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2018: A Year of IT Training Success

2018: A Year of IT Training Success

In 2018, we saw many individuals come and go through the doors here at LeaderQuest for IT Training throughout our five campuses in Colorado Springs, Dallas, Denver, Jacksonville, and San Antonio. We are proud of everyone’s success and celebrate the diversity of our hard working students. We celebrate them not only for passing their exams and overcoming adversity but also for starting careers and contributing to society through the use of their new found IT skills.

Our students showed the world that no matter your background, race, gender, or income, if you are willing to put in the work to change your life then you can make it happen. From homeless veterans to single mothers to those looking to change careers, LeaderQuest has partnered with with thousands of individuals throughout the country to help them realize a revitalized American Dream and create futures they can be proud of.

As the IT industry grows, so do the opportunities it presents with a predicted 3.5 million open IT positions by 2021. A couple reasons preventing people from joining the industry are that they simply don’t know how to do it or they’re afraid to take that next step. There are no words we can write to help people make this life changing decision, but the words of our graduates can shed light on their experiences at LeaderQuest in order to help others make this important decision.


From Homeless Veteran to a Career in Cyber Security

Michael Fugett

Certifications: CompTIA A+Network+,

Security+CND, CEHCHFI, CISSP

Job: Senior Technical Infrastructure Analyst

When the odds are stacked against you it is easy to give up.  The key to not giving up is getting a glimpse of a brighter future and the hope that comes with it. One of the individuals who found hope and made their dream into a reality was military veteran Michael Fugett who now is earning over six figures and has become an inspiration to everyone around him.

“Now I go out into a community, I go volunteer, I go help others, and people look at me like a beacon of hope. Look at you making it, look at you striving, but for me, I know none of this happens if I would have never come to LeaderQuest.” – Michael Fugett

Unfortunately, Michael’s story didn’t start off so wonderfully.  Military veteran Michael Fugett found himself divorced, homeless, and alone upon returning to civilian life in May of 2017. Michael told us, “Life itself felt like it was kicking me down.”

At this point in his life Michael had two options: he could give into the grasp of depression and homelessness and fade into the background, or he could make the arduous journey of moving forward. “It was tough, but it created a drive within me where I knew I was going to succeed,” Michael expressed. This type of drive is not easy to achieve, especially as his struggles in moving forward continued to test his resilience.

Michael had some IT responsibilities throughout his 8 years in the military on top of his transportation, logistics, and finance roles. He knew he wanted to work in IT, but it just wasn’t working out. “I just kept applying, but all of the jobs wanted certifications,” he said. He started to do his research and looked into three separate training companies in his area, one of which was LeaderQuest. “They had understood what I had been through in the past, they got me,” Michael told us.

Read Michael’s full story here If I Can Do it, You Can Do It: Michael Fugett or watch him tell it in his own words below.


How a Single Mother Left the Call Center for an IT Career

Whitney Smith

Certifications: CompTIA A+, ITIL

Job: Tier 1 Application Support Engineer

Struggling alone is hard enough but being a single parent can add even more difficulties to any situation, especially if you are trying to move forward. The great Albert Einstein once said, “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” This couldn’t be more true for Jacksonville student Whitney Smith who took advantage of the opportunity to train for the IT industry and turned a difficult situation into her fuel for moving forward. She made a decision that changed her and her son’s lives forever and all it took was a little courage.

Whitney had done everything right to create a bright future for her and her son. In 2013, she was medically discharged from the military and decided to use part of her GI Bill® to get a degree in event management. She was able to land a job in event management at an expo center, but after two years decided that she wanted to move with her son to Jacksonville to be closer to her family. That’s when her life and career started to move in an unexpected direction.

Unable to land a job as an event coordinator in Jacksonville, Whitney ended up taking a job at a call center. “It was definitely not what I wanted to do. I was making less money than people who had way less credentials than I had,” she told us. Whitney’s situation is not uncommon, according to the U.S.Bureau of Census, “Just 27 percent of college grads had a job that was closely related to their major.” She had the education and the experience but a lack of jobs in her field left her career crippled, all while having a child to support!

Faced with the looming reality of her situation and few options at the time, she did what she had to do and worked the call center for two long years. Day in and day out, Whitney grinded to support herself and her child. Unsatisfied with her life path at the time, she decided to seek other opportunities and that is when LeaderQuest came into view and changed everything.

Read her full story here How IT Training Helped a Single Mom Become an IT Expert or watch her tell her story in her own words below.


Realizing Potential and Changing Careers with PMP Training

Gilbert Alvero Jr.

Certifications: CompTIA A+, ITILPMP

Job: Remote Desktop Assistant

In between a rock and a hard place is not where anyone wants to find themself, but sometimes that’s exactly where you are and you don’t know how you got there. Gilbert Alvero Jr. had two degrees and yet found himself not utilizing either of them, working a manual labor job.

“I was stuck in a rut, I was stuck in a position where I didn’t know where my life was going.”

Starting over was not an option for him. He needed employment that was not only in demand but also utilized his previous experience. Fortunately that’s exactly our goal here at LeaderQuest: to extract your relevant experience, find an area in IT that will suit you, help you learn the necessary skills for the job, and ultimately help you find employment.

Gilbert accepted the challenge of training with LeaderQuest and was able to achieve something that he didn’t know was possible: he started a new career in six weeks. He’s now working in a new field that pays well and allows him to utilize his many other skills.

Read his full story here Realized Potential: Gilbert Avelo Jr.’s Success Story or watch him tell his story in his own words below.


Stepping Up to Support His Family With IT Training

Khozema Raja

Certifications: CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+

Job: IT Support Specialist

Stability is sometimes an illusion. The job landscape is ever shifting and you are at its mercy. Khozema Raja worked in the commercial real estate industry for 15 years, making good money, almost feeling invincible, until the world gave him a wake up call and he found himself jobless with a child on the way.

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 go with the latter and there he was introduced to the idea of joining the IT industry. The best part was that he qualified for funding that would allow him to get his training paid for wherever he decided to go.

“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?”

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 them. “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.”

Read his full story here and see how our entry level program helped him move forward From Unemployed to Empowered: Khozema Raja or watch him tell his story in his own words below.


Amateur Techie Goes Professional with Certification Training

Ross Earnheart

Certifications: CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+

Job: Information Technology Specialist

Navigating the job market is a daunting task and one a lot of people avoid until it is absolutely necessary. Getting comfortable is something that we’re all susceptible to. It isn’t until you decide to move forward that things will start to improve. Ross Earnhart had always loved technology but his life had never steered him in its direction, until he decided that it was time for a change.

“Years ago I remember I bought my first computer and had a problem so I had to call this guy. He replaced my hard drive. He was probably there twenty minutes and I had to pay him $170! At that point I realized that I wanted to know computers inside and out, and this is where my passion for IT started.”

After his time in the military, he didn’t immediately seek an IT career. “I got a job through a friend and kind of just fell into the workforce. I didn’t know that resources like this were out there.” It wasn’t until long after that initial job that he finally decided to visit his local unemployment office and see what kinds of options were available. That’s when he was referred to LeaderQuest.

Read his full blog and learn how a career transition changed his life forever The Student Experience at LeaderQuest: Ross Earnheart or watch him tell his story in his own words below.


Improving Your Life Through IT Training

If there is anything that 2018 showed us, it’s that if you put your mind to it you can change your life and it all starts with a decision and a conversation, a your decision that a change is necessary and a conversation with a Career Training Consultant here at LeaderQuest to see if our training is right for you. No matter your situation we are here to help you with the right advice and the right plan to assist you in moving forward.

We hope that you are inspired by the stories of our alumni and realize that you to can be part of the LeaderQuest family and the rapidly growing IT industry if you just make the decision to give it a try. If you or anyone you know is interested in a career change or are looking to start a new career, please contact us by clicking the button below, filling out the contact form, and having a conversation with a Career Training Consultant about IT Training. Best of luck and we are looking forward to hearing from you!

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The Student Experience at LeaderQuest: Ross Earnheart

The Student Experience at LeaderQuest: Ross Earnheart

When considering a new career there are a lot of options nowadays. Too many to count, each with their own unique benefits and drawbacks, most requiring a four year degree. This is usually a sticking point for someone who is looking to start a career in an interesting field but doesn’t have the time to get a bachelor’s degree. That is, of course, until LeaderQuest came along.

In recent years the job market has been evolving rapidly, but the way people train for these jobs has taken a lot longer to catch up. This has left IT employers extremely desperate for workers and has helped pave the way for a revolution in IT education. A revolution that LeaderQuest has been at the forefront of since it was founded in 2006.

Those who are fascinated by technology no longer have to spend four years at a university to achieve their goals. In conjunction with CompTIA, EC-Council, and the Project Management Institute, LeaderQuest has developed programs for individuals to enter the IT industry in as little as three months. We have combined industry standard certification programs with real world training and world-class Career Services, all to provide a concise, focused path to success for anyone looking to start or advance their career in IT.

Seeking Something Else?

To give you a better understanding of what the LeaderQuest experience is like, we interviewed recent full time LeaderQuest student, Ross Earnheart. Ross is a military veteran who had been interested in IT for a very long time. It was in his early 20’s when he had a problem with his very first computer which sparked this interest.

“I remember I bought my first computer and had a problem so I had to call this guy. He replaced my hard drive, he was probably there twenty minutes and I had to pay him $170! At that point I realized that I wanted to know computers inside and out, and this is where my passion for IT started.”

This occurred when Ross was in the military, so unfortunately his career path was set for the time being. He was a forward observer and then later became part of the military police.

After his time in the military, he didn’t immediately seek an IT career, “I got a job through a friend and kind of just fell into the workforce. I didn’t know that resources like this were out there.” It wasn’t until long after that initial job that he finally decided to visit his local unemployment office and see what kinds of options were available. That’s when he was referred to LeaderQuest.

Watch Ross tell his story about training at LeaderQuest in his own words, below.

The IT Training Process

The first step anyone takes before beginning training at LeaderQuest is meeting with a Career Training Consultant (CTC). This first step is crucial in understanding if a career in IT aligns with your goals and of course if training with LeaderQuest is your best move. This is what Ross had to say about his first meeting with a CTC,

“ When I first came to LeaderQuest they asked me what I wanted to do and what my career goals were. That kind of hit me because a lot of times people haven’t really asked me that, they have always gone straight into the financials.”

Here at LeaderQuest we really want to get to know you on a personal level before advising you. We understand how much is at stake when making these decisions and how this will impact the rest of your life. Our no pressure, informational style of consultation allows us to honestly help those who are looking for something more. We offer a clear path to success for anyone willing to put in the time and effort.

A lot of times the individuals we meet know they want to improve their situation but feel lost and don’t really know where to start. As Ross described LeaderQuest, “They’re kind of like the torch that will light the tunnel for you.” Ross could not be more right. After we meet with you (and you decide that LeaderQuest can help you move forward) we put together a personalized training program that is based around your experience, your goals, and of course your budget.

In addition to putting together a plan for you, we will help you seek out any funding that you may qualify for.

How can LeaderQuest help with funding?

There are certain funds that you may qualify for to pay for your training that you may not know about. Ross took advantage of one of the most popular funding sources: a local unemployment office. They fully funded Ross’s training and have funded hundreds of LeaderQuest graduates in the past. Another popular funding source is the GI Bill®, offered to military veterans.

Welcome to LeaderQuest IT Job Training

LeaderQuest has been at the forefront of the IT education revolution. We strive to grow as technology grows and aim to create quality training programs that serve our students and subsequently the companies that employ them. Our entry level programs are designed to create job-ready candidates.

“The courses have been very informative and give you a good foundation on where to start. They make it very personable and I like that sort of learning style.”

Our IT training courses are designed to help you pass the certification exams while simultaneously exposing you to real world situations in order to prepare your for an IT job.

Each program is designed based on different levels of IT experience. Ross attended our Computer User Support Specialist program. This program trains individuals to get the ITIL, A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications. Each certification builds off one another allowing students to understand the basics while getting exposed to different fields within IT. By starting from the ground up, students get a 360 degree view of what a career in IT is going to entail and gives them a hint of what area they might like to expand on in the future. This program provides more than enough education for entry level positions in addition to giving graduates an advantage over their peers in the workplace who might not have such a variety of certifications. Our entry level Computer Support Specialist program is just one of the programs LeaderQuest offers.

For individuals who have already started a career in IT and are looking to advance their career into the exploding field of cyber security, we created the Cyber Security Specialist program. This program builds off of previous experience and adds the skills to work in cyber security with the Security+, Certified Ethical Hacker, and Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator certifications.

Similar to helping individuals advance their careers into cyber security, we can help those looking to expand into networking with our Network Support Specialist and Network Administrator programs. We can also help those looking to become IT project managers with our Senior Technology Project Manager program.

Bringing More to The Table

Not just anyone with some IT background can become an instructor here at LeaderQuest. Instructors are carefully vetted for actual industry experience and relevant knowledge. Without real experience in the industry, instructors would not know how to properly prepare students for the real world, which is very important to us when it comes to helping students get hired after their training is complete.

“What I really like about the instructors is that they all have industry experience, a large amount of it, most of the time they have five, ten, sometimes fifteen or more years of experience in the industry.”

This industry experience enables instructors to tell students what kind of information they will need to remember for the exams and what information they really need to hold onto for their future jobs. Not only do the instructors have the experience but they have the know-how to help you be successful, as Ross expressed “If you have any problem learning a certain topic or subject, they’re always willing to point you in the right direction.” While we try to provide the highest possible quality of instruction, we also recognize that one time through a course may not always be sufficient for everyone, that is why we decided to provide anyone who attends LeaderQuest with our Learning Guarantee.

Unprecedented in the educational sector, LeaderQuest’s Learning Guarantee allows students to resit any course at absolutely no cost for two years from the original sitting of the course. The only time a student re-sitting a course would occur any cost would be when the course material has been updated and new materials are required (this usually only happens if a lot of time has lapsed since the last sitting of the course). In providing this Learning Guarantee, we found out that this allows students to ease their concerns and thus makes it easier for them to focus in the classroom.

Why do we do it?

It’s simple. We want to provide the highest quality training with a foundation of integrity.

“Having people that look out for your best interests, even when you don’t know what those always are, that’s a good feeling.”

Ross’s Advice for Anyone Considering IT Training

“Do your research. It’s always been an important thing to me and it’s something I’ve always have had trouble with: I know what I want to do but I don’t know how to get there. If you don’t have a direction, LeaderQuest can set your compass straight.” We are more than happy to help individuals do so no matter their situation. And, like Ross said, we encourage you to “do your research!”

After Ross finished the Computer Support Specialist program he worked with our Career Services team. They helped him get hired by a local academy as an Information Technology Specialist. He is now out in the real world making a real difference, and it all started with his decision to start a new career in IT and follow his passion.

Considering a Career Change?   

Can you relate to Ross? Are you fascinated by technology? Or are you simply looking for something new? Here at LeaderQuest, we are dedicated to helping aspiring and current IT professionals achieve their goals with the latest training and educational techniques. We want you to be able to make a difference in your own life as well as your community. With an estimated 670,000 current open IT position and and a predicted shortage of over 1,000,000 IT workers by 2020 (according to CompTIA Cyberstates), there has never been a better time to to consider a career in IT. Check out our 5 Powerful Reasons to Join the Tech Industry Now! to learn more about the current state of the IT industry and why you should strongly consider it.

Interested in a conversation to see if a career in IT is right for you? Click the “Learn More” button at the bottom of this page, fill out a contact form, and a Career Advisor will have a brief conversation with you about your future. Don’t wait to follow YOUR passion, start today!

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Pursuing a Passion Through IT Training: Michael Cost

Pursuing a Passion Through IT Training: Michael Cost

Imagine this. You’ve been serving in the military overseas. You have been away from American society for years and now it’s time to come back. You have no idea what you want to do with your life. So like any reasonable person, you decide to so some research on what career path would suit you best.

Upon doing your research you see the same theme over and over: IT. “What is IT exactly?,” you ask yourself. You know it stands for Information Technology but what exactly is Information Technology?

Alright, now that you have searched google you probably would have stumbled onto an answer like this, “Information technology (IT) is the use of any computers, storage, networking and other physical devices, infrastructure and processes to create, process, store, secure and exchange all forms of electronic data.”

You still might not know what exactly it is but you think you might have an idea. You decide to look into it a little more and you find a layman’s definition, “I.T.  refers to anything related to computing technology, such as networking, hardware, software, the Internet, or the people that work with these technologies.”

A light bulb suddenly goes off and you realize that IT is everywhere and is integrated into every part of your life! At this point you can now see why there are so many jobs in “IT” and why it is so popular.

The Road To An IT Career

These are the thoughts of veteran Michael Cost and many others career seekers navigating the sea of career possibilities. In Michael Cost’s case, this happened in 2013 upon returning home to the United States and separating from the military.

 

“I did a lot of research in regards to the job market and I naturally have a passion for technology and it all worked out!”

Michael’s success did not happen overnight though. He started by looking at what field he would be interested in and landed in Information Assurance or “Cyber Security.” Naturally his career compass pointed towards college. He landed at Colorado Technical University in Colorado Springs and 3 years later ended up with an Information Assurance degree.

Watch Michael tell his inspiring story about training at LeaderQuest Colorado Springs in his own words, below.

IT Certification Training

To ensure that he landed his ideal job it was recommended to him to check out LeaderQuest. He took took that recommendation and also decided to look into other training companies but landed on LeaderQuest stating that it was, “Their professionalism in the school, classes, and recruiters that gave me a good feeling about attending LeaderQuest.”

“A LeaderQuest employee actually drove me around to different veteran organizations to try and help me out. Either he was looking to get me in the door as another number or he was looking to genuinely assist me. As I found out the whole time I was here, these people were really looking out for me; they wanted me to succeed.”

He entered the Security+ certification training program and this is what he had to say about it, “It felt like they want to teach you and send you out into the world to be better IT professionals.” Before he even finished the training he was receiving calls for interviews, on one of the final days of his training he had an interview in the morning and was hired by that afternoon.

“LeaderQuest exists to help us IT professionals in this position to where we can build our careers.”

And successful Michael was, after receiving his certification he was hired as a tier two IT technician at Colorado Computer Support. During his time there and upon learning about Michael’s certifications and education, his boss decided to put him and another colleague on a brand new project involving Cyber Security, Michael’s passion. “This is the career path I chose and it seems to be working out really really well.”

IT Career Advice

His advice to someone considering a career in IT, “If you are looking to get into the IT field it is really important that you research the specific field within IT that you want to pursue. I would tailor your training, classes, degree, whatever into the field that you feel the most passion for and in the end that is what will lead you to success.”

Maybe like Michael you are thinking about entering the IT industry but aren’t quite sure what field in IT will be best for you. Luckily, LeaderQuest has the solution for you. We created a Computer User Support Specialist program designed specifically for individuals looking to break into the IT industry. What is so special about this program? It was designed with the job market in mind, that means it was designed to land you an entry level job while also exposing you to multiple different fields of IT.

Do You Want to Start A Career In IT?

The Computer User Support Specialist program is made of of 4 different certifications courses. The first certification  is called ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), designed to help you align IT services with the needs of a business and provides a practical understanding of key concepts, principles, processes, and functions to enable successful IT Service Management. The second certification is the A+ certification where you learn how to identify, install, maintain, configure, and troubleshoot hardware, system components, and more. The third certification, Network+, is where you learn the foundation-level skills needed to install, operate, manage, maintain, and troubleshoot corporate networks. The last certification in the program is the Security+, during this training you learn a number of IT security skills in multiple different areas ranging from networks, computers, internet connected, all the way to mobile phones.

The program as a whole will give you a glimpse into each IT field allowing you to find out what area you would like to learn more about in the future. Interested in learning more about our Computer User Support Specialist program? Click the button below and fill out a contact form to be contacted by a Career Advisor to see if starting a career in IT is right for you!

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Realized Potential: Gilbert Avelo Jr.’s Success Story

Realized Potential: Gilbert Avelo Jr.’s Success Story

What do you do when you’ve already have a business degree and an associates degree in engineering but still aren’t in the position you would like to be in? Worse, you’re stuck working a manual labor job in a warehouse… That’s the position Gilbert Avelo found himself in before being contacted by LeaderQuest.

“I was stuck in a rut, I was stuck in a position where I didn’t know where my life was going.”

Current Process vs. New Process

It’s not hard to see why this problem is so widespread. The current process of training for employment typically involves years of college, accumulating an enormous amount of debt and no clear avenue for success. What if there was another way? A way that requires a fraction of the time, significantly less money, and has a clear direction. That direction is Information Technology (IT),cyber security, and project management. With a combined 600,000 open positions in the U.S. These three major fields are facing a massive shortage in workers.

Why is there such a shortage of workers? Not enough individuals have the skills to fill these positions and not enough people know how to obtain the necessary skills.

Watch Gilbert tell his inspiring story about training at LeaderQuest below:

Problem Solved

LeaderQuest has solved this problem! We can help you get trained, industry certified, and also hired into one of these booming industries. The best part is that you may already have a decent amount of skills both earned in college and by working in the real world that can be translated into these industries.

LeaderQuest will work with you to find out what your goals are, professionally and personally, in order to formulate a training plan tailored for you. We want to enable you to leave the job you hate and move into a career you can manage and be proud of.

This is the training solution that we proposed to Gilbert in Spring of 2017. In July of 2018 we caught up with Gilbert and this is what he had to say.

“If I could say one thing to the staff here at LeaderQuest, I would say thank you very much. You took this 37 year old man from being unsure in what he wanted to do in life to actually taking a step forward and getting me in the right direction.”

IT Training At LeaderQuest

Gilbert accepted the challenge of training with LeaderQuest and was able to achieve something that he didn’t know was possible. He started a new career in six weeks. He’s now working in a new field that pays well and allows him to utilize his many other skills.  He took the Computer User Support program here at LeaderQuest which involves training for the ITIL, A+, Network +, and Security+ certifications along with our project management training for the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Professional (PMP)  certification.

His specific program was designed to give him a strong foundation of IT and cyber security skills and fortify his business knowledge with the PMP certification. This combination was designed specifically in order to introduce him to the different sectors of IT and to strengthen his overall appeal to employers. He explained to us the integral role the LeaderQuest staff had in helping him succeed, ”The whole staff is really invested, they want to you succeed, they want to see everyone succeed.”

Career Services

During his training program he worked closely with not only the training staff but also the Career Services staff which guided him along the employment process. They helped him perfect his resume, cover letter, interview skills, and job hunting strategy to land as many interviews as possible. Navigating the job market can be confusing and stressful, but when you work with the LeaderQuest staff we make this process a simple as possible. We provide you with the latest tools and guidance to give you the confidence and skills necessary to land the job of your dreams.

Following Through

For Gilbert, he followed his program and it worked!  After his time at LeaderQuest he said, “I had 5 interviews and ended up getting hired at a company called Automotive Broadcast Network in which I do remote desktop assistance, I am getting my foot in the door while practicing IT and customer service.” He plans to gain as much experience as possible in order to keep moving up. Eventually he wants to come back to LeaderQuest and earn his CEH and CND certifications.

“If there is one thing I can say about LeaderQuest, I would say that they open up a whole array of possibilities that you one day didn’t have that you now have.”

It really is that simple. With so much demand for skilled employees  in the IT industry, there is a perfect position out there for you. The key is taking the next step in your interest and speaking to a LeaderQuest Career Adviser. If you’re interested, please fill out the contact form by clicking the “Get Started” button below. As always we advise to do your research, learn more about the industry, and when you get a chance stop by your local LeaderQuest campus and take a tour. We wish you the best of luck in the search for your next career. Feel free to reach out to hello@leaderquest.net if you have any questions.

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If I Can Do it, You Can Do It: Michael Fugett

If I Can Do it, You Can Do It: Michael Fugett

“Now I go out into a community, I go volunteer, I go help others, and people look at me like a beacon of hope. Look at you making it, look at you striving, but for me, I know none of this happens if I would have never come to LeaderQuest.” – Michael Fugett

Divorced, homeless, and alone. This is the situation military veteran Michael Fugett found himself in upon returning to the civilian life in May of 2017. As discussed in our previous blogs, homelessness among veterans is rampant and Michael was one of many veterans that fell into this unfortunate situation. Michael told us, “Life itself felt like it was kicking me down.”

At this point in his life Michael had two options: he could give into the grasp of depression and homelessness and fade into the background, or he could make the arduous journey of moving forward. “It was tough, but it created a drive within me where I knew I was going to succeed,” Michael expressed. This type of drive is not easy to achieve, especially since his struggles in moving forward continued to test his resilience.

Watch Michael tell his inspiring story about training at LeaderQuest Dallas in his own words, below.

Employers Want IT Certifications

Michael knew he wanted to work in IT, but it just wasn’t working out. “I just kept applying, but all of the jobs wanted certifications instead of traditional education. They actually show the employer that you know what you are doing,” he said.   This couldn’t be more true, as the gap between available IT workers and the amount of available IT jobs widens, hiring managers are increasingly looking for candidates with certifications.

Traditional education typically educates individuals mostly on theory while certification training focuses on the practice and knowledge side of IT. Certification also offers a much more accelerated track. Individuals looking to enter the IT industry can typically be trained, certified, and hired within three months of entering our accelerated program, as opposed to the traditional four-year route offered by most universities.

Do Your Research

Michael had some IT responsibilities throughout his 8 years in the military on top of his transportation, logistics, and finance roles. His limited IT responsibilities ended up becoming the springboard for his future success. Knowing that IT is a growing industry, Michael, while homeless, decided to do some research and find out how he could better leverage his IT background in order to actually secure a position in IT, since he didn’t have any luck before.

His conclusion landed him exactly where he thought it would: certifications. So he did the smart thing and and looked into three separate training companies in his area, one of which was LeaderQuest. “The first one wasn’t able to give me what I wanted, the second one only focused on finances, completely ignored what my goals were, and the last one was LeaderQuest, the only one I could tell actually cared about me.” Here at LeaderQuest we know that we are not a one size fits all company, so we do recommend that you look around, do your research and speak to current and past LeaderQuest students. The more you know the more confident you will be in you decision.

We Understand You

“They had understood what I had been through in the past, they got me,” Michael said. People just like Michael, military and civilian alike, share the same hopes, dreams, and struggles. We know that when you come to us in seek of a brighter future through IT certifications and training that your situation is most likely not ideal.

It is important to remember that while we are a company, we are humans just like you whose passion lies in serving military veterans and anyone with the aspiration of moving their life forward. We believe in doing this together but at your pace. You may be working a full time job or you may be unemployed, in either situation we will customize an IT training plan that is feasible for you and that aligns with your goals.

We also know that life gets in the way of plans sometimes and that is why we offer our Learning Guarantee. If you happen to miss a couple training periods or simply did not understand the course, we will reset your plan and allow you to take the course over at absolutely no cost and no hassle to you. This guarantee reaffirms our promise that we will provide you with the highest level of training with the utmost integrity.

IT Trained, Certified, and Most Importantly HIRED

After finding out he had some G.I. benefits available to pay for his certifications, Michael hit the ground running. Without a job or a place to go, Michael spent the majority of his next couple weeks at LeaderQuest, day and night, studying, doing labs and learning from his instructors. At the same time, LeaderQuest’s Career Services team was hard at work to find him a position.

After he knocked out ITIL and A+, the first two certifications of his plan, to his amazement he started to receive phone calls for interviews. “My first job offers came directly from LeaderQuest’s Career Services. The first offer was for $15. I interviewed at another company and it went up to $24!” He accepted the second position which allowed him to gain experience and prepared him for his next role. LeaderQuest not only trains and certifies, but actively seeks job opportunities for students during the process. The goal is to align an opportunity with your timeline so when you are done or at least have a couple certifications under your belt, you can get to work and gain valuable experience as soon as possible.

Where is Michael Now after his IT Training and Certification Training?

After he settled into his first role he went back to LeaderQuest while working to finish out the rest of his plan where he earned the CompTIA Security+, Network +, EC-Council CEH, CND, and CHFI certifications. As he gains more and more experience he’s also planning on getting his  CCNA, CCENT, and CISSP certifications — all at LeaderQuest. We recently caught up with Michael to ask him how things are going. “If you add in my salary and incentives I am making well over six figures; it’s nice. To go from rags to riches is awesome!” Michael now lives in his own two bedroom apartment and is on his way to owning his own home! He currently works at a bank with the title of Assistant Vice President, and position title of Infrastructure Senior Technical Analyst. His success came from his persistence and hard work. He reached his goal of becoming a beacon of hope for anyone out there who might be doubting themselves or anyone who is afraid to take that next step.

Advice from Michael

While talking to Michael it was clear that he wanted to help more people achieve what he has, so here are a couple of his top tips.

  1. “Do your research.”
  2. “Come in and see what it is like for yourself.”
  3. “Talk to other students, listen to the good as well as the bad so you can make a good decision for yourself.”
  4. “It may seem hard at first, but if you put in the effort you will see how rewarding it can be.”
  5. “Take advantage of all the resources available to you.”

Are You Ready To Move Your Life Forward With IT Training?

No matter what your situation, LeaderQuest will do its best to help you move forward. From the first steps of seeing if an IT career is right for you, to training, and ultimately to getting hired. We recommend that individuals looking to break into the industry take our entry-level Computer User Support Specialist program. We also offer advanced level courses for professionals looking to advance their careers in either IT, cyber security, networking or project management. If Information Technology sounds like an industry that you would like to look into, please do your research, talk to people in the industry, and schedule a tour at you local LeaderQuest campus today!

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How IT Training Helped a Single Mom Become an IT Expert

How IT Training Helped a Single Mom Become an IT Expert

Whitney had done everything right to create a bright future for her and her son. In 2013, she was medically discharged from the military and decided to use part of her GI Bill® to get a degree in event management. She was able to land a job in event management at an expo center, but after two years decided that she wanted to move her and her son to Jacksonville to be closer to her family. That’s when her life and career started to move in an unexpected direction.

Unable to land a job as an event coordinator in Jacksonville, Whitney ended up taking a job at a call center. “It was definitely not what I wanted to do, I was making less money than people who had way less credentials than I had,” she told us. Whitney’s situation is not uncommon, according to the U.S. Bureau of Census, “just 27 percent of college grads had a job that was closely related to their major.” She had the education and the experience but a lack of jobs in her field left her career crippled, all while having a child to support.

Faced with the looming reality of her situation and few options at the time, she did what she had to do and worked the call center for two long years. Day in and day out, Whitney grinded to support her and her child. Unsatisfied with her life path at the time, she decided to seek other opportunities.

Watch Whitney tell her story about training at LeaderQuest Jacksonville in her own words, below.

Opportunity of a Lifetime with LeaderQuest IT Training

Whitney had her resume online for a bit but did not receive any offers worth looking into until a Career Adviser here at LeaderQuest reached out to her about IT and Cyber Security Training. “I was looking for a career change in order to make a better life for me and my son. I have always loved technology so I decided to check it out!”

Whitney, like many people, had never considered this career path before, nor was she aware of the major shortage of IT (information technology) or cyber security workers here in the United States. Some major reasons for this shortage are that not enough people know about IT careers, they don’t think they would qualify for a career in IT, or they just don’t know how to get started in an IT career.

Entry Level IT vs. College

Unlike a traditional career path, credentials for an entry level job in IT can be obtained fairly quickly, often in three months or less, compared to a traditional college education that typically takes up to four years. Our most popular program is the Computer User Support Specialist, where candidates can typically get certified and find employment within three to four months, even while working a full time job.

Even more compelling is the average salary of four year college graduates vs. entry level IT positions here in the United States. According to to a new survey by the consulting firm Korn Ferry, the average salary for a college graduate is $50,390. Compare this to the average salary of an “entry level” IT Computer User Support Specialist position at $52,000 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Considering that IT training requires just a few months vs. up to four years for traditional college, the value of certification training is obvious.

New Career Without a 4 Year Degree? Is That Possible?

“They gave me the option to do something else without having to go get a four year degree. I just didn’t have the time to start completely over again.”

After doing a little research, Whitney decided to come in and meet with a Career Training Consultant and see if a career in IT was right for her. “After learning about the industry demand and LeaderQuest’s sped up courses, it was a no-brainer.” Whitney entered the Computer User Support Specialist program that day and was able to use the remaining part of her GI Bill® with a little bit of Vocational Rehab funding to completely cover the cost.

The Computer User Support Specialist training program consists of four different certifications that take either 5 days or 10 nights each plus some off-time studying. The four certifications contained in this program are CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, and the ITIL certification, all of which are internationally recognized.

The program as a whole is specifically designed for helping career starters and career changers just like Whitney who need to be trained quickly for an in-demand job. The program provides a rock-solid foundation for careers in IT support, networking, and cyber security. The knowledge gained from this program spans from computer and network components all the way to cyber security concepts. This allows individuals to experience IT from multiple perspectives in order to find the path that most interests them. This array of certifications is especially attractive to employers.

Hands-On Experience with CompTIA A+

Our training programs are specially designed to give you hands-on experience. Whitney shared with us that his was one aspect of the training that she really enjoyed. “It was hands on. If you had a question, we were in the back opening up computers, handling motherboards, and actually updating them.” LeaderQuest’s goal is to give you the necessary knowledge and experience in order to make the transition into a new career as smoothly as possible without an extensive amount of on the job training.

In Whitney’s words: “They prepare you for the world outside of the training room, which is really important.” We couldn’t agree more. Not only do we give you the training you need to excel, we also offer support in your job search.

Career Services

We not only work on the training side of things, we also want to make sure that your professional profile is complete which is why our Career Services team will work with you throughout your time at LeaderQuest to give you the best chance possible at employment. We were able to help Whitney significantly improve her resume and optimize her LinkedIn profile. “My resume was now on point, and my LinkedIn, which I found out I surely wasn’t using correctly. They helped me understand its significance and how to take advantage of it, which helped out a lot.”

Our Career Services team focuses on more than just the resume and LinkedIn, they also help candidates out with cover letters, interview prep, and actually connecting them with jobs. We have multiple employment partners in each our our markets to help connect graduates with quality jobs straight from training.

While we do have the ability to connect people with employment, in Whitney’s case she was recruited before she even finish the program. “After 3 weeks I was contacted by a recruiter, went in for an interview, and they pretty much offered me a job on the spot because I did so well.” Whitney was hired by HDI Group as a Tier 1 IT Support Specialist. She’s currently works there as she gains the experience to get her dream job in cyber security.

LeaderQuest is committed to not only training out students, but making sure they get the help they need to find a great job after training. “The overall support and help here really helps you move forward,” Whitney told us.

Women in Cyber Security

Whitney’s dream to work in cyber security is shared by many, but there are far fewer women thinking about and working in this field than men. According to a recent Harris Poll, 9 out of 10 women have never even considered a career in cyber security and 3 out of 4 cyber security jobs currently in the U.S. are filled by men.

We asked Whitney about the challenges of being a woman in the tech world. “Women are always being tested on their abilities, especially being an African American women, it’s just known that it’s going to happen, so we have to be better than and smarter than the average person just to have the slightest chance to get ahead.”

This intimidation is a large part of why women have trouble advancing in the workplace, especially in new industries like cyber security. But don’t worry, if you’re a woman and considering a career in cyber security, you are not alone!

The Cyber Security Industry Needs More Whitneys

“Tech is becoming such a large part of all of our lives that we won’t be seeing such large barriers in the future as long as us women here already continue to break them down,” Whitney said.

According to CompTIA, Cyber States 2017,  there is a predicted shortage of over one million IT and cyber security positions in the U.S. by 2020. With so much room for new blood, women could be the the answer to this cyber security job shortage. Currently there are multiple efforts to get women into cyber security and these efforts are led like women like Whitney who have the drive and tenacity to break down barriers and try new things. If you’re considering cyber security and need some inspiration, check out our 10 Inspiring Quotes from Women in Cyber Security and Tech.

The Future of IT and Cyber Security

Women like Whitey will lead the the future in cyber security innovation on both the shortage side and the technological side. As more and more people get sick of their current jobs and want to switch to IT, we regularly get the question, “How do I make this transition into IT?”

We made the answer simple.

  1. Speak to a LeaderQuest representative and find out if a career in IT is right for you.
  2. Get trained by our world-class instructors and pass your certification exams.
  3. Work with our Career Services team to get connected to positions in your area, as well as interview training, LinkedIn optimization, and resume/cover letter writing.

With this simple approach, LeaderQuest’s concise and efficient training has developed a solution for individuals looking for a new direction. LeaderQuest is proud to work with people like Whitney to pave the way for future generations of IT and Cyber security workers. We made Whitney’s hope of a better future become true, and she told us, “Thank you LeaderQuest, thank you for making this a reality.” Could you be next?

Here are a couple closing words of advice from Whitney:

  • “To anyone looking to change careers or to start a career just come in and meet with someone to talk about your future.”
  • “Take advantage of everything LeaderQuest has to offer.”
  • “For the average person this might intimidate you but you can do it!”

Whitney Smith went from being a miserable call center rep to an IT professional in months, all while being a single mother. She also inspired a new dream within herself to become a cyber security expert. The problem that Whitney found herself in is common among many Americans, fortunately at LeaderQuest she found a 21st century solution that worked for her.

If you’re interested in a brighter future like Whitney’s, click below and fill out the form to be contacted by a Career Adviser for a quick evaluation conversation to see if we can help you turn your dreams into reality!

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