Get Your Hands Dirty: PC Build Lab for CompTIA A+

Get Your Hands Dirty: PC Build Lab for CompTIA A+

When it comes to getting hired in the IT industry, we know how important hands-on experience is. That’s why we include hands-on labs in our curriculum. For our CompTIA A+ Core 1 and Core 2 courses, this hands-on lab is focused around teaching students to build and configure a personal computer.

What is the PC Build Lab?

The PC Build Lab requires students to build a real working PC computer from scratch! LeaderQuest recently made a sizable investment in acquiring components and a lab to support students wanting to gain hands on experience that they can translate to tier I careers in IT. There are plenty of hands on labs that simulate building a PC computer virtually. However, nothing replaces the experience of holding computer parts and tools in your hands as you successfully build a PC from scratch. All learners are different and the PC Build Lab adds a tangible/tactile component to the CompTIA A+ Core 1 course, enriching the student’s experience.

Build the PC, then Configure the Operating System

Students registered for the CompTIA A+ Core 1 and Core 2 courses will be assigned their own PC computer to work on during class.

The A+ Core 1 students are assigned a pre-assembled computer that they first test to ensure it is fully functional.  Once the PC is confirmed as functional, the students take the computer completely apart. All tools and parts needed to participate are included in the cost of the class. Once disassembled, students follow a step-by-step PC build manual, with the guidance of a live instructor and completely rebuild the computer. No build is complete without testing the build. To wrap up Core 1 and to ensure that all steps were followed properly, the students will connect to a monitor and see a BIOS screen.

Students will then move forward with more advanced software application in Core 2. As the students enter the A+ Core 2 class they will load OS and work on problem solving scenarios that they would encounter in the field. Troubleshooting operational issues is an important part of what IT support staff does to keep PCs up and running smoothly, and we want to make sure that students gain real, hands-on problem solving experience in the classroom.

Why is the PC build so important?

Along with live instructors, lectures, virtual labs and robust curriculum, the students get to dive in and get their hands dirty by actually physically building what they are learning. The accomplishment of these labs allow students to confidently walk into potential employers and show the skills they have learned. These skills can be added to their resumes and LinkedIn and help students secure employment in IT more quickly.

Get the Experience You Need to Start an IT Career

If you’re interested in joining the IT industry, we can help you get the training and employer connections you need to enter the industry quickly.

Our Computer user Support Specialist program takes 5 weeks of daytime classes (or 10 weeks of half-time evening classes) to teach you skills in IT support, networking, cyber security an IT service fundamentals.We’ll prepare you to take certification exams including CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+ and ITIL. These certifications are highly in demand from local employers. That’s where our Career Services team comes in.

Each campus has a devoted Career Services team tasked with helping each LeaderQuest graduate find employment in the field. Your Employment Development Manager will work with you one-on-one to create a powerful resume, harness your online presence, and prepare for interviews. When you’re ready to go, we’ll connect you with local employers who are looking to hire our trained and certified grads.

With experience from your new job and four powerful IT certifications under your belt, you’ll be ready to launch into the next step in your IT career. So what are you waiting for?

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12 Pros and Cons of Working for a Defense Contractor

12 Pros and Cons of Working for a Defense Contractor

Have you considered working for a defense contractor? Some of the largest defense contractors in the world are located in the United States! There are a lot of benefits to working in this industry, but it’s not all sunshine and roses. Below, we take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of private defense contractor jobs so that you can make a decision with all of the information you need.

Pros

1. Great Pay

Because of Directive 8570 (and 8140), those who work with secure information need certain baseline certifications such as Security+ to even start working. That means that defense contractors need these certified individuals to meet the requirements of their contracts, and they’re willing to pay top dollar for this kind of talent. It pays to get certified!

2. Put Your Security Clearance to Work

If you have an active security clearance, or have had one recently, you’ll be able to command higher pay from defense contractors. In fact, contractors with a security clearance earned $15,000 more than their government coworkers on average. And demand for these workers is only increasing as the US comes to terms with the dangers of cyber warfare and a crippling cyber security talent shortage. Your defense contractor salary could easily be as much as $83,000 for a Network Security Administrator, but even entry level defense contractor jobs can pay handsomely.

3. Good Education Benefits

Many defense contractors provide ample education benefits to keep their workers certified and compliant. Taking advantage of these benefits can help you build your career at an impressive pace as you continue to add new certifications to your resume.

While this is a common practice, be sure to examine your company’s policies, as many require that the employee continue to work for the company for a number of months after completing their class. You’ll want to plan ahead to make sure your timeline matches up perfectly.

4. Doing Work That Matters

By working in the defense industry, you could be protecting American cyberspace or creating the next generation of defense technology. The defense industry supports our military and the important work it does all over the world.

In recent years, it’s become clear how vulnerable companies and governments are to cyber attacks that can cripple infrastructure or steal valuable data. The defenses that we build today will safeguard us against cyber terror for years to come.

5. Working with Cutting-Edge Technology

The defense industry uses brand new technology that you can’t get access to anywhere else. While you may not want to live the life of a contractor forever, your time spent working with DoD contractors will give you irreplaceable experience.

Did you know that the internet was created by DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency? This is just one example of how defense technology eventually gets adopted for civilian uses. By working with the defense industry, you can use these technologies before they go mainstream!

6. Equal Pay for Everybody

The US Government mandates that all workers with a given position receive the same pay. This means that you can’t get paid less for being too old or too young, or for being a minority or a woman. If you get the job, you’ll get paid the same amount as everybody else in that job.

7. Work with Interesting People

Those who work for defense contractors come from diverse backgrounds. Many of them have had experience working in the armed forces and could tell you a story or two. Others have been studying and working with cutting-edge technology for years. If you want to surround yourself with people who are capable and smart, look no further.

Cons

8. Your Job Depends on Government Funding

The US Government is no slouch when it comes to defense spending, but that doesn’t mean your job has perfect security. As administrations change or national priorities shift, you could find that what you’re working on has been defunded. The company you work for may switch you to a different project, or all of your positions might be liquidated.

On the other hand, no industry offers 100% job security, and the skills and experience you gain will still hold their value.

9. Projects May Change at the Whim of the Administration

Similar to the point above, you may find that the project you’ve devoted all of your blood, sweat, and tears to is no longer a priority for the administration. This could be caused by political differences, changing national priorities, or external factors such as cost or economic shifts.

While your project might not be outright defunded, its focus could be altered to suit the changing winds. Work that had been completed might be scrapped or repurposed. For most, this kind of change might be stressful but would still be better than losing your job.

10. Your Contract May Be Purchased by Another Company

Even if your project continues to receive funding and support, it may be purchased by another company. When this happens, you might stay with your current company and be reassigned to another project, or you could get hired by the company that’s taking over the contract and be asked to stay on that project. New employees of the company taking over the project essentially have to start over and may have to negotiate pay rate and benefits.

11. You May Face More Criticism

If you work with employees of the government, you’ll find that you’re vulnerable to a lot more criticism. Government employees are protected from losing their jobs unless they really make huge mistakes. Contractors, on the other hand, are easy to fire and don’t have the same kind of security. It can be frustrating to see coworkers who’re just “going through the motions” with no problem while you get criticized for every little thing. Of course, this depends on the kind of position you have and the company you work for.

12. You’ll Need to Pass a Background Check

For many people this isn’t a big deal, but for others it may be an issue. Just know that any defense contractor will want a background check as a condition of employment. A background check may include employment, education, criminal records, credit history, motor vehicle and license record checks. You’ll probably also need to take a drug test, so keep that in mind.

Interested in Working for a Defense Contractor?

LeaderQuest can help! We offer IT certification courses to help you get your Security+, CEH, CISSP, and other certifications that can be your foot in the door to get hired by a defense contractor. Our courses take 5-10 days, are taught by instructors with real industry experience, and LeaderQuest covers the cost of one certification attempt per class. After you’re certified, our Career Services team will make it their #1 goal to get you hired!

Are you ready to start training for your future?

CONTACT US

The Ultimate Veteran’s Transition Guide to Starting an IT Career

The Ultimate Veteran’s Transition Guide to Starting an IT Career

When leaving military service, it’s natural to feel a mixture of excitement and fear, often in equal parts. What’s next for you? How will you pay the bills now? What kind of career can you make for yourself outside of the military? And above all, how can you take these next steps quickly?

This guide was built to help veterans who are transitioning out of the military learn how they might fit into the civilian world in an industry that has a huge demand for new workers: Information Technology (IT).

The articles in this download will give you a complete picture of why veterans are a great fit for IT, how veteran skills translate to the IT world, and how to go about looking for work in IT. At LeaderQuest, we specialize in helping veterans make this transition.

Thank you for your service to our country. Without people like you, America wouldn’t be the beautiful place it is today. We hope that you’ll find this guide helpful as you plan out the next phase in your life. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

This Guide Includes

  • From The Military to Information Technology: The Perfect Fit. This article has a lot of helpful information about why the Information Technology industry is a great fit for service members leaving the military.
  • Your Military Transition: A Career Guide. In this article, we cover many of the considerations for service members transitioning out of the military from a career perspective.
  • 13 IT Job Hunting Tips For Veterans. Vets face unique challenges when looking for work, but they also have some unique advantages.
  • Veteran Skills and Interests Assessment. What skills do you have that could translate into a career? Match up your skills with IT careers with this worksheet.
  • Veteran Transition Timeline Worksheet. How much time do you have to find a great career after seperating from the military?
  • Educational Institution Decision Helper. If you decide to get more training after transitioning out of the military, you’ll have lots of places to choose from.

Download the Guide Here

How can we help?

If you have any questions about this guide or about IT training, get in touch!

CONTACT US
6 Tips for Women Thinking About a Career in Tech

6 Tips for Women Thinking About a Career in Tech

The IT industry has been growing at a phenomenal pace. As more companies need IT support for their devices, networks, and data, more and more roles are being created for professionals with the skills required to get the job done. For those who can commit to learning skills in computer support, networking, and cyber security, this is a huge opportunity.

However, this industry has had a hard time attracting women. The 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study found that in North America women make up 14% of the cyber security workforce. So how can a woman make a great career for herself in a male-dominated industry?

Check out CompTIA’s blog with 6 Tips for Women Thinking About a Career in Tech.

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The LeaderQuest Learning Portal Delivers Superior IT Training

The LeaderQuest Learning Portal Delivers Superior IT Training

We are happy to announce the one-year anniversary of the LeaderQuest Learning Portal!

LeaderQuest invested in a Learning Management System (LMS) in early 2018. Due to our growth, and in an effort to improve the student experience, the investment in an LMS was a no-brainer. Our first classes were rolled out via the Learning Portal LMS in May of last year. Focus groups were held for students that had taken classes without the LMS and then given the opportunity to take a class utilizing the LMS. Another focus group was composed of students new to LeaderQuest and only having the LMS as a reference for their course resources. Both focus groups evaluated the LMS experience and revealed that the LMS has been a total success and solidified that the LMS impacted the student learning experience in a positive way.

What is a Learning Management System?

An LMS is a platform for the delivery of training courses, including course materials, instruction, and interactions between students and instructors. It enables the documentation, tracking, reporting on and administration of those courses.

The LeaderQuest LMS is a cloud based (SaaS) platform, supported by Absorb. There are other LMS platforms, however, cloud-based provides by far the best user experience. All a student needs are a username and password to log in, no installation or downloads are needed. All upgrades and technical updates are handled by Absorb and pushed to the cloud, allowing LeaderQuest staff to focus solely on student experience.

The Learning Portal is an intuitive user interface that hosts all of the valuable curriculum for both the on-campus and virtual courses that we offer. The new LMS benefits students as well as internal processes and best practices as it lends visibility into each learner’s individual experience and facilitates the tracking and reporting of student progress. This allows instructors/staff to be more engaged with students throughout their learning experience, providing the student with additional support when needed.

Who gets access, when?

The LMS is referred to as the “Learning Portal” for our students. All instructors, students and select administrative staff have access to the Learning Portal. The students gain access to the learning portal upon completion of their registration. Providing student access to valuable resources before classes begins allows them to prepare in advance.

What makes our LMS so awesome?

The advantages of an LMS are plentiful. The LeaderQuest Learning Portal is fully customized to support IT technical training and gives the student a “one stop” platform for their training needs. Students simply log into the Learning Portal to find all of the resources and materials for their classes such as the syllabus, ebooks, labs, test prep, and all LeaderQuest policies and best practice information.

Students complete assignments and assessments within the Learning Portal giving instructors insight into student progress and completion. The Learning Portal allows the instructors to proactively step in to support when they see a student struggling or commend students doing well.

The Learning Portal also enables communication for the instructor and students. Instructors can privately communicate with students via an inbox in the learning portal. This helps them stay in touch with individual students when needed. Each class also has a chatboard where students and instructors can post study items, ask questions and compare notes. These lines of communication are incredibly important for creating a full and immersive student experience.

At the end of class, students take a course evaluation via the Learning Platform, making the process of evaluating instructors, curriculum and their personal LeaderQuest experience easy. The evaluation of the learning experience is important as it allows LeaderQuest to make adjustments to the training when needed, to better serve the student’s needs. The student also has access to Course Completion Certificates and Transcripts via their Learning Portal, once courses are completed.

The Learning Portal also hosts LeaderQuest customized resources developed by industry experts, such as Take the Challenge and Boost Your Knowledge. These resources help prepare the students for industry recognized certification exams, such as CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+.

Take the Challenge

What is it?

Take the Challenge is a supplemental test prep resource created by industry experts and certified, knowledgeable instructors. Take the Challenge prepares our students for their certification exam after the completion of class in a unique way. This test prep includes a 300+ question bank with answers and detailed explanations or rationales. The test prep questions are exam style, are timed, and are broken up into different sets of questions that the student can take or retake as needed for knowledge mastery. Each practice exam is set up to mimic the actual exam the student will take.

Why is this exam prep so awesome?

This test prep is unique as each question is organized and tied into an objective/domain that is covered on the exam. This allows the student to hone in on areas or objectives they may not be excelling in. Once the student has identified their weak areas of knowledge, the student can dive back into the curriculum to strengthen those problem areas they are scoring low on.

Who gets access when?

Take the Challenge is added to the student’s Learning Portal as soon as the student is registered for the actual course. It is most beneficial for the student to begin utilizing this resource after they have completed class, however, they have it from the start if they would like to explore its capabilities. This incredible resource is a free addition to the student’s courseware to utilize after class is completed. All the student resources are in the LeaderQuest Learning Portal making access easy and allowing instructors to track progress.

What classes have Take the Challenge?

Take the Challenge enriches students’ learning experience and improves student preparation for taking the certification exams. Due to popular demand and success, Take the Challenge has already been created and released for ITIL, Network+, Security+, CND, CEH, CHFI and PMP. In the near future you will see other LeaderQuest courses supported by Take the Challenge as we continue to improve the pass rates and learning experience for our students.

Boost Your Knowledge

What is it?

Boost your Knowledge is a resource that contains the official Professor Messer videos. Professor Messer, aka James Messer, is a security, networking, and internet-based multimedia publisher. He is a world leader in free online training videos that have over twenty-five million online views. We give all the credit to Professor Messer, all we have done is made Messer’s videos easily accessible to our students through our one stop, all access, Learning Portal.

Why is this resource so awesome?

To supplement learning, LeaderQuest has aligned the series of comprehensive Professor Messer videos by domain. If/when the student struggles on a lab or with the curriculum, they need to look no further than Boost your Knowledge, making it easy for the students to get to the topics they would like to review in further depth explained by an industry expert. Hosting the Professor Messer videos on the Learning Platform also allows Instructors insight into what resources the students are utilizing.

Who gets access when?

Boost Your Knowledge is added to the student’s Learning Portal as soon as the student is registered for the actual course. It is most beneficial for the student to begin utilizing this resource before they begin class. This incredible resource is a free addition to the student’s courseware to get them acclimated to terminology and exposed to topics that will be covered in the class. Viewing the videos during and after class will help reinforce the information a student learned in the classroom to get them further prepared for exams.

What classes have Boost Your Knowledge?

The Boost Your Knowledge resource enrich’ s a student’s learning experience and improves student preparation for taking the course. Due to popular demand and success, Boost Your Knowledge has already been created and released for the A+, Network+, and Security+ CompTIA courses.

Are You Interested in IT Training?

At LeaderQuest, we’re committed to state of the art IT training for the most in-demand industry certifications. If you’ve been considering a career in IT, we can help you quickly get the training you need to get hired into your first IT role.

Our Computer User Support Specialist program includes four important IT certifications, and most students complete their courses and certification exams within 3 months. By completing their training for ITIL, CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+, students gain the skills they need to be highly desirable to employers while building a foundation for a career in an IT specialization like networking, cyber security or IT support.

If you’d like to learn more about IT training at LeaderQuest, let us know. Our Career Training Consultants are experts when it comes to choosing an IT training path that works for you.

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