It was late 2014 when Tremayne Brown finally retired from the military. He had served as a proud Navy sailor and later in his military career found himself fueling our sailors at sea as a military chef, feeding anywhere from 300 to 8,000 sailors a day depending on his deployment details. Little did he know that far from the isolation of the ships he was serving on, a massive shift in the job market was occurring and his fascination with technology would soon lead him into the world of information technology and specifically artificial intelligence.

Opportunity from Curiosity

Sometimes life comes full circle and presents you with opportunities that seem almost predetermined and perfect for your situation. Tremayne found his opportunity late in his military career.

“I grew up with computers in the background, and I’ve always been curious, but I never really got my hands on them until an opportunity presented itself at my last duty station.”

His last duty station was at a Naval health facility that had no kitchen. So where did he end up? Answering phones at the IT station.

As someone who likes to stay busy Tremayne expressed, “The phones only ring so much so I said, ‘Hey, you got something for me to do? Show me how to do something.’ ” Sure enough, his co-worker was delighted to show him how to handle some IT maintenance tasks and before long had him working on a whole pile of computers! This was the spark that reignited his interested in technology, which only grew from there.

Cooking Up an IT Career

Although Tremayne was a professionally trained cook, he knew that his days in the kitchen had ended. He wanted to enter into a new industry, something that he was not only passionate about, but something that could feasibly support his family. His last duty station as a sailor had actually turned into a job on the civilian side of things, he got hired as a civilian contractor in the same station that he was just in.

Happy but not comfortable, Tremayne knew he needed to learn more about computers so he signed up for the University of Maryland’s IT program.

“The problem I ran into was that I didn’t have a foundation in computers. I was pretty much learning as I went along. In order to stay in that position, they wanted me to have my certifications and although I was in college for IT, I couldn’t pass my certification exams.”

Like many veterans and civilians, Tremayne did not know about alternative routes to careers in IT and fell back on the default route which has traditionally been college. You can learn about the differences between these two routes in our blog Degrees vs. Certifications: Investing In Your Future. Below is a table that illustrates the time and earning differences.

Timeline Bachelor’s Degree LeaderQuest Training Without (pay raises factored in) LeaderQuest Training (with pay raises factored in)
Year 1 Studying, -$9,970 Training, -$12,775

Working, +16,287
1st year Tier 1 Helpdesk earnings = $38,750 (12 months of work)
– (3 months of training = 8 months of work) = $29,062 – $12,775 (Training Costs) = $16,287

Training, -$12,775

Working, +16,287
1st year Tier 1 Helpdesk earnings = $38,750 (12 months of work)
– (3 months of training = 8 months of work) = $29,062 – $12,775 (Training Costs) = $16,287

Year 2 Studying, -$9,970 Working, +38,750 Working, +40,000
(2nd year Tier 1 Helpdesk Earnings)
Year 3 Studying, -$9,970 Working, +38,750 Working, +45,750
(1st year Tier 2 Helpdesk Earnings)
Year 4 Studying, -$9,970 Working, +38,750 Working, +59,610
(1st Year Entry Level Cyber Security Analyst Earnings)
Year 5 Working, +38,750 Working, +38,750 Working, +65,000
(2nd Year Cyber Security Analyst Earnings)
TOTAL Total: –$1,970
Total: +38,750
(With G.I. Bill Funding)
Total: +171,287 Total: +195,498

Making The Switch

The stakes were high for Treymayne, who has two kids. “I have a 13-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl so there is not much room for error,” Tremayne said jokingly but with a seriousness that he really could not screw up. With these concerns on his mind and the Maryland IT program not working out for him, he decided that he and his family needed to make a change in location and career path.

Between the high cost of living in Maryland and a first failed attempt at launching an IT career, he chose to move with his family to Texas, which is where he was introduced to LeaderQuest.

By arming himself with the knowledge of IT certifications compared to a college degree, he knew what path was going to yield the type of results he was looking for: IT certifications. After settling into his new home in Dallas, he visited LeaderQuest. “LeaderQuest came highly recommended so I decided to check it out!” Fortunately for him, LeaderQuest not only serves a large number of veterans but also has many veterans on staff.

What is the advantage of this? LeaderQuest employees are experts at working with the VA and navigating the large and sometimes confusing landscape of veteran benefits.

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

Finding the Right Path

Down but not defeated, Tremayne was ready to get his IT career back on track and excited to meet with fellow veterans at LeaderQuest. He called LeaderQuest and set up a campus tour with a Career Training Consultant to discuss his options.

“We had a light-hearted discussion about what my goals were and how my previous experience played into the bigger picture.”

From that discussion and the route Tremayne wanted to go down, a personalized program made up of the CompTIA A+, Network+, Cisco CCNA, and ITIL certifications was curated and his new career path was set in motion.

The Information Technology Certification Process

Although Tremayne felt confident in his new path, the lingering failure of his first attempt at an IT career was still fresh in his mind.

“I had a little experience but was still going into a completely new career field and I didn’t know what to expect, I was really nervous.”

We asked Tremayne what was it that helped him get over this nervousness and find his stride during training.

“Every step of the way, when you would ask for help, they went out of their way to make sure I had what I needed. That relieves a lot of the anxiety someone might feel when making this kind of shift, particularly this late in life because you only get one chance to do it right.”

We pride ourselves on providing our students with the latest tools in order to succeed. This includes online tools, 1 on 1 tutoring, and many more services provided by our Instructor Mentors. This is only one factor that sets us apart from the competition, you can learn about our Instructor Mentors and all of the services offered by them here: Instructor Mentors at LeaderQuest

While we want to do everything we can to help students get the most out of their time at LeaderQuest and pass their exams, our number one goal is to get them employed.

Career Services at  LeaderQuest

Many people trying to get started in IT find that getting the education is a huge step in the direction of an IT career, but knowing the ins and outs of applying for jobs in the industry is vital. That is why we also do everything we can at this end of things to help get our students employed. LeaderQuest’s Career Services not only helps with interview/application coaching and resume/cover letter writing but they actually set up job fairs and meet and greets exclusively for LeaderQuest students. This gives our students a chance to personally interact with the hiring managers from our partnered DoD contractors and private companies who are looking to hire.

“We got an interview coach to help us learn the ins and outs, do’s and dont’s, so we have confidence when interviewing. LeaderQuest was even proactive in introducing us to employers and job opportunities.”

It was at one of LeaderQuest’s career fairs where Treymane was introduced to his future employer, TEKsystems.  “I met with a TEKsystems rep at one of these events and followed up. They had this project that was a good fit and I was able to get on.” Treymane got hired onto a project with TEKsystems dealing with one of the newest sectors of Information Technology, Artificial Intelligence, where he is working on the top end training aspect of their AI system.

Information Technology: A World of Opportunities

The interesting thing about Information Technology is that it can lead to so many different opportunities is so many different sectors of IT. This is why our entry-level Computer User Support Specialist program is perfect for individuals looking to enter the IT industry but don’t know what area they would like to expand into yet.

The Computer User Support Specialist program is composed of four different certifications courses. The first course is focused on ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), designed to help students 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 course is built around the CompTIA A+ certification where students learn how to identify, install, maintain, configure, and troubleshoot hardware, system components, and more. The third course, CompTIA Network+, teaches students the foundation-level skills needed to install, operate, manage, maintain, and troubleshoot corporate networks. The last course in the program is CompTIA Security+, during this training students learn a number of IT security skills in multiple different areas including networks, computers, internet connections, and 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, and building a foundation for an IT career the future.

What was Tremayne’s overall opinion of LeaderQuest? “They are making a lot of difference in a lot of peoples lives in a very positive way. LeaderQuest comes highly recommended. They’ll take care of you if you come here.” While transitioning into this field is great for anyone looking to change careers, veterans can learn more about why exactly IT is such a great career fit in our blog, From The Military to Information Technology: The Perfect Fit.

Interested in learning if LeaderQuest can make an impact on your life?  Click the “Get Started” 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!