We’d like to introduce you to Ambrose Boswell, a successful LeaderQuest graduate. Ambrose spent years working in the hotel industry, but found that the salary they offered just wasn’t high enough. After working closely with IT staff in another job, he decided to take the leap and see if he could find a place in IT for himself.
Check out his video below, and read on to learn more about Ambrose’s successful transition to an IT career.
Finding Work after High School
After he graduated from high school, Ambrose worked in hotels like Sheraton and Disney for over 7 years. It was an interesting industry to work in, but just didn’t pay enough.
“When I jumped out of highschool it was an easy career path to take. Hotels were always fun. I got to meet a lot of different people. It was always changing, you check in new people every day and have different conversations with interesting people. But the money wasn’t there, so I decided to go elsewhere.”
Leaving the hotel industry behind, Ambrose worked in Sales for Enterprise for two and a half years. He also worked for an IT company, but not in an IT position. Through all these jobs, he developed a background in sales and customer service. Ambrose realized that when it comes down to it, he loves helping people and solving problems, and in IT you get to do both.
Coming to Colorado and Exploring IT Training
Ambrose moved to Colorado Springs in 2018 for “the mountains, the views, and the cost of living.” He was eager to get out of Missouri and escape the humidity and bugs. As soon as he moved to Colorado, he quit his Sales job and decided he was going to go for IT full time.
“I Googled how to get an A+ certification and LeaderQuest came up as well as one other school. I called both of them, got the info I needed from both of them, and came in for a one on one interview at LeaderQuest. Sarah went over all the courses and how LeaderQuest works. She was very informative about it being a boot camp, and that you get a lot of information at once.”
“You can resit the classes any time. It’s not like you pay for the class, you sit in it, and if you don’t feel like you got the knowledge, too bad you already paid. Instead it’s, ‘No, we’re LeaderQuest. We’re here to help you, you sit in as many times as you need. And we also have tutors we offer.’ And that was the selling point. The other campus didn’t offer that.”
Ambrose enrolled in our Computer User Support Specialist program, which is our most popular program for those who have little to no IT experience and want to get started in the industry. This program includes ITIL, as well as CompTIA A+, Network+ and Security+. Students emerge with a strong foundation for an IT career, whether they decide to go into networking, cyber security, or IT support roles.
“LeaderQuest offers a lot of different outlets for information. It’s not just sitting in front of a teacher and having them read you slides or explain what they are doing. They actually give you a lot of other tools. One of them is TestOut, a website that gives you a hands-on testing environment where you can take practice tests before you take the exams. You can work physically on building a computer by clicking, and that’s not something everybody can do at home.”
Ambrose told us his formula for success in his classes at LeaderQuest:
“Making sure I showed up to class on time, asked all the questions I needed to, and then studied after class. Security+ excited me the most because you can get so many jobs once you have that certificate. I’m a visual learner, so it helped that they have huge whiteboards in the classroom and they’ll draw exactly what they’re talking about. It was a lot of information to take in at once and it wasn’t easy, so that’s why I’m still studying [before taking exams].”
Starting an IT Career
Ambrose landed his first IT job after completing just one of his four certifications. In January 2019, he was hired by the Gazette, the second largest newspaper in Colorado. It wasn’t long before he got a better offer and moved on to another IT role.
“I’m in my second IT job since starting LeaderQuest. Everything I learned in each course I took I put on my resume. When the employer saw my resume and had a conversation with me about it, I said I am at LeaderQuest, I’m still studying to get certified. They liked that I was dedicated and was wanting to learn and move up in the industry. Right now I work for Colorado High Tech Solutions, we’re a managed service provider mainly for medical offices.”
“The Colorado Springs Employment Development Manager ran resume writing classes during the lunch hour between classes. He helped me structure that information which helped me get my resume ready to put in front of an employer so they’d really look at it and not just go on to the next one, and that’s what really helped me land my job was the resume.”
Many people who are interested in IT are worried that they just won’t be able to get hired without a 4-year degree. But what employers are really looking for is a candidate with the right skills.
“Coming from sales, and not knowing anything about IT, I knew that employers are very particular when they are hiring people for IT. They want the skills, they want the knowledge, they want the years of experience. But when you’re brand new and you have no experience what do you do? LeaderQuest helped me find out what I could do to get that experience. Aside from getting certifications, just getting these skills on my resume and being able to talk the talk is what got me to be able to walk the walk.”
Looking Back on His Time at LeaderQuest
We asked Ambrose about what made his experience at LeaderQuest a great one, and there was one specific person he wanted to thank.
“I’d like to thank Sarah for all her hard work and everything she’s done for me in my tenure here at LeaderQuest. From meeting with her on day one through everything up to today, she has stayed in communication with me. We’re always talking, she’s very excited that I’m on to my next IT position and I just feel like she’s really in my corner. So thank you, Sarah, for everything that you’ve done for me. I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without you.”
Ambrose also had some advice for those who’re interested in training at LeaderQuest:
“LeaderQuest is not for everybody, but it really is for the right individual who is really motivated and willing to work their way up in this industry. If you’re really passionate about IT, and this is a career you want to start, then absolutely dive in and sign up!”
Are you ready to start an IT career?
If you’re interested in training at LeaderQuest, get in touch! We’ll give you a call and schedule a time to go over our training options, what kind of career you’re interested in starting, and what kind of funding options might work for you.
At LeaderQuest, our students come from all kinds of different backgrounds. The story that brings each student to LeaderQuest is as unique as they are. For Brent, it was a desire to reduce the stress in his life and increase the amount of time he could spend with his family.
Read on and watch the video below to learn about how Brent came to LeaderQuest and where he’s been able to go since graduating.
Fifteen Years in Restaurant Management
Brent had always liked working with computers: building them, taking them apart, and rebuilding them. But he didn’t think that he could make a career out of working with computers. Instead, he started a career in restaurant management.
“After high school, my math skills were not where they needed to be. I wanted to be an engineer of some sort, but my math grades weren’t as high as I would have liked them. So I went into the food industry and I have my degree in hotel restaurant management. After fifteen years of being a restaurant manager, it wasn’t the life I was looking for. But in every restaurant job that I’ve had, whenever a computer went down or some equipment wasn’t working, I was always the guy chosen to talk to the help desk. It was that that really sparked the interest of: if I’m doing that every day, if I’m already kind of the IT guy, why not just go to school for it, why not do it full time? So my hobby turned into a passion.”
For Brent, the turning point came when his third child was born. Holding his brand new son in his arms, he knew that he wanted to be there for his new son and his whole family in a way he hadn’t been able to as a restaurant manager.
“Working for restaurants as a manager for fifteen years was tough on my family because there’s a certain mentality you have to have for the industry. It wasn’t steady. It was a lot of coming in early, staying late. It was tough for my family. I have three kids, and when my youngest son was born three years ago, holding him in my arms, just hours old, I knew something had to change. I missed a lot of firsts with my first two kids, and I wanted something different for my son. So I got out of restaurants and started looking into what I really liked, and IT was it.”
How to Start an IT Career?
Brent had always been the type to do his “due diligence” when it came to making big decisions. He knew that he wanted to work in IT, but he wasn’t sure what kind of role he would like or how to get the training he would need to get hired.
“I called people who had job postings in the field. I asked them, ‘What’s your health insurance like?’ I did an extensive amount of research and talked to my wife about it. I talked to Sam, the recruiter at LeaderQuest, and we had probably 4 or 5 conversations over the phone just discussing different roles, discussing what life would be like at LeaderQuest. It wasn’t until I started looking at the jobs, going to Glassdoor, Indeed, looking at my potential future and then talking to Sam and building that future that I really started to feel comfortable making that change.”
LeaderQuest is proud to offer not just training, but career path guidance and support before our students start. Our Career Training Consultants, like Sam Stilwell at our Denver campus, are experts in all things IT and cyber security. They’re able to help students connect their interests and past experiences to the kinds of roles they might enjoy in the industry. For their success, it’s important that students understand where they’d like to go and what they need to do to get there. Sam was able to give Brent the confidence he needed to take the leap into IT training.
IT Training at LeaderQuest
Brent enrolled in our Computer User Support Specialist program, which is designed to help people with little to no experience get the training needed to get hired in IT. This program includes training on:
ITIL Foundation: A body of knowledge and best practices for successful IT Service Management.
CompTIA A+: The basics of personal computer hardware and operating systems including installation, upgrade, repair, configuration, optimization, troubleshooting, and preventative maintenance.
CompTIA Network+: Learn to install, operate, manage, maintain, and troubleshoot a corporate network.
CompTIA Security+: Understand the field of network security and how it relates to other areas of information technology.
Our classes run 8am-5pm (or 6pm-10pm for evening classes) on campus, and getting started with full time instruction can be a little daunting. Our instructors are a great resource and are here to make sure every student gets the knowledge they need to succeed. Jim Gross at the Denver campus is a fantastic instructor and was able to support Brent through multiple classes.
“The first day was a little daunting. Every day after that was really well supported. Even not having any degree in this industry, the first few classes seemed easy. But once we got into Network+, it got hard because we were getting into the meat and potatoes of the courses. And the instructor there, Jim Gross, saw that. He saw that I was struggling a little bit, and pulled me aside at lunch and said, ‘Hey, how can I explain this better for you? How do you want to be taught?’ And once that happened it was very welcoming, very supportive, and helped me get through the classes.”
“One of the courses I really liked here was the CompTIA A+ course. Two weeks long, and we got to build our own computer which felt natural because I had been dealing with computer parts. It was nice to know that what I was doing was correct. We got to build our own computer. We got to look at all the different pieces: legacy up through stuff that’s current. Jim was great, he explained the same things in four different ways so that everybody got it.”
Using LeaderQuest Career Services to Get Hired
At LeaderQuest, supporting our students doesn’t stop when they finish their training. We know that many of our students come to us for the training they needed to get started in a new industry. That’s why it’s so important to support them during their job search and make sure that they get a good starting role. At our Denver campus, Career Services are handled by Stephen Wright, our Employment Development Manager.
“When I was done with training at LeaderQuest and I was looking for a job, I obviously had no IT experience. Stephen, the Employment Development Manager, told me that it’s going to be difficult at first, but to continue to persevere and be honest in the interviews. There is no ‘fake it till you make it.’ They are going to be asking questions you don’t know the answer to. The first few interviews, I didn’t get. But then Stephen found a lot of great jobs for me to apply to. I had a contract position that helped me get the position I’m in now.”
“Working with Stephen was unlike anything that I had ever done before. I have had career coaches in highschool, career counselors in college, and I felt like another number. Working with Stephen was amazing. He took my junk resume, put in some headphones, and started listening to music and his fingers were a blur taking my junk resume and turning it into a masterpiece. It was like I didn’t recognize the person that was on the paper, but my name was right there. The way he talked to people on the phone and coached me for an interview was inspiring. The coaching that I got from Stephen I gave to my wife, and now she’s getting interview after interview, so it was an amazing process. So it’s not only the IT knowledge but also the continuing services you get at LeaderQuest.“
Working in the IT Industry Full Time
Brent was able to secure employment not long after his training. When we asked him how it compares to restaurant management, he said he absolutely loves it.
“Now that I’ve got a job in the IT field, I’m a network compression technician for a telecommunications company. It’s a steady, great lifestyle. I’ve got awesome benefits. I wish I had come to this industry and this school before.”
“Before I got the job that I’m in now, life was really sporadic. Had to work every weekend, on call 24 hours a day. It was not conducive to raising a family and it was not conducive to my mental wellbeing. Now I’ve got a steady job, the same schedule week after week. My company has such a great training schedule, they are very supportive. The difference between this industry and the restaurant industry are night and day. Working at a restaurant, you get a week or maybe two off and discounted food. With this industry, not only do I get 2-3 weeks off in my first year, but the health benefits are way better. I don’t have to wait for a certain time to use the bathroom. Most of the places I have applied for have a workout center in the building.“
“The other huge difference that I have noticed between industry is advancement. With the restaurant industry it’s a lot of politics to get promoted. With IT, your work speaks for itself. The numbers don’t lie. If you’re doing your work, you’ll get promoted. Coming to LeaderQuest and getting the education and direction has definitely helped me become more confident in this role and in future roles.”
Brent did an amazing job as a student here are LeaderQuest, studying the material and engaging with instructors to make sure he learned everything he could during the program. Working with Stephen Wright in Career Services, he was able to quickly secure employment after graduating. We couldn’t be more proud! Get out there and kick butt, Brent, and come back when you’re ready for more certs!
Are You Ready for a New Career?
Getting started is easy! Click the button below to get in touch with us. We’ll schedule a time to talk about your background, the kinds of roles you’re interested in, and what programs might be able to help you get there. If you’re ready to take the next step and leave behind a low-paying job that you hate, give LeaderQuest a call!
Whether you’re working a dead-end job or transitioning out of the military, everybody has different reasons to make the transition into the IT industry. And the timing couldn’t be better! The industry is facing a massive shortage of workers, offers great pay, amazing benefits, and lots of employment opportunities.
If you don’t have much experience, but you’re looking to join this thriving industry, don’t worry! You’re not the first. Check out our 7 tips for getting your foot in the door of the IT industry.
1. Re-examine and Apply Your Past Experience to the IT Industry
When you first make the decision to pursue a new career in IT, it’s important to take a hard look at your prior experience. It might seem like you
have none of the skills listed on job postings, but “soft skills” can be surprisingly important and many skills are transferable into IT roles.
For example, if you’re looking to start in a help desk position (a common entry-level IT role), things like communication, customer service, familiarity with Microsoft Office, and other common skills can be a huge boost to your resume. By carefully thinking about your past roles through the lens of the role you’d like to get, you may find a treasure trove of relevant experience.
You’ll need to create a new resume with relevant experience listed and tailored specifically for the kinds of roles you’re trying to land. Employers are highly likely to take a look at your LinkedIn page during the application process. Using your new resume, you should revise your profile to make sure the two match up. You should also take time to write a new cover letter that explains your prior experience, how it’ll be useful in your new role, and why you’re interested in changing industries. This will help answer a lot of questions if your resume piques their interest.
2. Get Industry Certifications
Getting certified may be the fastest way to break into information technology. While a tech degree can take 1-4 years, certifications can be studied for and earned in just a few weeks. Entry level certifications like the ITIL, CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ found in our entry level Computer User Support program, can lay the foundation for roles in networking and cyber security later in your career.
By getting certified, you’ll show potential employers that you have the skills they need. This can go a long way towards making up for a lack of experience. For some roles, the right certifications will put you higher in the stack than applicants with limited experience and no certifications. Best of all, certifications can help open up more entry-level opportunities instead of just taking the first IT job that comes your way.
How do you get certified? The short answer is that you can choose between self-studying or in person, hands-on training, and then take a certification exam. For most individuals with little to no experience, the best option is to take a course taught by an expert with real-world experience so you can ask questions and really understand the topic in depth. Another great learning technique for beginners is taking a course that allows you put your hands on the actual technology you will be working within on the job, this allows you to get a feel for what a real job in IT will be like while simultaneously building your confidence. If you’re interested in a course like this, LeaderQuest’s A+ course offers hands-on computer builds taught by expert instructors with real-world experience.
3. Your Degree in Another Field May Be a Huge Asset
You may be tearing your hair out with regret, wondering why you used all that time in college on a degree that isn’t helping you with your quest for a lifelong career. But don’t be too hard on yourself! Many employers are more inclined to offer you a job because you were able to accomplish
the feat of earning a degree.
Instead of focusing on how your degree may have cost you time and money, focus on the ways that your degree can be applied in moving your life forward into an IT career. For example, an IT worker with a literature degree will be more likely to take a creative approach to problem-solving and have superior writing and communication skills. A philosophy major has a deeper understanding of logic and a unique way of approaching challenges. By casting your degree as an asset, you’ll stand out from other applicants who only have computer or tech experience.
With the rapid evolution of IT, there is a huge demand for individuals from diverse backgrounds and their unique perspectives.
4. Be Open to Starting at the Bottom
It’s important to note that you may have to “start over” in IT. You may have been a manager or an advanced professional in your old industry, but you’re leaving it for a reason! Be prepared to start with a lower level position and work your way up. The experience you get working at the bottom of the ladder will be valuable as you grow into a more challenging position.
Don’t worry too much though, the earning potential you will have in IT is only limited by the work you put in. On the low-end, you are looking at starting out right around 40k in a help desk position, within 5 years in the industry and a couple of cyber security certifications you could be looking at around 65k minimum in a Cyber Security Analyst role. It really depends on your willingness to move forward and the extra learning time you put in to master your craft.
Getting educated about your field of interest shows your commitment to your new industry and helps to give you an advantage over other applicants. It can also prepare you for more advanced positions down the line. With no experience, you still won’t be able to jump to the top of the ladder but with so many open positions all across the IT industry, the right credentials can help you quickly climb to higher paying and more specialized positions in IT.
5. Don’t Forget the Power of Networking
You may be surprised by how powerful your connections can be. When looking to fill a job role, most employers are more interested in hiring somebody based on a recommendation than interviewing a bunch of total strangers.
Make sure to use social media and everyone in your address book to reach out to anybody you know who’s associated with the tech world. Simply putting a post out there letting your connections know that you are looking to get into tech may bring out an opportunity that you never knew about.
You can even just ask your friends or connections if they know anybody who’s looking to hire for the type of positions you want. The right connection can give you a huge head start over the competition, and might even spark a career passion that lasts the rest of your life.
6. Teach Yourself Relevant Tech Skills
When it comes to technology, there are a million different things to learn that can improve your resume. Anything from understanding Salesforce to knowing how to post on WordPress might be useful to your next employer. Utilizing YouTube and learning from countless free videos is a great way to learn new skills and reinforce old ones.
Follow your interests and teach yourself about software and hardware in your free time. You’ll be able to add these skills to your resume once you’re competent at them, and they just might make the difference between getting hired and getting looked over.
7. Look for Crossover Positions
While you might not have any direct experience, there are IT workers in every industry that use networks and computers ( pretty much every industry out there). If you have years of experience in car sales, for example, it might help to look for an IT position at a car dealership. Understanding half of the business can go a long way towards making you a valuable employee right from the start, even if your tech skills aren’t top notch. You’ll still have to start at the bottom, but it could be the perfect way to gain your first year or two of IT experience.
All in all, it is not impossible to start a career in IT with no experience, hence the word “start,” but many individuals are still skeptical of making the leap into IT. By arming yourself with the right tools and knowhow you can significantly increase your chances at starting a career in tech that will last a lifetime.
If you are looking for a partner in helping you move forward with an IT career, LeaderQuest specializes in assisting individuals to do just this. Throughout our 13 years of helping individuals transform their lives, we have curated the perfect formula that takes into consideration career changers and the needs of the IT industry. This formula leads to higher employment rates because we provide relevant training for jobs that are in demand.
Our unrivaled success is achieved by focusing on both training and employment outcomes.
We can help you open the door to an IT career!
Here at LeaderQuest, we know that making a decision like starting a new career is a difficult one and you should have someone to help guide you through this process. That’s why we employ experts in the field to aid you in this transition. Their purpose is to understand your whole situation in order to help you make the right decision. They do this by analyzing your previous experiences, learning about your unique situation, and understanding your personal goals. If IT industry is right for you, they will search for any grants that you may qualify for and set up a personalized IT certification program around your schedule.
Interested in learning more about what a meeting with a Career Training Consultant is like and what you will learn from a one-on-one Information session? Fill out the form below to learn more!
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