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.
Lavall Woodhouse separated from the United States military in 2004 after being stationed in Mannheim, Germany and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Like most veterans, Lavall had just come off of a deployment and had little idea about what to do with his life after serving our country.
“There wasn’t really a whole lot of support in the idea of transitioning from the military to the civilian world, it was kind of like you’re on your own,” Lavall said.
Watch Lavall tell his story about training at LeaderQuest Dallas in his own words, below.
Homeless and Directionless
Unfortunately, many of our veterans are lost upon their return, lacking a compass to lead them to success in the country they have been navigating the world to protect. LeaderQuest is here for that exact reason, to be a compass for individuals and lead them to success through IT training.
Lavall was in desperate need of guidance and had found himself in unfortunate circumstances leading up to his time at LeaderQuest Dallas. “When I first came to LeaderQuest, I was trying to rebuild in a sense. I was homeless, and I didn’t have a job.”
This is all too common, veterans 18-30 are twice as likely as the general population to become homeless.
The Start of a Brighter Future
Lavall was directed towards LeaderQuest Dallas by his vocational rehabilitation counselor who presented him with different training opportunities. He decided to go with LeaderQuest’s short-term certification training program and in 2016 and began his journey towards a fulfilling career in IT.
“My first impression was positive. Everybody that I had met had a great attitude in the idea that they were glad to have me there, and those attitudes were a large part of my choice”.
Once he passed the certification exams, he then faced the next challenge of finding a job. Luckily, LeaderQuest was already one step ahead of him and ready to ease him into this next phase with one-on-one guidance from Erika Ofurum, LeaderQuest Dallas’ Employment Development Manager (EDM). “She sat down with us and started to learn about what we were into, what kind of backgrounds we had, and what kind of certifications we had.That’s when I started to get really confident,” Lavall went said. “She really rekindled that fire for me. That was exciting.”
Getting a Job with Amazon
Lavall’s excitement was intensified as more companies started to reach out to him. His hard work finally culminated in a job offer from Amazon to work for their web services team. About a year later, we asked him if he liked his new job. He told us, “I love it!”
“We all have this idea of wanting to be GREAT. That thought is within all of us, you just have to find it and then realize it.”
Cyber Security Training at LeaderQuest
There are times when we are alone and lost and there are times when we guide each other as human beings to find ourselves and our purpose. Lavall’s will had gotten him through the trenches of the military and his determination propelled his future into a fulfilling career.
Lavall served our country, fell down, and rose up to a bright new future. His situation is a perfect example of why we exist and what drives LeaderQuest employees to deliver the highest quality of service. LeaderQuest and Lavall will always be connected by his story and the continued story of how we plan to change thousands more lives through short-term training, certifications, and guidance.
When you’re looking to start a new career or enter a new industry, it’s hard to find the right path. While self-study with online resources and textbooks can help, most employers won’t be swayed by that on a resume. Degrees are an excellent path to success, but they can take 2-4 years to complete. That’s where certification training comes in.
Certifications fill an important gap, especially in the IT world. They can open doors, launch careers, and show employers their new hire will have the required skills to get the job done. Of course, there’s no better proof for this than the stories of our students.
We couldn’t be more proud of our graduates who have gone out into the world and found great jobs that let them make use of the IT training they got at LeaderQuest. Today, we’d like to highlight four of these stories and show off some of our most successful grads.
Peter came to LeaderQuest after serving in the U.S. Army for 16 years. He trained military police for the army and pursued a Master of Arts in Security Management at American Military University. Cyber security was a recurring theme in his studies, but Peter didn’t have much of a background in IT. After looking for a training provider, Peter contacted LeaderQuest and signed up for some foundational IT certifications including CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+.
Peter was a quick study and took just three months to acquire all of these certifications. Combined with his extensive education and experience, he was able to find employment quickly.
Today, he’s the Chief Operating Officer of an information system engineering firm that focuses on risk management framework compliance and IT security solutions and loving every minute.
“Immediately upon obtaining my Security+ certification I was offered a position as an Information System Security Engineer, that jumped me up from my previous pay by about $20,000, just shy of making six figures.”
As Marcus was completing his military service, he had an eye toward the future. He didn’t want to be scrambling to find a job after he transitioned out. He noticed that many of the job postings he was interested in listed IT certifications as a requirement. Using his GI Bill® funding, Marcus enrolled at LeaderQuest to take courses for CompTIA Security+, EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and EC-Council Certified Network Defender (CND).
With the help of our Career Services team, Marcus lined up three interviews by the time he’d completed his exams. Marcus got multiple offers and accepted a position with Cyberspace Solutions that came with a $20,000 pay increase. Three months later he got an even better offer from Booz Allen with another $20,000 pay bump, which he accepted.
“Since I’ve been certified, I’ve gotten a job offer for every IT position I’ve applied for.”
Randa had IT experience in Africa but wasn’t able to secure a position here after moving to America in 2014. She took work as an assistant teacher, but she knew she wanted to be working in IT. She just couldn’t figure out how to break into the industry in the United States.
Randa didn’t have funding for her IT training, but we were able to connect her with her local workforce center where she secured funding for her training. She enrolled at LeaderQuest to get her PMP and her CCNA Security certifications; two powerful credentials that made job hunting much easier. After completing her PMP, she got a 6-month contract job with Comcast. At the end of the contract, she applied to work at WebRoot, a company that does business with Comcast. Even though she hadn’t taken the exam for her CCNA Security, the knowledge she got at LeaderQuest helped her to nail the interview and get hired.
She is now making more than $72,000 per year, a pretty big raise from making $12/hour for contract work!
“When the manager from WebRoot interviewed me, all of the information from the class was still in my head, and I got all of the questions right. He said, ‘That’s great!’ I told him that I have no experience, just education through LeaderQuest and through one class in Mumbai. And he laughed and said, ‘We’re going to train you! And we’ll help you to succeed in this role.’ So the training with LeaderQuest got my foot in the door.”
Richard was laid off from his job at Honeywell in 2016. As he was trying to figure out what his next step would be, he went to his local workforce center. They discussed some options with Richard and explained that he needed to secure some key IT certifications to verify his skills so he could potentially qualify for several IT jobs immediately.
Pikes Peak Workforce center connected Richard with LeaderQuest, and he enrolled immediately. Richard started on his Security+ certification and worked with our Career Services team to improve his resume and online presence. One of our star Employment Development Managers (EDMs) here at LeaderQuest reached out to a connection at Raytheon on Richard’s behalf. Richard received a job offer from Raytheon halfway through his training. This was even before he earned his Security+ certification!
After training with LeaderQuest, Richard was making $10,000 more than he was at his previous position, before being laid off!
“Little did I know that I wouldn’t even have time to complete my certification!”
If you’re interested in starting a career in the IT industry, we can help! LeaderQuest offers 5-10 day classes designed to quickly get you trained on everything you need to know to pass the exam and get hired. Our courses are taught by expert instructors with real industry experience. They include hands-on labs. We offer courses in a full-time day format, or in the evenings after work. You can also train online or on campus, whichever works best for you.
When you’re ready to take the next step in your career and secure your future, contact us!
The students we have the pleasure to serve at LeaderQuest come from all walks of life. Some are industry experts with a decade of experience while some are brand new, entering the world of IT for the first time.
We welcome people straight out of the military and straight out of high schools alongside those who haven’t been back to school in years. Though they all have different journeys, we are proud of all of them.
Now, we’d like to highlight three student success stories from those who came to LeaderQuest, conquered their classes, and got hired. This is the story of three journeys of students who enrolled at LeaderQuest.
Ken Argenbright – from U.S. Air Force to NOC Technician
Transitioning Out of the Air Force
During his 9 years in the Air Force, Ken Argenbright served as an F22 Avionics Specialist. As he prepared to transition back into the civilian world he was nervous but excited. He wasn’t sure if he needed more schooling and realized, for the first time in years, he had to create his own sense of purpose.
“It’s tough because you’re used to the military you have a mission you’re after and a team you’re already working with so you have a good idea of where your life is going and what’s the next step. When you get out, all of that’s kind of out the window. Now it’s up to you to make your own mission or find something worth putting your time into. It’s a little discouraging at first to try and make those own calls yourself and figure out what’s important.”
After initially considering a master’s degree in cyber security, Ken changed his mind when he heard from LeaderQuest.
Taking Classes & Getting Certified!
After getting the opportunity to tour the facility and do a little more research, it was clear that it was a professional environment with lots to offer.
“Very quick responses, very professional atmosphere, very service oriented,” he said, “They’re here to help and they do a job at it.”
Since Ken had a military background and active security clearance, the staff at LeaderQuest helped Ken get on a path that would get him into cyber security, while providing the foundation of IT knowledge he needed to start his career.
Ken found the instructors to be extremely knowledgeable and the coursework thorough and comprehensive. That included a wealth of supplemental materials and lab simulations that allowed the user to practice cyber security techniques virtually. It was an environment he liked.
“[It’s] not like super strict school atmosphere it was relaxed,” he said, “I could make dad jokes and they were okay with it . . . even the instructor did some of his own jokes, so that helps.”
Before long, it was time to take the exam. Ken passed his ITIL test with flying colors while still working on his classes for A+, Network+, and Security+. However, there was a surprise in store before he’d even finished his classes.
Transitions can be rough and that was definitely the case for Tylyr Brown, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.
After serving as a 3531 Motor D Operator, and completing an apprenticeship to be a diesel mechanic in the military, he returned home and faced a layoff right before the holidays. During that time, he took a job at a dry cleaner to make ends meet and found himself struggling and missing his military service.
“I missed my job and I missed the team environment we had there,” Tylyr said, “you don’t see that very much in the civilian world anymore. Your team was like your family.”
With a four-year-old son and wife who needed him, as well as some community college under his belt, Tylyr needed a change for a successful career. That’s where LeaderQuest came in.
“I was trying to get out of that as fast as I could,” Tylyr said, “As soon as I heard from LeaderQuest here I jumped at the opportunity.”
Getting in Touch with LeaderQuest
After getting into classes, it didn’t take Tylyr long to rekindle his love of IT. Taking classes full-time, he found himself awash in study materials and ready to get his career on track.
“I love IT. I love computers. I love breaking them up, taking them apart, putting them back together. Going back through everything and refreshing my memory on some things and relearning wireless access points and different ports and all the things I didn’t know clearly, so I know and they’re stuck in my head, definitely prepared me for the future.”
Tylyr set out on a path that included a few cyber security classes and went after certifications including CompTIA A+, ITIL, Network+, Security+, the EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and the EC-Council Certified Network Defender (CND). He was surprised by the depth of coverage each topic got, despite the short runtime.
“[The instructor] explained things that, I went to college for two years, and even I didn’t know,” Tylyr said.
More than that, he found in LeaderQuest the support system he’d been searching for since he left the military: an extremely welcoming and warm environment.
“It was like being part of a family,” he said, “they’re very comforting and very caring people here.”
Employed and Looking Forward
With two classes still to finish, Tylyr decided it was time to send out resumes. When he did, he was pleased to find that he got a job offer as a Tier I Tech. Ultimately, he said taking LeaderQuest classes is what allowed him to do it.
“I didn’t feel confident enough when applying for jobs to apply for IT jobs until LeaderQuest. Being able to do put LeaderQuest on my resume and that I’ve gotten these courses completed and that I was doing more schooling gave me the confidence to go out there and search for an IT job somewhere.”
With two classes to finish at night, Tylyr is ready to take on the future in what is sure to be a long and exciting IT career.
“I owe LeaderQuest my career,” he said.
Learn more about the cyber security program Tylyr took.
Mitch Ross’ story begins in one of the worst ways any employment story can: a layoff with a total of eleven months out of work. Mitch needed a change.
He reached out to a Colorado workforce center and worked through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program which helps out of work individuals retool. He knew he wanted to work in either cyber security or cloud computing and, as part of WIOA, Mitch was required to evaluate at least three different training programs. He chose LeaderQuest because of the content, ability to provide virtual training, and the sense of understanding he formed with the counselor.
“I felt comfortable and felt confident I could move forward and be successful here,” he said. “The counselor really tried to fit my needs, asked my direction, looked at my history, what I wanted to do going forward, and suggested the cyber security program that I went through.”
Cyber Security Classes and More
After he made the decision to take most of his classes virtually, the LeaderQuest staff helped Mitch get set up on the live platform and then he was ready to learn.
Mitch took three classes, CompTIA Security+, EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker, and the EC-Council Certified Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI). Each class had a different instructor and each was taken online though through a live format.
Most helpful of all was the library full of materials Mitch had access to thanks to the instructor. In addition to using this wealth of material to take the exam, he also found it useful in his day to day life working in cyber security.
“I learned a lot about things I had previously just touched,” he said.
A New Position with Coalfire Systems
Every timeMitch passed a new certification, he would put it up on his LinkedIn Profile. One day, that really paid off. The cyber security firm Coalfire Systems, seeing his certifications, actually reached out to Mitch and sought him out.
“As I was working through my third certification we were talking about and negotiating a job,” he said.
Before long, he was officially offered a job and joined the Coalfire team in February of 2017 as a Senior Security Consultant. Mitch finished his certifications and today serves as an incredibly skilled cyber security expert specializing in cyber engineering and architecture for the companies Coalfire Systems serves.
“LeaderQuest has had a very positive impact on my career and helped me get on a brand new path that has really made me more excited, or restored my excitement, in IT,” Mitch said, “If you’re looking to retool, or if you’re just looking to further your career in a specific direction with a new certification, this is an extremely good path and LeaderQuest will help you greatly do that. Training will help you get there faster.”
Our classes are all lead by industry experts with years of experience and offered at night or during the day in an on-campus or online format. In addition to getting you trained, we also offer career services and can put you in touch with local employers.
If you’re thinking about a career in IT, don’t wait. Invest in your future today!
Any vet can attest that making the transition back to civilian life can be difficult. The skills that make you successful in military life don’t always translate to the civilian world. You’re essentially starting a whole new career. However, many military vets rise to the challenge and pass with flying colors.
Enter Peter Quinones. A tattoo artist, Harley-enthusiast, and U.S. Army Vet, Peter was transitioning out of almost two decades of service when he came to LeaderQuest for assistance.
This is the story of how he was able to land a job in cyber security that made him $50,000 more a year from where he started.
Sixteen Years of Service
June 1999 – January 2015
“I was doing a PhD in emergency management and a lot of cyber was coming up as a critical need so I started looking around. I decided to come into LeaderQuest and talk.”
Peter Quinones left the U.S. Army with an impressive, 16-year service record. He started as a Human Resources Specialist and was later reclassified as Military Police where he aimed to apply real-world practice towards his BA in Criminal Justice.
During his career, he trained military police officers in tactical law enforcement operations that resulted in 100% mission success with zero casualties. While still in the employ of the Army, he also pursued a Master of Arts in Security Management at American Military University.
It’s safe to say, Peter was no slouch. With his military transition coming up he wanted to face the problem head-on. That’s where he first made contact with LeaderQuest.
“I was doing PhD in emergency management and a lot of cyber was coming up as a critical need so I started looking around,” Peter said, “I decided to come into LeaderQuest and talk.”
Joining up with LeaderQuest
January 2015 – March 2015
“LeaderQuest has become more than just a place to take classes. The staff is great and always helpful . . . everyone is helpful and that is why I keep recommending it to people.”
With his background primarily in security-related work, Peter didn’t know much about IT. What he did know is that the field was growing and he wanted to explore his options. Taking classes at LeaderQuest seemed like the perfect way to see if he was interested.
Peter headed to the Colorado Springs campus to learn more. He liked what he saw and before long he was enrolled and hit the ground running during his transition. “The first thing I did upon my transition to civilian life was to take my A+, Net+, and Sec+,” Peter said, “I had no previous IT experience.”
Peter tackled the three CompTIA certifications in January, February, and March. He ended up liking the atmosphere so much that LeaderQuest became more than a school. It wasn’t long before enjoyed coming on to campus just to study.
“It kind of feels like home,” Peter said, “The staff is great and always helpful.”
Interested in our entry-level IT classes such as A+ and Network+? Get more information below.
“Immediately upon obtaining my Security+ certification I was offered a position as an Information System Security Engineer, that jumped me up from my previous pay by about $20,000, just shy of making six figures.”
After Peter earned the Security+ certification, which is much sought-after in the Department of Defense and enterprise cyber security world, it wasn’t long before he got the job he was looking for.
“Immediately upon obtaining my Security+ certification I was offered a position as an Information System Security Engineer, that jumped me up from my previous pay by about $20,000, just shy of making six figures,” he said.
By the time Peter was finished, he had accomplished much. He’d made it into the cyber security world. He’d learned valuable knowledge and was even able to re-sit his Security+ class to refresh the information later. All in all, during his time at LeaderQuest, Peter went from making around $40,000 to $90,000.
“If I can make it with little to no experience, anyone can—especially if they have LeaderQuest on their side.”
After getting hired, Peter continued to push his career. Eventually, he partnered with another IT specialist in the field. Today, he’s the Chief Operating Officer of an information system engineering firm that focuses on risk management framework compliance and IT security solutions.
“I’ve recommended numerous individuals to LeaderQuest,” Peter said, “I am proof that if I can make it with little to no experience, anyone can—especially if they have LeaderQuest on their side to assist them with their goals.”
Interested in IT Training?
Looking for a chance to upgrade your career? Or maybe you want to jump into the thriving IT or cyber security industry and you just need your foot in the door. LeaderQuest offers excellent IT training with industry expert instructors. They’ll prepare you to take the certification exams while also giving you the skills and confidence you need to thrive in a new position.
Do you work days? Nights? Would you rather take classes online? LeaderQuest offers classes during the day, at night, online, and on campus to work with any schedule. Getting trained is an investment in your education, but with even starting IT salaries in the $35,000 to $50,000 range, it’s one well worth making.
If you’re exhausted and stuck in a job you hate, don’t worry. Give us a call today and our career advisers can help you find IT training path that’s best for you.
Raziel Toro is a vet, a loving husband of four years, and a father to two boys who, “don’t run out of batteries.” He’s also a proud graduate of LeaderQuest who went on to find a great IT job after getting certified.
This week, we’re proud to bring you his journey to success from his transition out of the U.S. Air Force to landing an IT job that made him $15,000 more a year.
Read on to learn about the IT training success story of Raziel Toro.
Preparing for the Transition to Civilian Life
“While I was enlisted, I did the furthest thing from IT. I was an HVAC technician which means I went to work, received my work orders, and then started laboring away. The closest I got to IT-related stuff was when we needed to repair the AC in the server rooms… I was stuck and unable to really fulfill my potential./i>”
When Raziel enlisted in the US Air Force in 2012, he wanted to travel. While he did get the chance to see Ireland, Germany, and was deployed to Qatar for six months, he spent most of his time at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. There, he worked on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) where he fulfilled work orders, fixed units, and worked on AC and refrigeration. It wasn’t exactly what he pictured.
“One of the main reasons for me pursuing training and certifications was that I didn’t enjoy what I was doing,” Raziel said, “I joined the USAF to do something amazing but was unable to achieve my goals. I was stuck and unable to really fulfill my potential.”
As his separation date neared, he knew he had to make a change. He’d always had a gift for computers and heard others talk about their work in the cyber security world.
Meeting people working in this career field and talking to them about their lives as well as what a normal day for them would be inspired me to pursue this career… the possibilities are infinite with computers and it is pretty amazing.”
IT Training at LeaderQuest
“Well, my first choice would have been to get some sort of entry-level position, but I quickly found out that that was almost impossible to get without certification. That’s what made me push for certification.”
The idea of jumping into the unknown was difficult for Raziel, but once he was home with his wife and sons, he was excited to start a new chapter of his life.
“In the military, you always have that secure pay so on the way out it’s like, what am I going to do? How am I going to pay? How am I going to survive?” Raziel said, “It was a little scary, but once I moved back home it was a little more exciting. It seemed like there were a lot of opportunities out there I just had to go and get them.”
LeaderQuest first contacted Raziel in January of 2017 after finding his resume online. During the process, Shavonne Lewis, one of our expert Career Training Consultants,discussed Raziel’s career goals with him and how getting certified could help him attain those goals. Raziel decided he was interested in learning more and set up a meeting.
Passing the CompTIA Security+ Exam
“They taught us not only the book way, but the real world way. It wasn’t one dimensional. They said, you need to know this for the exam, but once you go out there, this may not be the way you do it. They were very helpful instructors, I’ll say that.”
With his focus on cyber security, Raziel decided to take the notoriously hardSecurity+ exam which meant lots of classroom prep, participating in virtual labs, and lots of stress.
“It was a little nerve-racking just because I didn’t have any prior experience,” he said.
However, Raziel found the instructors to be incredibly knowledgeable and helpful not only in preparing to pass the test but in learning how to apply the information to on-the-job-situations. He was pleased to find that the instructor’s understood the struggles of moving from the military to the civilian world.
“The instructor, Michael McLain, was in the service as well before he made the transition about fifteen years ago. He was extremely helpful. He gave us some of his notes to study. We could always Skype with him even after hours. He’d always give us an explanation.”
By the end of March, Raziel had passed his Security+ exam and was ready to jump into his IT career.
Security+ is a great option for those who are new to IT or who want to move into cyber security from the network or systems IT world. One of the most valuable things Security+ helps you develop is a vocabulary to converse with peers and executives alike. As a foundational IT certification, Security+ has breadth with just the right depth.
Hired as a Security Analyst at $15,000 More a Year
“LeaderQuest is the reason that I’m in the position that I am today, you know. I wouldn’t have been able to do this all by myself. Especially not the courses and the help from [LeaderQuest Employment Relations & Career Services Manager] Kimberly, you know, finding a job. She put in that work you don’t really see… If you’re pursuing IT, a certification it’s definitely a great way to get started.“
Once Raziel was able to put his Security+ certification and experience in virtual labs on his resume, the calls came rolling in. With help from LeaderQuest career services, he was able to get a position as a Network Security Analyst by the end of August. And the best part? He’s making $15,000 more a year than his previous position!
What does the future hold for Raziel? He’s currently finishing his degree in cyber security with Colorado Technical University. As for others in his position, he said he would definitely recommend certifications, even if it’s hard in the beginning.
“You’ve got to stick to your guns and take care of business. If you’re pursuing IT, a certification it’s definitely a great way to get started.”
Are You Ready to Start Your IT Career?
If you want to get your IT career started, we can help. When you contact our expert Career Training Consultants, they work with the GI Bill®, WIOA, and other similar organizations so you don’t have to pay much or even any out of pocket and make sure the process is quick and painless.
Most classes have a 5-10 day turnaround which means you can get your degree and be ready for a job in weeks. Whether you need to take courses during the night, day, on campus, or online, we’re willing to work with your schedule and your learning style.
With unfilled cybersecurity jobs expected to rise to 3.5 million by 2021, there’s never been a better time to invest in your education. Find out if IT training is right for you today!