After 15 years in the the commercial real estate industry, Khozema Raja found himself jobless with a new child on the way. He knew he wanted to head in a new career direction but he didn’t have much time. Luckily, the stars aligned and he found LeaderQuest!
Khozema was faced with a difficult situation. “I really needed to step up and take care of my family,” he told us. He could either go get a low-paying non-career job or go to the unemployment office and see what options there might be out there for him. He decided to head to the unemployment office. After discussing his situation with his counselor, he was introduced to the idea of transitioning into the IT industry with an accelerated training program at LeaderQuest. Fortunately, he qualified for a state grant that would cover his training costs wherever he decided to go. LeaderQuest is proud to partner with workforce centers that provide funding to help those who’ve been unemployed get the training they need to get back to work.
“I’ve always liked being around computers and my father worked at IBM, so I was like, why don’t I actually try to make a career out of it?”
Watch Khozema tell his story about training at LeaderQuest Dallas in his own words, below.
Know Your Career Training Options
He was advised to go to LeaderQuest’s campus and take a tour with a Career Training Consultant whose job it is to help people understand what a career in IT entails and ultimately if it is the right move for a candidate. He decided to check it out and headed to LeaderQuest the next day. “They were so friendly to me, they gave me a tour and answered all of my questions about the IT industry.” The tour ended up going very well for Khozema.
“It was a no-brainer to enter the IT industry. I didn’t even hesitate when I decided to go with LeaderQuest. They made me feel like family as soon as I walked in.”
Soon after Khozema’s decision to go with LeaderQuest he was enrolled into the Computer User Support Specialist program. This program is designed to help individuals with little to no IT experience enter the industry comfortably and confidently. The program is made up of four different certifications: ITIL Foundation, CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, and CompTIA Security+. As Khozema put it “This program gives you a foundation for everything IT-related from the basics of how a computer works and operates to security and networking.”
This carefully curated array of internationally recognized certifications is the perfect combination of entry-level and mid-level IT training that allows students to get a taste of different facets of IT so they can see what areas interest them the most. From cyber security to network engineering, there are many areas one can explore.
Alternative Learning Environment
While traditional teaching techniques that lock students into a read-study repeat routine, LeaderQuest strives to create an alternative learning environment that helps trainees master the basics by focusing on the hands-on experience that will translate into a real world job. Khozema found this out in his first week of training, “It was refreshing. It didn’t feel like you were in school again, It felt really comfortable.”
His favorite certification course was CompTIA A+. “I enjoyed the hands-on training. We had different labs where you had to troubleshoot problems. I would always try to be the first one to get done, we all started to get real competitive which made it more fun.” This is exactly what LeaderQuest is all about, creating a place to train, a place to create new bonds, and a place to launch a new future.
More Than IT Training
At LeaderQuest we understand that many people are intimidated by the whole process, and sometimes that intimidation stands in the way of their success. This wall of intimidation is broken down throughout the duration of the program with easy to understand training, study sessions, and one-on-one career counseling with our Employment Development Managers (EDMs) who are heart of our Career Services Team.
Our EDM’s sole purpose is to guide trainees through the employment process in conjunction with their training. As Khozema was settling in to LeaderQuest he was able to start meeting with the EDM at our Dallas campus. “We set up mock interviews, as well as resume building sessions, where I was able to learn what exactly I needed to put on my resume.” In addition to interview training and resume writing, our EDMs can connect students with our network of employer partners. This is made possible because LeaderQuest has fostered relationships with recruiters as well as direct relationships with employers in each of our markets. This allows us to have multiple opportunities waiting for our trainees as soon as they finish the program. We do not charge our partners to hire our students which has created a symbiotic relationship, beneficial to everyone involved.
While following his plan, Khozema was getting much more out of the program than just training.
“The process was inspiring, empowering, and really helped me grow.”
As he went through the training and employment services, more and more opportunities started to present themselves. The LeaderQuest employment services helped him to understand what these offers really meant and which offers better aligned with his goals. Towards the end of the program, Khozema as well as other trainees were presented with help desk job opportunities with an oil and gas company looking to fill multiple positions. He and a few other trainees decide to take positions at this company. “It was a stress relief and really nice actually knowing someone on my first day on the job.”
Career Training that Empowers Students
“I really liked the whole process from becoming a student to being successfully placed. Thank you for empowering me!”
This word “empower” is key in understanding the goal of LeaderQuest. We not only provide our trainees with the skills to enter the IT industry but the confidence and backing to do so. Khozema was faced with a hard situation, he found out his options, planned, and most importantly of all executed.
His situation is not unique. Thousands of Americans are currently sick of their jobs, unemployed, or are longing for something more. LeaderQuest provides a path to education for those looking for a new career. Currently there are over 300,000 unfilled IT jobs in the U.S., a number which is expected to balloon over the 1,000,000 mark in 2020. The salaries for Information Technology (IT) positions are among the highest in the country. See the numbers for yourself from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There has never been a better time nor a better opportunity to make the transition.
Turn Your Story Into a Success Story
Khozema Raja went from being unemployed with a baby on the way to an employed father with a bright future ahead. His story is similar to hundreds of LeaderQuest alumni. Our goal is to help as many people as possible change their lives through a new career.
Here is Khozema’s advice: “To anyone thinking about transitioning, come down, meet the staff, and have a real conversation about what is going on in your life and what your aspirations are.”
We firmly believe in the human connection. If you are interested in turning your story into a success story with one of our IT programs, please reach out and we’ll have a conversation to see if this is the right path for you.
The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is one of the most commonly requested certifications for IT support staff. For those looking to start a career in IT, this certification is an important addition to their resume. LeaderQuest offers a 5-day ITIL course that will teach you everything you need to know to pass the exam and get certified, even if you don’t have any IT experience.
This blog will cover what ITIL is, why it’s important for a career in IT, and how it doesn’t just apply to support roles.
What is ITIL?
ITIL is a framework for best practices for delivering IT services. In the 1980’s, the British government’s Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) started collecting best practices in an effort to reduce inefficiency and standardize IT processes. The library eventually included 30 volumes, collected from all over the world. These volumes covered a variety of best practices, including ones from technology vendors all over the world.
In 2000, ITIL V2 was released. This revision of the ITIL reduced the number of volumes to just 7, each focusing on a different part of IT service management:
Planning to Implement Service Management
ICT Infrastructure Management
The Business Perspective
In 2005 the ITIL was again consolidated, this time to just 5 volumes. In 2011, ITIL V3 was released by AXELOS, a joint venture of Her Majesty’s Cabinet Office and Capita PLC. V3 is the most current version of ITIL, and the version that LeaderQuest offers training on.
ITIL Foundation is the first of five certifications offered by AXELOS:
What makes ITIL V3 different?
In general, V2 was more focused on process, while V3 is more focused on business integration and a holistic service lifecycle for continuous improvement.
While V2 was very process-focused, V3 is more service oriented. V3 introduced the lifecycle approach to service management. V2 had a linear structure from business to infrastructure, whereas V3 offers a hub-and-spoke structure that enables flexibility. V3 also roughly doubles the size of the library that composes ITIL. While V2 did little to help IT service management professionals to clearly articulate the benefits of professional service management, V3 uses clearly defined roles and responsibilities through the entire lifecycle.
Finally, while V2 was more focused on “what” should be done and why, V3 has more practical focus on “how” one should go about doing it. V3 aligns much much better with the needs of modern businesses and their focus on seeing real results, instead of focusing on theory.
Benefits of ITIL and PMP
If you’re interested in doing project management for an online company or any business that has strong IT needs, this is a powerful combination. ITIL Foundation will give you a deep understanding of the processes and framework for IT service management, which will help you plan your projects in a way that works efficiently with those teams. When it comes to getting hired, this combination can put you on the top of the stack with the right kind of companies.
The PMP certification is the most important industry-recognized certification for IT project managers. Globally recognized and demanded, the PMP certification demonstrates that students have the experience, education, and competency to lead and direct projects. PMP is an ideal certification for project managers, project team members, functional managers, and others involved in the planning, implementation, and control of projects. If you are looking to solidify skills, stand out to employers and maximize earning potential, this certification is for you!
ITIL is also an important certification if you’re interested in going into management. By understanding the terminology, processes, and service management cycle, your ability manage IT teams with efficiency and confidence will be greatly increased. ITIL gives you a foundation to create best-practices through the latest tools and techniques available.
For those who are interested in going into IT security, ITIL is the perfect certification to combine with other more cyber security-focused certs. If you want to make sure that systems and networks are secure, it’s important to understand the processes that are used to create and maintain those systems.
Because CISSP has a focus on management, ITIL and CISSP are a great combination. It’s vital to understand the business front to back, soup to nuts, and IT infrastructure is an important part of how any business operates. ITIL will assist you in coordinating with all levels of IT efficiently.
Hands-On ITIL Training at LeaderQuest
We know how hard studying new concepts can be when you don’t have any IT experience. That’s why we custom-built our ITIL curriculum to empower career changers to master these concepts quickly and start a career in IT with confidence. An important component of our curriculum is a case study that we adapted for use. You can read all about it here.
Are you ready to start your IT career?
If you are thinking about getting into IT but have no experience, ITIL is the perfect place to start. Combining ITIL with the power of other certifications my seem daunting at first, but when you get started with LeaderQuest you’ll find that this training is designed for people just like you.
The truth is, you really only need a few key certifications to get started in the IT industry. Our Computer User Support Specialist track combines ITIL, A+, Net+ and Security+ to give you a strong foundation for career growth. After a few years working in the industry, you can use this as a base to grow into cyber security with certs like CEH, CND or CISSP. Or you can get into networking and infrastructure with CCNA. If you’d rather be in management, you can get your PMP and easily find work anywhere in the world.
If you’re ready to get started, consider LeaderQuest. We offer short-term training designed to get you skilled up and on the job market in as little time as possible. The Computer User Support Specialist program takes about two months to make you job ready, including instruction and time to take your exams. All of our courses are taught by live, industry-expert instructors, and LeaderQuest even covers the cost of one certification attempt per course.
Once you’re certified, our Career Services team will meet with you to optimize your resume, improve your LinkedIn profile and online presence, and help you prepare to interview for IT roles. We have connections with local IT employers, and can get your resume in front of their hiring managers. It’s our goal that every LeaderQuest graduate get connected with a great IT job, and our Career Services team is here to make sure that happens!
In our continuing mission to help veterans, career changers, and IT pros get the certifications they need to advance in the tech world, LeaderQuest is proud to open our newest campus in San Antonio, TX. This campus will be led by Barry Bailey, an experienced educator with a proven track-record of academic leadership.
We’re excited to kick off our San Antonio campus by offering a highly-discounted package of courses designed to help those in entry-level IT jobs get the certifications needed to begin working in cyber security.
Meet our Campus Director, Barry Bailey
Barry Bailey is an experienced educational leader. Since 2008 he has managed two college/university campuses. Barry is committed to excellence and understands the need for quality educational outcomes. Prior to moving into educational administration, Barry ran a sales training company. He has also worked at Dell Computer and a major telecommunications company. Barry holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco, and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Redlands. He lives in San Antonio, TX with his wife of over 27 years, and has three grown children and one grandchild.
There’s never been a better time to get into the cyber security industry! As companies struggle to keep up with the rising threat of cyber crime, they’re having one major problem: they can’t find enough qualified candidates. That’s right, cyber security specialists are so in demand that the number of open positions has outstripped the number of qualified applicants by as much as 2 to 1 in some industries. So what’s holding applicants back? About one-third of information security jobs require a cyber security certification compared to 23 percent of all IT jobs.
If you’ve got some experience in entry-level IT and want to take your career to the next level, this program is for you. Network+ will help you understand how networks are designed, configured and what kinds of attacks they’re vulnerable to. Security+ will teach you the basics of threat management, identity management, security systems, security risk identification and mitigation, and more. Building on this information, Certified Network Defender (CND) will teach you how to protect, detect, and respond to network attacks in real-world situations. With an in-depth understanding of how network traffic functions, you’ll be able to secure your network and identify the signs of an infiltrator.
By obtaining your Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) designation, you’ll not only be prepared to secure networks and look for vulnerabilities; you’ll be an active part of the mitigation and remediation process. You’ll be able to strengthen your network through rigorous penetration testing and stop cyber attacks in their tracks.
Launch a New Career with IT Training
If you’ve been considering how to take the next step in your career, let us help you! LeaderQuest offers intensive training courses designed to get you trained and certified in weeks instead of months. Our Career Services team will help you polish your resume and find a fantastic job when you graduate. Best of all, to get things started in San Antonio we’re offering 40% off of this course package!
If you’re ready to launch the next step in your career, let us know!
To celebrate our new campus we are offering up to 40% off of training courses for a limited time. This is a great opportunity to finally advance your career or break into the IT/Cyber Security industry. Our world class training will not be offered at these discounts again. Be sure to take advantage of this special offer today!
When you’re stuck in an unrewarding, underpaying job, getting something better can’t come fast enough. No matter what you want, it can be difficult to break into a new field on the timeline you need. That’s where IT certifications come in.
IT certifications can help you to jump into a new career fast while building a foundation for further specialization. Still not convinced? Here are just a few of the reasons IT certifications are a great way to start a career in IT.
1. They’re a Fast/Low-Cost Way to Level-Up Your Resume
For those who have the time and resources to dig deep into a topic, the traditional degree model has a lot to offer. However, when you want to bump up your skills fast, certifications are a great investment. The average tuition for a master’s degree program is $60,000 to $80,000 while living expenses, books, and more can easily cost over $100,000. Certifications are vastly less expensive, especially if you can find a third party that will cover the cost for you.
Another benefit is that you get into the meat and potatoes fast. Certifications are hyper-focused on the skills you need, so there’s no Gen Eds to knock out.
2. Certifications Validate the Skills You Need to Succeed
From an employer standpoint, every hire is a gamble. It takes time and money to get them registered in the system, trained, and enmeshed with a new team. Of course, there will always be situations where things don’t work out for one way or another, but it still important to get every assurance possible an employee will be a good fit.
That’s where certifications come in. They provide a universal measure of a certain skill set. This can be easily understood by employers and technical professionals alike. Whether you’re validating a skill that you already have or taking on a wholly new one, it shows an employer that you definitely know what you’re talking about.
In fact, sometimes getting certifications isn’t a matter of “if” but “when” because…
Whether you’re working for the DoD, or just working with a company that regularly contracts with the DoD like Raytheon, Booz Allen Hamilton, Northrop Grumman, etc., you will need certain certifications to operate at different levels. The table below shows what certifications could be required for such work.
Conversely, this provides a huge opportunity because companies who work with the DoD are always in need of certified professionals to work on their contracts. Thinking about going into DoD work, but not sure which certification is right for you? Luckily, we wrote an entire article about that.
4. Certifications Are Good For the Whole Company
When it comes to an overall company’s well-being, certifications are the gift that keeps on giving. Studies from CompTIA, Microsoft, IDC, and Novell have done studies confirming the wide-ranging benefits for a company on the whole.
Organizations that invest in certifications for their employees are rewarded with happier and more productive workers who want to stay longer. Not only do they bring a brand new skill set to the table, they’re grateful, excited, and engaged because their company showed faith in them.
Getting employees certified also boosts confidence and peace of mind. On the one hand, workers feel assured in their knowledge. Meanwhile, customers themselves know that they’re getting more bang for their buck.
5. Certifications Help You Stand Out in Interviews
Before you even set foot inside a potential employer’s office, recruiters and resume scanning software will look for those key certifications. That means that certifications can make or break even getting a seat in the room. Once you’re in, certifications can help you stand up against candidates who might have as much or more experience than you.
6. Great Certs Equal Greater Earning/Salary Potential
7. Certifications Could Get You a Head Start at College
Many individuals get an entry-level certification like ITIL or CompTIA A+ so that they can get a start into a ground floor IT job. Then, they can go back, finish their degree, earn a few more certifications, and put themselves in the best position possible for work in an intermediate or advanced field like networking or even cyber security.
This means that IT is a field that is desperately needed, important, and can have a great impact on the world around you. Taking on these new skills means having an opportunity to enter into a career that will help you develop personally as well as professionally.
There is a Japanese concept known as ikigai which reflects on that which is needed and loved in the world. In the novel, “The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life,” co-author Hector Garcia has this to say about finding happiness and fulfillment in life.
“Your ikigai is at the intersection of what you are good at and what you love doing,” he says.
You never know where your purpose will come from. However, when it comes to a field as exciting and fast-growing as IT, you just might find yours.
Level-Up Your Career with LeaderQuest
If you want a career you’ll love, IT is a quickly growing field with a number of benefits both personal and professional. IT certifications can help you land that first job or advance to a higher, better-paying position. That’s why LeaderQuest offers some of the most essential IT certifications in the business.
We offer 5 and 10-day classes online, on campus, during the day, and at night with the goal of getting you trained, certified, and hired in the IT world. Once you’ve finished classes, you’ll have the opportunity to work with your own personal Employment Development Manager (EDM) who will help revamp your resume, nail your cover letter, and work with you to practice for behavioral interviews.
If you’re stuck in a job you don’t like, why delay? Contact us today and start a career you’ll love with a salary you’ll appreciate!
LeaderQuest is excited to announce a comprehensive partnership with Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global) to create career-relevant, continuing education pathways for technology professionals. This partnership includes an agreement for credit articulation, as well as a 10% tuition discount at CSU-Global for LeaderQuest students!
Get College Credit at CSU-Global
Under this agreement, students will be able to apply credits earned from completed LeaderQuest training programs and industry certifications to one of CSU-Global’s accredited certificates or degrees. A total of 64 credits have been articulated into 15 LeaderQuest programs, in the areas of information technology, cyber security, and project management.
“LeaderQuest is thrilled to be partnering with CSU-Global. This will allow students from both schools to get the necessary education to compete in today’s market,” said George Cohlmia, LeaderQuest CEO. “Our ultimate goal is uniquely-qualified, highly-employable graduates. Industry-recognized certifications combined with a bachelor’s degree are a surefire way to make this happen.”
CSU-Global is focused on providing students with quality educational opportunities that offer a return on investment and which prepare students with the career-relevant knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for today’s workforce. Through the agreed credit-transfer pathways, those who complete LeaderQuest programs and earn industry certifications will be able to incorporate them toward CSU-Global program requirements — as much as 50% of the total credits needed, in some cases — in CSU-Global’s undergraduate certificates in Information Technology Operations, Networking, Cyber Security, or Project Management. Students are also able to apply the credits to CSU-Global’s 100% online B.S. in Information Technology or other bachelor’s degree.
“At CSU-Global, we understand that quality learning can come from a multitude of sources, and everyone’s career and educational paths are different,” said Dr. Charles Lively, CSU-Global’s Information Technology Program Chair. “We are excited to recognize that the hands-on training and demonstration of learning outcomes provided by LeaderQuest meets the rigor for academic credit, and we are excited to provide continued development opportunities in such high-demand career areas.”
LeaderQuest students are eligible for a 10% tuition discount through this agreement! If you’ve been considering getting a certificate or degree to complement the hands-on training offered by LeaderQuest, CSU-Global is a great option. Their 100% online courses make it easy to attend from anywhere.
We offer 5-10 day accelerated learning courses that include hands-on experience, case studies, and preparation for your certification exam. You can train on campus or online, during the day or in an evening format, whatever fits your schedule best! We provide personalized training and job assistance opportunities for students looking to start high-demand careers in technology by earning key industry certifications such as ITIL Foundation, CompTIA Security+, and EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). In 2017, we were recognized with a CompTIA Rising Star Award for our dedication to training students with technological skills that are relevant to today’s marketplace.
If you’ve been considering a career change, LeaderQuest can help you break into the high-paying world of IT and cyber security. Get started today, and unlock your future!
Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global) offers career-relevant bachelor’s and master’s degree programs for working adults and nontraditional learners. As the first and only 100% online, fully accredited public university in the United States, CSU-Global is focused on student success as its number one priority. Embracing the land-grant heritage as part of the Colorado State University System, CSU-Global sets the standard for quality and innovation in higher education through its expert faculty, who are recognized as industry leaders and trained in working with adults in an online learning environment. CSU-Global offers a streamlined enrollment process with accelerated eight-week courses that start every four weeks. Visit CSUGlobal.edu or call 1-800-920-6723 for more information.
When you’re looking for a way to climb the ranks in the cyber security world, it can be difficult. As a newer industry, there’s no cookie-cutter path to cyber security and qualified experts come from a variety of backgrounds.
However, one surefire way to prove yourself is through certifications which validate your skills in the eyes of an employer and let you get a foot in the door for that dream job. The EC-Council’s Certified Network Defender (CND) is one such certification, great for people who want to work on making sure an organization’s network is secure and maintained.
In this article, we’ll cover the CND certification, what it covers, how it works, and whether or not it’s the perfect move for your career.
Cyber Security Skills Gap and Certification
Before we move on to the CND, it’s important to understand why it’s relevant in this world. The answer? The cyber security skills gap. With more and more high profile hacks from Equifax to Uber, qualified professionals are in short supply.
That’s where IT cyber security certifications come in. For professionals who already know their way around a computer and are ready to help fight the bad guys, certifications give them a chance to prove those skills quickly and get to work.
But not all certifications are created equal. So where does the Certified Network Defender come in?
To get more specific, the CND is great for anyone who wants to focus on the operations and processes involved in network defense, rather than the tech. Their focus is on maintaining infrastructure in a system. A day in the life of a CND certified pro could include testing a network for weaknesses, installing security programs, evaluating/monitoring networks, and more.
For info on when the CND could be the right choice for you, check out the infographic below from the EC-Council.
As for the process of getting certified itself, well, it’s not easy. The exam is over four hours and costs hundreds of dollars. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect . . .
What’s in it for you once you do get the CND? We’re glad you asked! The CND uniquely prepares you to work with networks or seek network administrator positions.
Some of the most common job roles include. . .
Network Security Administrators
Network Security Engineer
Network Defense Technicians
As for salary, the average Certified Network Defender salary is around $65,721* but could easily be much higher depending on your specialization. For a Defense Network Technician, salaries range between $70,000 and $76,000.
Meanwhile, a Network Security Engineer could make anywhere between $97,000 and $163,000 according to the Robert Half 2018 Technology & IT Salary Guide. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Get Certified and Hired with the CND!
If you want to start an exciting, in-demand, well-compensated career in network defense, Certified Network Defender can get you there. That’s why we’re here to help you get a cyber security certification that launches your career!
We offer high-impact IT certification training designed to help you learn the material, get certified, and be prepared to start a new job role with confidence. Getting you a great new job as quickly as possible is our ultimate goal. That’s why we offer 5-10 day classes, during the day or at night, online or on campus, which you can resit as many times as needed to make sure you absorb your new skills fast.
Train with an expert instructor at LeaderQuest and start your new career with the help of our Employment Development Manager (EDM), your personal career coach who comes equipped with a host of employer connections to help you get hired fast.
Don’t wait to start a great future in cyber security. Reach out today!