Why They Chose LeaderQuest: the IT Certification Stories of our Students
The students we have the pleasure to serve at LeaderQuest come from all walks of life. Some are industry experts with a decade of experience while some are brand new, entering the world of IT for the first time.
We welcome people straight out of the military and straight out of high schools alongside those who haven’t been back to school in years. Though they all have different journeys, we are proud of all of them.
Now, we’d like to highlight three student success stories from those who came to LeaderQuest, conquered their classes, and got hired. This is the story of three journeys of students who enrolled at LeaderQuest.
Ken Argenbright – from U.S. Air Force to NOC Technician
Transitioning Out of the Air Force
During his 9 years in the Air Force, Ken Argenbright served as an F22 Avionics Specialist. As he prepared to transition back into the civilian world he was nervous but excited. He wasn’t sure if he needed more schooling and realized, for the first time in years, he had to create his own sense of purpose.
It’s tough because you’re used to the military you have a mission you’re after and a team you’re already working with so you have a good idea of where your life is going and what’s the next step. When you get out, all of that’s kind of out the window. Now it’s up to you to make your own mission or find something worth putting your time into. It’s a little discouraging at first to try and make those own calls yourself and figure out what’s important.
After initially considering a master’s degree in cyber security, Ken changed his mind when he heard from LeaderQuest.
Taking Classes & Getting Certified!
After getting the opportunity to tour the facility and do a little more research, it was clear that it was a professional environment with lots to offer.
“Very quick responses, very professional atmosphere, very service oriented,” he said, “They’re here to help and they do a job at it.”
Since Ken had a military background and active security clearance, the staff at LeaderQuest helped Ken get on a path that would get him into cyber security, while providing the foundation of IT knowledge he needed to start his career.
Ken found the instructors to be extremely knowledgeable and the coursework thorough and comprehensive. That included a wealth of supplemental materials and lab simulations that allowed the user to practice cyber security techniques virtually. It was an environment he liked.
“[It’s] not like super strict school atmosphere it was relaxed,” he said, “I could make dad jokes and they were okay with it . . . even the instructor did some of his own jokes, so that helps.”
Before long, it was time to take the exam. Ken passed his ITIL test with flying colors while still working on his classes for A+, Network+, and Security+. However, there was a surprise in store before he’d even finished his classes.
Hired as a Tier 1 NOC Personnel
Even as Ken made his way through classes, he was taking advantage of LeaderQuest’s employment services and Employer Relations Manager to learn how to tailor his resume for prospective jobs. He fired off resumes to see what he could get.
In February, Ken accepted an employment offer as a Tier 1 NOC Personnel for the Colorado Springs company ManTech. Now, he works with the TSA to make sure that all transportation systems are secure.
“I’ll be working with computer systems and networks and making sure that there’s no potential terrorists boarding our airplanes,” he said.
As Ken finishes his certifications while starting his new position, would he recommend LeaderQuest to others? You bet.
“If you’re going to be going into cyber security or any IT position, go for LeaderQuest,” Ken said, “because they can hook you up with anything you need.”
Tylyr Brown – Making Ends Meet & Thriving
Working at a Dry Cleaner to Make Ends Meet
After serving as a 3531 Motor D Operator, and completing an apprenticeship to be a diesel mechanic in the military, he returned home and faced a layoff right before the holidays. During that time, he took a job at a dry cleaner to make ends meet and found himself struggling and missing his military service.
“I missed my job and I missed the team environment we had there,” Tylyr said, “you don’t see that very much in the civilian world anymore. Your team was like your family.”
With a four-year-old son and wife who needed him, as well as some community college under his belt, Tylyr needed a change for a successful career. That’s where LeaderQuest came in.
“I was trying to get out of that as fast as I could,” Tylyr said, “As soon as I heard from LeaderQuest here I jumped at the opportunity.”
Getting in Touch with LeaderQuest
After getting into classes, it didn’t take Tylyr long to rekindle his love of IT. Taking classes full-time, he found himself awash in study materials and ready to get his career on track.
I love IT. I love computers. I love breaking them up, taking them apart, putting them back together. Going back through everything and refreshing my memory on some things and relearning wireless access points and different ports and all the things I didn’t know clearly, so I know and they’re stuck in my head, definitely prepared me for the future.
Tylyr set out on a path that included a few cyber security classes and went after certifications including CompTIA A+, ITIL, Network+, Security+, the EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and the EC-Council Certified Network Defender (CND). He was surprised by the depth of coverage each topic got, despite the short runtime.
“[The instructor] explained things that, I went to college for two years, and even I didn’t know,” Tylyr said.
More than that, he found in LeaderQuest the support system he’d been searching for since he left the military: an extremely welcoming and warm environment.
“It was like being part of a family,” he said, “they’re very comforting and very caring people here.”
Employed and Looking Forward
With two classes still to finish, Tylyr decided it was time to send out resumes. When he did, he was pleased to find that he got a job offer as a Tier I Tech. Ultimately, he said taking LeaderQuest classes is what allowed him to do it.
“I didn’t feel confident enough when applying for jobs to apply for IT jobs until LeaderQuest. Being able to do put LeaderQuest on my resume and that I’ve gotten these courses completed and that I was doing more schooling gave me the confidence to go out there and search for an IT job somewhere.”
With two classes to finish at night, Tylyr is ready to take on the future in what is sure to be a long and exciting IT career.
“I owe LeaderQuest my career,” he said.
Learn more about the cyber security program Tylyr took.
Mitch Ross – Recalibrating to Cyber Security
Meeting LeaderQuest through WIOA
Mitch Ross’ story begins in one of the worst ways any employment story can: a layoff with a total of eleven months out of work. Mitch needed a change.
He reached out to a Colorado workforce center and worked through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program which helps out of work individuals retool. He knew he wanted to work in either cyber security or cloud computing and, as part of WIOA, Mitch was required to evaluate at least three different training programs. He chose LeaderQuest because of the content, ability to provide virtual training, and the sense of understanding he formed with the counselor.
“I felt comfortable and felt confident I could move forward and be successful here,” he said. “The counselor really tried to fit my needs, asked my direction, looked at my history, what I wanted to do going forward, and suggested the cyber security program that I went through.”
Cyber Security Classes and More
Mitch took three classes, CompTIA Security+, EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker, and the EC-Council Certified Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI). Each class had a different instructor and each was taken online though through a live format.
Most helpful of all was the library full of materials Mitch had access to thanks to the instructor. In addition to using this wealth of material to take the exam, he also found it useful in his day to day life working in cyber security.
“I learned a lot about things I had previously just touched,” he said.
A New Position with Coalfire Systems
Every timeMitch passed a new certification, he would put it up on his LinkedIn Profile. One day, that really paid off. The cyber security firm Coalfire Systems, seeing his certifications, actually reached out to Mitch and sought him out.
“As I was working through my third certification we were talking about and negotiating a job,” he said.
Before long, he was officially offered a job and joined the Coalfire team in February of 2017 as a Senior Security Consultant. Mitch finished his certifications and today serves as an incredibly skilled cyber security expert specializing in cyber engineering and architecture for the companies Coalfire Systems serves.
“LeaderQuest has had a very positive impact on my career and helped me get on a brand new path that has really made me more excited, or restored my excitement, in IT,” Mitch said, “If you’re looking to retool, or if you’re just looking to further your career in a specific direction with a new certification, this is an extremely good path and LeaderQuest will help you greatly do that. Training will help you get there faster.”
Want to Start a Career in IT?
Our classes are all lead by industry experts with years of experience and offered at night or during the day in an on-campus or online format. In addition to getting you trained, we also offer career services and can put you in touch with local employers.
If you’re thinking about a career in IT, don’t wait. Invest in your future today!