Cyber Security certifications are and Cyber Security courses to get rapid career growth.

The recent surge of cyberattacks has throttled the digital world, by which organizations have not only lost their valuable information assets but also made financial and reputational losses. For this reason, cyber security is paramount in every organization’s management decision-making today. Ever-increasing cyber security breaches, resource crunch, and a shortage of talented information security professionals have left the management in limbo as they continue to struggle to find the right mix of people. It is not surprising to note that organizations lose over $8.19 million to data breaches on average. This is induced by a remarked deficit of network security professionals in comparison to the ever-rising population of cyber adversaries. 

Some Recent Breaches That Will Leave You Thinking

  • Data breach at Yahoo: Considered as one of the biggest data thefts of the decade, the Yahoo data breach of 2013 led to the compromising of 3 billion user accounts.
  • Data breach at Marriott International: Yet another data breach that will leave you astounded is the one that took place at Marriott International in 2018. This hacking attack stole the confidential data of over 500 million customers of the hotel chain.
  • WannaCry attacks: The ransomware WannaCry has been able to collect over $100,000 from organizations and people across the globe. 

If these statistics aren’t enough, an attacker is sitting in some corner of the world, launching the next major cyberattack, and you need to stop these cyber security breaches with your skills and efforts!

How In Demand Is The Field Of Cyber Security?

Considering the present scenario where job opportunities are lying ungrabbed in the field of cyber security, you can well imagine its absorption capacity! Research shows that the unfilled job positions in cyber security are to go up to 3.5 million in the coming decade as compared to 1.4 million in 2014. Here’s how to decide whether this dynamic field is the one for you:

  • A vibrant and appealing job opportunity: Working in the field of network security ensures freedom from monotony as it’s filled with variety. No case you handle is ever going to be a replica of another. The field is dynamic, and you are sure to love the mind games that await you. 
  • Financial Stability: The best part about a career in cyber security is the money that comes with it, and there is practically no limitation on it if you’re the master of your trade. The average pay is 50% higher than any private-sector job.
  • Thrill & uncertainty: Going for work will seem like going on a treasure hunt every day. It’s an adventurous experience for all, no matter which sector you specialize in.
  • Testing your skills every other day: Since a career in cyber security demands knowledge on different skill-sets, your experience of years in various fields comes handy now, and you can adequately utilize all your specialized skills. 

Related: Learn about the fundamental skills that will help you break into Cyber Security.

The Number Of Open Job Vacancies And The Expected Growth Of The Field

It is a known fact that the industry crisis in the field of cyber security is immense. The expected underemployment in the field is likely to reach 3.5 million by 2021. Therefore, it’s safe to say the platform remains open for cyber enthusiasts to perform, excel, and prosper. The industry has zero rates of unemployment and promises to be a field with endless opportunities and measureless growth.

For instance,

  • Two million openings expected in the Asia-Pacific region by 2021, and about 400,000 will be in Europe.
  • Currently, there are 314,000 unfilled cyber security positions in the USA. The U.S. had over 26,000 openings for cyber security analysts at the end of 2018. 

Why Is Security Becoming More Important As Technology Advances?

While all marvel at the quick transition of activities from offline to online that has happened in almost every walk of life. There is a significant threat that comes along with this technological advancement. All information is at the tip of your fingers – from your insurance policy number to your credit card details! Imagine what will happen if a malicious third party accesses these details? It is precisely why cyber and network security has become more critical in recent times.  

How Much Money Can I Make In Cyber Security?

Any role in the field of cyber security promises to pay extremely well as compared to any other private-sector job. Not only does this job pay well, but it also ensures that you like your work and draw some positive learning experience out of it that helps you in the long run. That being said, you can easily expect a 6 figure job as you work your way up through the industry.

The Verdict

Thus, a career in cyber security that is established with established cyber security certifications, hands-on training, and cyber security courses is one of the most secure career options now. It is expected to remain true for at least another decade. Especially the field of Artificial Intelligence-Machine Learning (AI ML) in cyber security, the combination of Data Science & AI-ML in enhancing SIEM tools & solutions, etc., is yet to be fully explored, and most job opportunities lie unabsorbed in the area. Getting a job in cyber security always offers lucrative salaries with new and diverse career responsibilities. 

To learn more about NexGenT’s Cyber Security program and what fundamental skills we teach to help you land your first job in cyber, click here. Thank you for reading and leave us a comment below with your thoughts on diving into this line of work.