When it comes to IT training, we know we’re not the only player in the game. That’s why we have crafted our programs to offer more value than any of our competitors. More than anything, our commitment to getting you hired is the best asset we can possibly offer. So if you’re looking to change jobs or move into a new role, let us know! We’d love to help you take the next step in your career.
What makes us so special? Read on to learn about what makes LeaderQuest’s IT programs best in class.
1. Live, Expert-led IT Training
At LeaderQuest, we never use pre-recorded seminars. Our knowledgeable instructors are right there with you in the classroom, and ready to answer questions or go over difficult topics a second time. This includes our IT classes online, which are always led by a live expert. Don’t leave your information technology education in the hands of a recording, train with us!
2. Available Fully Online or in the Classroom
We have campuses in Colorado Springs, Dallas, the Denver Tech Center, Jacksonville, and San Antonio, each fully equipped with a computer lab for study and practice, a testing center (see #4), and a place to meet with your Instructor Mentor. But we know that during this pandemic, it’s just not practical to meet in person or visit us on campus. That’s why we also offer all of our courses in an online-only format, and make our Instructor Mentors available through online meetings. Whatever way works best for you, we’re ready to help you get trained and certified!
3. Post IT Training Career Services
Not only will we train you and help you pass your exam, but we’ll help you work on your resume, contact employers and GET HIRED! Each LeaderQuest campus has a Career Services team including a dedicated Employment Development Manager (EDM) that is solely focused on preparing and positioning our graduates with our employer partners in the community. It’s our mission to make sure every LeaderQuest alum finds their place in the IT industry.
We’re deeply committed to finding employment for each of our graduates. Your EDM is your personal employment advocate, and they have many tools they can use to help you find the perfect position. Though LeaderQuest is not a placement agency and can’t guarantee a job, the IT market is thriving and certified individuals are in high demand. Read on to learn more about how your EDM can help.
4. On-Site Testing with Vouchers Included
As an accredited Pearson VUE testing facility, we can proctor exams for our students right on our campuses. Take the test somewhere you’re comfortable, with people you know, instead of going to a brand new facility for testing. Certification exams are included in the cost of your training, which can be as much as $600 per exam!
This role represents LeaderQuest’s commitment to helping students at every step of their IT training journey. While some students excel at their exams without any aid, we recognized that others needed a stronger support system. Our classes give students all the knowledge they need to pass their exams, but some students may need to study more to feel confident while taking the test.
6. Earn College Credit with ACE CREDIT Recommendation
When you take one of the 14 approved courses at LeaderQuest, you could be eligible for college credit. So if you’re considering getting a full bachelor’s degree or going back for some extra training, you could have a head start. ACE CREDIT recommendation means you could get trained with an entry-level certification, start a job in IT, and still have college credit if you decide to go back to school to specialize.
7. Not a Boot Camp
LeaderQuest doesn’t try to force its students through a 4-day course and then have them “test out” that Friday. Depending on the certification, our IT education programs may take anywhere from 2-3 weeks. We aim for 90% or better knowledge retention so that you can use your certification with confidence. Following the completion of each course, you will have continued access to your course-ware, lab environment, and exam/study prep test materials. The LeaderQuest Learning Guarantee ensures that if you don’t pass your certification exam, you can continue to sit in on lessons until you’re ready to take—and pass—your exam.
8. Funding Experts
Not sure how to pay for training? Our career training consultants are funding experts! We can help Veterans gain access to the benefits they’ve earned. We can also help non-veterans secure alternative funding sources that meet their needs. Your training through us is eligible for funding through state grants because we’re a state-approved career school. We’re also VA approved to offer training to veterans and active duty military members through Chapter 31 and Chapter 33 GI Bill®. If you don’t qualify for outside funding, we can help you apply for a loan from Climb Credit.
9. Day or Night Classes
We know it can be hard to take time away from your job to get IT training. That’s why we offer night classes and online courses that make it easy to earn the IT certifications you need to advance your career. Many of our students achieve meaningful employment before finishing their program and choose to finish out their program via our night classes. All of our courses are led by a live, expert instructor, and are never pre-recorded.
10. Build a Career with Continued Education
Helping career changers get their start is a big part of what we do at LeaderQuest, but it doesn’t end there. With programs like Computer User Support Specialist, we can help you start a career in IT and get some experience under your belt. When you’re ready for the next step, we offer training in powerful mid-level and advanced IT certifications that can help you land a promotion and advance your career into new areas.
We offer Cyber Security programs like Information Security Analyst and Cyber Security Specialist that are designed to help you advance your career into cyber security with confidence. These programs are designed to help graduates qualify for roles like Information Security Specialist, Information Systems Security Manager, Data Security Analyst, Information Security Auditor, and more.
If you’re interested in Networking and Infrastructure, our Network Administrator program is a great next step and will help you earn your CCNA certification. You’ll be qualified for roles such as System Engineer, Technical Support Engineer, Network Administrator, Network Support Technician and more.
It’s a path so commonplace and accepted, you’d be forgiven for mistaking it as the only one.
Go to college after high school. Of course. It’s just what people do. Never mind the four years you give up in time, or the tens of thousands you pay in tuition and room and board. In the long run, these are nothing concerns. Especially when you consider the higher income that a college education all but guarantees.
Actually, maybe not. Four years is a significant period of time to wait before you can start earning money. And the costs? Credit.com puts the average student loan debt at a whopping $31,172. That’s not something you can pay off overnight. If your debt is higher, which is all too possible, it may not be something you can fully pay off ever.
When you also consider that basic employment is far from guaranteed in many fields — let alone that higher income — college starts to look a lot less stable and reliable than we’re led to believe.
Bucking Tradition, Together
Roommates Michael Lim, 23, and Michael-Anthony Shipman, 25, experienced some of these drawbacks firsthand. Both of them tried the traditional college route after high school, and both of them decided it wasn’t for him.
“There’s an overemphasis in my opinion on college degrees,” Lim says. “I don’t want to downplay at all the education you get from college, the social understanding and things you learn outside the classroom. But for the price, it’s a little bloated. A little bit, in my opinion.”
Both of Lim’s parents went to college, as did all five of his siblings. But he didn’t take to his new lifestyle at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He didn’t like the massive classroom sizes, nor was he completely sure of the value of his intended computer science degree.
“It wasn’t really like, ‘Oh, should I go to college and get a degree?’ It was like, ‘When am I going to get it?’” Lim says. “For me personally, just as a life choice, I didn’t want to go to college right after high school — and it kind of showed. Getting out after a year and a half in was my way of saying, ‘Oh, I don’t think the timing is right. I don’t want to be going into this kind of intensity. I just want to figure things out for myself.’”
After Lim left, he wound up in Pittsburgh, where he met Shipman. In addition to his ongoing work with the Army National Guard, Shipman was studying game design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, which eventually shut down as part of a wave of Art Institute closings across the country.
Together with a couple other friends, the group migrated west to Aurora, Colorado. Some enrolled in a new school, but that turned out not to be exactly what they were looking for either. That’s when Shipman came across LeaderQuest’s Denver campus.
“Just from all the options and the outcomes that I could have from LeaderQuest, it was going to be better than getting a degree in college,” Shipman says. “Especially with being already in the military, having the VA benefits and already having a clearance for jobs for getting out of LeaderQuest is a huge bonus.”
Shipman — a tech guy who built his first computer five years ago — decided to give it a go, ultimately convincing Lim and their roommate Ryan Broadwater as well.
“When [Shipman] started looking into it, he was like, ‘Oh, wow, this is a really, really solid place,” says Lim, who was also attracted to the opportunity to earn college credits. “The idea of me and my two roommates going to school together, as well as getting some certifications and whatnot, it was a very enticing proposition. So it was very hard for me to turn it down.”
“When you’re going to college, you’re spending just literally tens of thousands of dollars, every year,” Lim says. “Coming to LeaderQuest, time-wise, it’s less than a semester. And money-wise, it all just kind of made sense, like lucratively. You’re going to be making a fair amount of money coming out and you’re going into an expanding field. It just makes a lot of sense.”
Whereas before he was one of 300 in classes at UNC-Charlotte, with LeaderQuest Lim learned in classroom sizes of 15 or less. He called that “very refreshing” as he completed his LeaderQuest courses and went on to pass the ITIL exam as his first certification.
Military duties related to the coronavirus, meanwhile, have kept Shipman from wrapping up his coursework just yet. But once his training is finished and his certifications are acquired, he’s looking forward to working with the Department of Defense as a civilian contractor — “to not necessarily be in uniform but work with people in uniform.”
Both Lim and Shipman are fully confident in LeaderQuest’s career services team to help them find full-time employment in IT.
“One of the best things is how ready they are to help you out,” Lim says. “When I connect with my teachers they’re like, ‘Hey, even outside of LeaderQuest, when you’re gone as an alumni, you can contact me. If you need a reference, you can contact me. If I leave LeaderQuest, you can still contact me and I’ll help you out.’ I was like, ‘Dang, these guys are just like all for me.’ It was really nice to hear that kind of encouragement from my professors. I just thought it was top tier.”
Though the young men are closer to the beginning of their professional journey in IT than the end, both feel good about the less-than-traditional route they’ve decided to pursue.
“It all worked out really well for me,” Lim says. “This is an amazing decision in my opinion. Me and my roommates, we were just like, ‘Oh, best decision of our lives, hands down.’ It just makes a lot of sense for us.”
Adds Shipman: “I think this was a great decision. I’ve never regretted doing it.”
Ready to Learn More?
As Lim points out, with LeaderQuest you can get the training you need to pass the certifications necessary for IT positions in less than a semester. Going to school at night, as he did, takes 10 weeks; if you’re able to attend classes during the day, you’ll be done in five weeks. The Computer User Support Specialist program is the most common direction for those with no experience. It prepares students for the ITIL, CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, and CompTIA Security+ certifications that will help them successfully break into IT.
Our staff of instructors and mentors are there to help every step of the way, even after the course ends. LeaderQuest prides itself on helping students pass their certification exams, and then helping them get jobs. To that end, our career services team is tireless in their efforts to connect LQ alums to IT positions. They’re well-connected in the community, and can often put in that good word with hiring managers that moves our alumni’s resumes to the top of the pile.
Are you a high school student who feels college might not be the right fit? Could you see yourself joining the expanding field of IT and cybersecurity? Fill out the form below to get in touch with LeaderQuest and start talking options, from potentially finding funding for your training to seeing how IT certifications can build the foundation for a fulfilling career.
Mark Emery is the Social Media and Content Marketing Manager for LeaderQuest and MISTI. He is a Pittsburgh native who now lives in Denver, and his previous work experience includes editorial roles at Men’s Health, the NY Daily News, and MLB.com.
It’s clear that Information Technology is a fast growing field with lots of opportunity. According to (ISC)2’s Cybersecurity Workforce Study 2019, which polled more than 3,000 cyber and IT professionals, the current cybersecurity workforce in the United States and 10 other world economies at 2.8 million – about 4 million short of what it needs to be. LeaderQuest is proud to help train the next generation of IT specialists and cybersecurity pros.
Considering that IT workers are needed in nearly every sector of industry, it’s no surprise that these roles are growing like crazy. Salaries are also increasing at high rates, with Information Technology Managers seeing their compensation rise by over 8% from 2015-2019.
So what does this mean for IT? In this examination of the Robert Half 2020 Technology & IT Salary Guide, we’ll be exploring areas of growth, examining average salaries, and reviewing other information that’s essential for anyone thinking of getting into IT.
Expanding IT Industries
Though the need for IT is rising everywhere, the three industries with the biggest demand are healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing.
Healthcare — Big innovations are needed to improve patient care by modernizing healthcare operations.
Financial services — In the wake of the Equifax breach, this shouldn’t be surprising. Both big data and information security initiatives drive the need for pros in this industry.
Manufacturing — While manufacturing has been slow to adapt, things are changing quickly with the trend toward automation.
Technology — Unsurprisingly, the tech industry has a huge and growing need for all kinds of information technology roles.
Certifications are always in high demand as a way for employers to verify the skills of a new hire. The skills and knowledge required to pass these exams give employers confidence that they’ve made the right hire.
In Robert Half’s extensive salary guide, they break down the numbers for what people in the 25th, 50th, 75th, and 95th percentile will make. Which percentile an individual falls into is decided by things like level of experience, special skills/expertise, job complexity, location, and other such factors.
When looking at these charts for yourself, it’s important to remember that the 50th percentile represents the midpoint. Those just getting started in the industry will be closer to (or below) the 25th percentile. Those with a lot of experience or credentials would fall in the 75th or 95th percentiles. For more information on using the salary guide, check out the video below.
When you examine the chart below, you can see that IT salaries top out with executive positions such as the Chief Information Officer ($174,750 – $298,750), Chief Technology Officer ($152,250 – $266,000), and Chief Security Officer ($155,250 – $278,000).
While that’s the highest of the high, it’s still worth noting that many of the salary ranges for IT roles easily reach over $100,000 including specialties and years of experience. Here are just a few high paying jobs in technical services, networking, and security.
Technical Services, Help Desk, & Technical Support
As you can see from the chart below, these positions represent the lower end of the salary range in IT. However, with the midpoint salary range for most positions around or over $50,000, it’s still much more than a living wage.
While salaries start in the $34,000 to $40,000 range, they quickly move to $50,000 – $60,000 as they get more and more specialized. This is especially true for systems administrators and systems engineers.
Help Desk Tier 1
Help Desk Tier 2
Help Desk Tier 3
Desktop Support Analyst
When you’re looking to get into IT for the first time, it’s important to have a base of knowledge to draw upon. Our Computer User Support Specialist program combines popular ITIL® and CompTIA training programs necessary to develop the skills you’ll need for entry-level IT.
If you’re looking to get started in IT with little to no experience. Learn more about us by clicking the link below.
Network Administrators are listed as one of the most in-demand positions for 2020, so it should be no surprise their salaries range from $76,250 to $129,500, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Many higher level network positions such as Network Engineers, Managers, or Wireless Network Engineers start around $105,000 and can go as high as the $178,750.
Wireless Network Engineer
If you’re interested in the networking positions, our Network Support Specialist Program teaches fundamentals, competencies, and qualifications that are necessary to start a career in networking. Through these classes, you’ll learn how to install, configure, run, verify, and troubleshoot medium-sized networks.
Interested in learning more? Click the link below.
Cyber security is rapidly expanding and in desperate need of more professionals to stay on top of security. The compensation for these roles reflects this high demand.
In cyber security, even the jobs in the 25th percentile start around $90,000. With rising concerns about data from the Equifax breaches and others, it makes sense that Network Security Engineers, Data Security Analysts, and Information Systems Security Managers most often make between $115,000 and $160,000.
Network Security Administrator
Systems Security Administrator
Network Security Engineer
Data Security Analyst
Information Systems Security Manager
With the gap between cyber skills growing wider by the day, the industry provides professionals with unparalleled job security and a world of opportunities. Whether you’re interested in working on securing networks, keeping data safe, or even getting inside the mind of a hacker, cyber provides a variety of great, high-paying options.
Interested in learning more about how our programs can help you build a career path toward cyber security? Click the button below.
Most IT positions include generous benefits packages. Here are the most common benefits broken down by the percentage of companies that offer them:
Medical Insurance (81%)
Paid Time Off (76%)
Dental Insurance (71%)
Vision Insurance (63%)
Retirement Savings Plan (65%)
Employers also consider a number of other incentives to snag top talent including signing bonuses, health insurance, generous vacation time, and professional development opportunities.
As for perks, places often offer flexible work schedules, social events, the option of telecommuting, paid parental leave, employee discounts, onsite gym or access to a gym offsite, a compressed schedule, or free/subsidized meals.
Importance of Certifications
Ultimately, the difference in salary comes down to specialization. For IT pros, that means skills and certifications. Both increase the marketability of a professional. Employers may increase salaries between five to ten percent for professionals with sought-after skills and abilities.
Some of the most popular certifications, as identified by the Robert Half guide, include CISSP, CCNA, CompTIA A+, and PMP®. However, certifications show more than proving a skillset. They also signal to employers that a professional is committed to keeping their skills up to date at all times. With the ever-widening cyber security gap, certifications and willingness to keep on top of the latest updates are becoming more and more of a commodity.
Certifications can mean the difference between thousands of dollars in salary. That’s why, at LeaderQuest, we balance by-the-book training that helps people pass their exams with real-world, hands-on experience. This ensures our students can take their learning beyond the classroom and be fully prepared for a brand new career.
We understand the pressures of working full-time while still wanting to advance education and earning potential That’s why we offer classes during the day, at night, on campus, or online to meet any schedule and learning style.
Ultimately, a certification is a great, cost-effective way to get into the lucrative IT field for the fraction of the cost of a university. With the continuing upward trend in salaries, the IT industry isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
If you’re interested in building a successful career in IT, contact us and we’ll get you set up with one of our expert career advisers.
Contact us today and unlock your career’s full potential!
PMI, PMP, CAPM, and PMBOK are registered marks of Project Management Institute, Inc.
Getting started on the road of Cisco certifications can seem like a long, hard, expensive commitment—especially if you’re just starting out and know you want to get all the way to the architect level.
But just because you’ll spend countless hours studying and a couple thousand dollars on test fees over the course of getting your Cisco certifications doesn’t mean it won’t be worth it in the long run.
In fact, quite the opposite is true.
In the end, IT certifications usually end up paying for themselves many times over with increased salary and the peace of mind that comes with job security.
Since offering the CCNA-Security (Cisco Certified Network Associate) certification in our CCNA training Network Administrator course, we’ve seen droves of students set out on the course to better careers with Cisco certifications and with the higher salaries and job security they get from it, they’ve never looked back with regret.
In the 1980s, Cisco was founded as a routing company and added switching in the 1990s. As time went on, they added other technologies, and the journey from their most basic to their most advanced certifications reflects this same route in added technology.
With the CCNA training course, you first learn routing and switching. As you go along, you learn about wireless, data centers, voice, and so on.
So in the case that you do not want to pursue a routing and switching path, the steps they’ve designed still improve your career over time and give you the more wider-reaching knowledge to be better at your job than the majority of your peers.
1. Land More Interviews with Certifications
As it turns out, years of experience actually have little to do with proving you know your stuff to hiring managers.
“If I were to filter resumes based on years of experience,” said Marcus Fan on The Cisco Learning Network, “I would find that many candidates would not meet the technical requirements for the positions needed despite the years of experience.”
“My last several openings I’ve received 30-60 applicants each,” he went on. “Since it’s difficult to gauge a candidate’s expertise, many recruiters will then narrow candidates based on referrals or IT certifications.”
So if you don’t know a guy who knows a guy, then it seems like having a legitimate, third-party certification (like Cisco’s CCNA) on your resume will increase your chances of landing an interview even more than having years of experience.
2. Higher Lifetime Earning Potential with a Cisco Certification
Especially for full-time or part-time workers, one of the main oppositions to studying for Cisco IT certifications is the time it takes to do so.
Our Network Administrator Program, for example, lasts for 10 days, and each session is half a day each. If you work full time, the time away from your job means you’re missing out on a weeks’ worth of total income, which can make a difference when your bills come due.
However, one weeks’ worth of income pales in comparison to what your potential salary could be just a few months after completing the certification… not to mention how much more you’ll earn over the course of our lifetime.
According to Payscale.com, the average salaries for someone who earns just the basic CCNA Cisco certification broken down by job title are approximately:
Network Engineer: $49,000 to $105,000
Network Administrator: $41,000 to $82,000
Sr. Network Engineer: $72,000 to $135,000
IT Manager: $54,000 to $132,000
Systems Administrator: $44,000 to $87,000
Quite a difference, don’t you think?
From real pay increases from real LeaderQuest students, read about the success story of Tremayne Brown and many more!
3. Get Irreplaceable Job Security After CCNA Training
In line with what Marcus Fan was saying about job candidates with IT certifications being more likely to land interviews, candidates with Cisco certifications also enjoy far greater job security than those who don’t… simply because they’ve taken the time to prove that they know their stuff.
Here are some experiences from people who’ve taken the time to get a Cisco certification:
“As a CCNP/CCDP for the past 10 years, I have never had to worry about getting interviews and landing great jobs in the Network Engineering/Architecture career,” said Robert L, a Data Center Networking Infrastructure Specialization Field Engineer in Nevada. “Not to mention portability. The certifications give companies assurance that as a candidate, I know my stuff. Whatever industry!”
“You’ll probably never have to look for a job and you’ll be paid top dollar for what you know,” said Sufyan Ali Shaikh, a bank Network Engineer.
Don’t Wait… Take an Easy First Step Right Now
More interviews, higher salary, and job security—who doesn’t want that?
We’re not claiming that a Cisco CCNA training certification is the magic bullet to IT career success, but we are saying that it’s something that will help you out immensely.
And luckily, getting started isn’t hard. We’ve got information ready to send you that will help you figure out the best course timings for your schedule, and easy payment plans to fit your budget.
Today, we are living in a digital economy. Every business can see that technology has become a critical part of their current operations and their future success, and leadership is pushing for digital transformation. In order to remain competitive, companies know they must invest in IT. This includes everything from the computers that workers use every day, to the networks they communicate with the internet over, to data storage, to cloud computing, and more.
CompTIA A+ is the industry standard for launching IT careers into today’s digital world. Why? Because it’s performance-based, trusted by employers, regularly re-invented by IT experts, and offers a complete skills development solution.
Getting your CompTIA A+ certification will enable you to join this digital revolution and ensure a competitive salary and great job security. Read on to learn about why A+ is so powerful and what you’ll learn.
What Makes the A+ Certification Valuable?
CompTIA A+ vendor-neutral certification is the preferred qualifying credential for technical support and IT operational roles. A+ demonstrates comprehension of hardware, software, operating systems, system troubleshooting, technology repair, networking, mobility, security and operational procedures.
Directive 8140/8570: The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) recognizes CompTIA A+ certification for information assurance technicians under DoD Directive 8140/8570.
Mapped to NICE: CompTIA A+ maps to the Customer Service and Technical Support specialty area of the framework developed as part of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE).
Highly In Demand: CompTIA A+ ranked 7th in U.S. job listings showing the certification is required or recommended for potential candidates. (Source: CompTIA IT Employment Snapshot, Q4 2017)
The A+ certification is ideal for those looking to get started in the Information Technology industry. It was created to certify that readiness and skills for job roles such as Service Desk Analyst, Field Service Tech, Help Desk Tech, and IT Support Specialist.
Employers look for candidates with their A+ certification because it helps them know they’re making a great hiring decision. Being able to pass the exam is a form of 3rd party skills verification that gives hiring mangers confidence that this hire will be able to do the job and do it right. In fact, 96% of HR managers use IT certifications as screening or hiring criteria during recruitment!
What Does the A+ Certification Cover?
This in-depth certification covers the most important basics of the IT industry: security, infrastructure and hardware, networking, operations, operating systems, software and troubleshooting. For a more in-depth look at what you could learn, read through the exam objectives below.
Tech support teams face a growing challenge to accurately triage a flood of security issues.
Physical and logical security
Malware detection and removal
Privacy concerns, including GDPR and handling PII
Summarize the importance of physical security measures.
Compare and contrast wireless security protocols and authentication methods.
Given a scenario, detect, remove, and prevent malware using appropriate tools and methods.
Given a scenario, implement security best practices to secure a workstation.
Infrastructure & Hardware
Connectivity is the lifeblood of productivity. Troubleshooting device connectivity issues are table stakes for IT support professionals.
Cloud and virtualization
IoT devices and protocols
Internet appliances, including endpoint management
Different network types, including wireless mesh networks
Mobile Devices Objectives
Given a scenario, install and configure laptop hardware and components.
Given a scenario, install components within the display of a laptop.
Given a scenario, connect and configure accessories and ports of other mobile devices.
Given a scenario, configure basic mobile device network connectivity and application support.
Compare and contrast TCP and UDP ports, protocols, and their purposes.
Compare and contrast common networking hardware devices. (Routers, switches, access points, firewalls, bubs, repeaters, etc)
Given a scenario, install and configure a basic wired/wireless SOHO network.
Compare and contrast wireless networking protocols.
Explain basic cable types, features, and their purposes.
Given a scenario, select and configure appropriate components for a custom PC configuration to meet customer specifications or needs.
Given a scenario, install and configure motherboards, CPUs, and add-on cards.
Given a scenario, select, install and configure storage devices.
Given a scenario, use the best practice methodology to resolve problems.
Given a scenario, troubleshoot problems related to motherboards, RAM, CPUs, and power.
Given a scenario, troubleshoot common wired and wireless network problems.
Given a scenario, troubleshoot hard drives and RAID arrays.
As the systems that users connect with increase in both number and variety, the definition of competency for an entry level IT support pros has expanded.
Working with log files
Knowledgebase best practices
Basic disaster prevention and recovery
Using remote access
Operational Procedures Objectives
Compare and contrast best practices associated with types of documentation.
Given a scenario, implement basic change management best practices.
Given a scenario, implement basic disaster prevention and recovery methods.
Explain the processes for addressing prohibited content/activity, and privacy, licensing, and policy concepts.
Hardware knowledge underpins tech support competency, but the day-to-day requires software expertise.
Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome OS, Mac OS
Software as a Service (SaaS)
iCloud, Exchange, Google Inbox
Operating Systems Objectives
Compare and contrast common operating system types and their purposes.
Summarize general OS installation considerations and upgrade methods.
Given a scenario, use appropriate Microsoft command line tools.
Given a scenario, configure Microsoft Windows networking on client/desktop.
Software Troubleshooting Objectives
Given a scenario, troubleshoot Microsoft Windows OS problems.
Given a scenario, troubleshoot and resolve PC security issues.
Given a scenario, use best practice procedures for malware removal.
Given a scenario, troubleshoot mobile OS and application issues.
Are you interested in IT training?
Does the idea of installing and configuring motherboards make you grin? Do you want to learn the ins-and-outs of running virtual machines? A career in IT could be the perfect choice for you. If you enjoy working with your hands, fixing broken things, and understanding the latest technology, consider giving IT a chance.
LeaderQuest can help you get the training you need to get hired in IT. Our training courses take 5-10 days to complete and are taught by instructors with years of industry experience. We include hands-on labs in every course so that you’ll have the skills you need to excel. Finally, we offer one-on-one career services to help you with your resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letter, interview skills and more. We’ll even connect you with local IT employers that are looking to hire.
So what’s stopping you? Your IT career is waiting for you!
Finding a career you enjoy is not an easy task, especially when you are unemployed and your skills are not in demand. The snowball effect from being fired, being laid off, or an extended stint of unemployment can be detrimental to one’s well being and one’s future career. As of January 2019, the amount of persons in the United States that are burdened by unemployment is over 6.5 million.
On the other side of the employment spectrum there is a massive shortage of skilled workers across the United States, especially in the IT industry with over 350,000 current openings in the cybersecurity sector alone! So how do you solve both of these problems at once?
The solution is the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act or WIOA for short.
WIOA is landmark legislation designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.
Since its inception in 2014 WIOA has helped approximately 20 million individuals a year.
What is the purpose of WIOA?
This legislation was put in place to help foster economic stability by analyzing each state’s employment needs and strategically funding programs to help employers fill open positions with skilled workers. In this way, WIOA helps solve the unemployment shortage and skilled workers shortage at the same time. Each state is responsible for developing and submitting a strategy for preparing an educated and skilled workforce to meet the needs of its local employers.
In order to develop this workforce, unemployed individuals often require different kinds of help to become fully capable of making the transition. For example, some individuals might need help paying their bills and supporting their family while receiving the training.
This allows states to include and combine key programs such as temporary assistance programs and technical education programs (such as LeaderQuest’s Computer User Support Specialist Program) that help job seekers acquire industry-recognized credentials for in-demand jobs. This creates a comprehensive plan for individuals to go from unskilled and unemployed to skilled and employed.
What training programs qualify?
Since job seekers are funded through taxes, the programs that they receive funding for must adhere to certain performance indicators to ensure the quality and effectiveness of the program so that money is not being wasted. First, the program must align with the state’s plan to fulfill the hiring needs of local employers.
Other performance indicators include:
The percentage of trainees that were successful in obtaining the desired credentials after training.
The measurable skills gains of unskilled to skilled job seekers.
The percentage of job seekers that found employment after training.
The percentage of workers that retained employment after training.
The median wages of workers hired after training.
Who qualifies for funding for training and assistance programs?
Depending on your specific situation you may or may not qualify for WIOA funding. There are also different priorities based on your previous education and eligibility for other government programs.
Factors that will affect your eligibility include:
Employment Status and Reason Unemployed
Eligibility for other funding
Relation to a military servicemen
If you qualify you could be on the road to a bright new future today! Ready to find out if you qualify? Contact us and we can help you navigate the funding process.
Your local Workforce Center is designed to help you get employed by offering a wide variety of services for anyone who needs them. This ranges from the basics of computer and internet access to career guidance and resume help. Some workforce centers will even help with childcare services during your job search so you can attend training and interviews.
A great service to take advantage of is the skills assessment. This assessment will assess your previous jobs, roles, and any other relevant experience to tease out any skills that may lead to a fulfilling career.
Is starting a new career right for me?
You might be asking yourself if you could benefit from WIOA or how training might help you move forward into a stable career. There are usually worries and anxiety that come with the thought of training for a new career, but are those fears worth losing out on a great opportunity? That is for you to decide, but arming yourself with the right knowledge can tremendously improve your confidence in your ability to make this decision.
To help answer some of these questions and give you an idea of the opportunity at hand we will analyze of one of the most in-demand industries in the world, Information Technology, and give you an example of an individual’s journey from beginning to end through the WIOA process.
As previously mentioned, for a program to get the funding to train individuals, this program must align with the state’s plan to fulfill the needs of local employers. This means that there must be a demand for the industry the program trains and certifies jobs seekers for.
Fortunately for IT, there is no shortage of demand! By 2021, there will be an estimated 3.5 million open cyber security positions worldwide. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026 for Information Security Analysts is a whopping 28%! Compare that to the average growth rate for all occupations at 7%.
Salaries for IT Careers
Entry level IT salaries range from $30,000 to $40,000 ($15.50 to $19.23 per hour) annually. In IT there is a clear path to advance your career and plenty of opportunities. Salaries in this field can quickly move to $50,000 to $60,000 ($24.40 to $28.85 per hour) range as you gain more experience, as illustrated in the graph below.
The combination of the high demand for skilled IT workers and low supply creates a situation that forces companies to pay well and provide lucrative benefits in order to retain employees. Because of this, the climate for IT employment is at an all-time high in favor of job seekers in this field. With a wide gamut of careers in this field, job seekers can easily draw from previous experience to find a career the would enjoy in IT.
A WIOA Student Journey
Have you ever been interested in what makes the modern world tick? Ross Earnheart had always been interested in computers, but his journey in the military never gave him the opportunity to explore that passion.
After Ross separated from the military he was directionless without anyone to guide him to a career he would enjoy. Not knowing what to do, he got a job through a friend and began working day in and day out. Ross worked a job that did not challenge him nor offer any room for advancement. Fed up with his job, Ross decided to head to his local unemployment office and see what his options were.
To Ross’s surprise, he actually qualified for WIOA funding and was recommended to LeaderQuest by his caseworker who knew that Ross had a possible interest in IT.
“As soon as I found out about all of the different kinds of jobs and careers and everything else you can do in the IT world it just opened my mind” – Ross Earnheart
Ross contacted LeaderQuest and got set up for a one on one meeting with a Career Training Consultant. The job of the Career Training Consultant is to assess if an IT career is a good fit by analyzing the person’s ambitions, salary goals, past skills, and willingness to learn.
After determining that an IT career would be a good fit for Ross, his Career Training Consultant then put the training into motion by scheduling his courses and working with the unemployment office to secure his WIOA funding. Ross took the Computer User Support Specialist entry-level IT program which trains students with the skills and knowledge required to achieve the ITIL, CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ industry standard certifications. This program exposes students to multiple facets of IT including best practices, desktop support, networking, and cyber security.
LeaderQuest’s IT Training & Certification Courses
Each course includes 40 hours of training, taken over 5 weekdays at 8 hours/day (full time) or 10 weeknights at 4 hours/night (part time).
To fit your time schedule, these course can be spread out or taken back to back.
Through WIOA, you may be eligible to receive other benefits to cover your bills while training.
Once Ross finished his courses he continued to work with our Career Services team to develop his resume, cover letter, and interviewing skills. The LeaderQuest Career Services team has fostered partnerships with local companies to fill their IT positions as well as sources outside positions to get students hired quickly.
Ross was subsequently hired by a local academy as an Information Technology Specialist. He is now out in the real world making a real difference for his community and family, and it all started with his decision to start a new career in IT at LeaderQuest.
Are you ready to consider a career in IT?
If you are looking for a new career, you should consider IT! WIOA was designed for individuals like yourself who are looking for a fresh start in a new career that has a bright future. You already possess skills that could be perfect for an IT career, and you have a company willing to help you through every step of this transition.
With the possibility of your training and bills being paid for during the duration of your training, maybe it is time to take a step in the right direction and speak with a LeaderQuest representative today.
Want to see if you qualify for WIOA funding? Please download our worksheet below. Remember that this worksheet does not qualify/disqualify you from any WIOA funds but can give you an idea of the requirements in your area. We recommend that you speak with a professional at your local unemployment office to find out for sure if you qualify. We hope that this blog has armed you with the knowledge to make decisions about your future. If you are considering a career in IT, consider LeaderQuest!
When you’re standing on the precipice of a new career, taking the plunge can be scary. No one likes being stuck in a job they hate, but getting out takes hard work, grit, and a little luck. You might know that IT is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, but deciding to make it your new career isn’t easy.
Never fear! If you’re thinking about going into information technology, we’ve prepared a list of pros and cons so you can decide for yourself if the world of tech is right for you. This list builds on research from our 2016 article but includes more stats and more considerations for IT professional jobs.
Stress & Constant Complaints vs. Great Salary & Benefits Package
Let’s not beat around the bush about the hardest part of IT. You’re interacting with people whose patience has been ground down until they’re ready to throw their computers out the window. This is especially true for the Help Desk.
What’s more, for people employed in positions such as Systems Administrators, Network Engineers, or anything cyber security related, even a small screw up can mean big problems for a company and its data. With cyber security horror stories floating around, it’s bound to be high pressure.
Fortunately, with big risk comes big rewards in terms of IT professional salary. Even for entry-level Help Desk positions, the salary midpoint is around $38,000 and can go as high as $54,000, according to the Robert Half 2018 Technology & IT Salary Guide. Again, that’s just entry-level. Systems Administrators are in huge demand with starting salaries at $67,000 that can go as high as $113,000 while Network Engineers make anywhere from $90,000 to $150,000.
The real money is in cyber security which has an unprecedented need for new professionals. More and more, companies are prioritizing people who are willing to learn quickly. Many positions garner over $100,000 with the salary for a seasoned, specialized professional such as Data Security Analyst between $100,000 and $170,000.
As you can see, the pay scale for IT professionals is a huge draw. Employers use a number of other incentives and benefits to snag the top talent like signing bonuses, health insurance, generous vacation time, and professional development opportunities. Perks are also a big draw and can include flexible work schedules, social events, telecommuting, onsite/offsite gym access, a compressed schedule, and even free/subsidized meals.
Long Hours vs. Flexible Hours
Unfortunately, tech problems don’t work on a 9 am – 5 pm schedule. They can strike at 6 am or five minutes before you were planning to leave. This is definitely a job that asks much of its employees and that’s no different when it comes to their time.
Fortunately, companies understand that and deeply appreciate and value the time of their IT pros. They want you to be rested, de-stressed, and ready to deal with whatever the servers throw at you.
This sometimes means you can pick your own schedule, work on a compressed schedule, or even telecommute (work from home). This is great for anyone who hates getting stuck in traffic at the end of the 9-5 slog.
No One Understands Your Job vs. Unparalleled Job Security
IT comes with an almost endless number of specializations. Do you want to work on securing networks? Fighting cyber attacks? Or maybe you’re just interested in updating and maintaining systems? No matter what, there’s a field for you.
Unfortunately, that means that people at your company won’t always understand what your duties include. You could be a Systems Administrator, but still get asked to fix someone’s home computer. You’ll be the go-to tech expert, even about stuff that’s definitely not in your job description. What’s next? Fix their iPhone? Debug their Fitbit? Talk about scope creep.
On the flip side, being an IT pro comes with unparalleled job security. Of Business Insider’s list of 26 careers with the best job security, two were IT positions. This is especially true for cyber security. According to the nonprofit group ISACA, there will be a shortage of two million cyber security professionals by 2019.
Meanwhile, the nonprofit group Cyberseek reports that 40,000 jobs for information security analysts go unfilled every year while employers are struggling to fill 200,000 other cyber-security related roles. You will be valued. You will be needed. Most importantly, you will be hard to replace and that’s a good feeling.
People Lie and Lie vs. Challenging and Exciting Work
How did your computer get a virus? Why do all these pop-up ads have the name of a website you shouldn’t be browsing at work? Why is there peanut butter and mustard smeared all over the keyboard? (And why are you eating peanut butter and mustard? That’s just weird.)
Personal snafus with the computer are embarrassing. No one wants to own up to that dumb thing they did. However, figuring out what’s wrong can be frustrating when people aren’t honest about how the computer got messed up.
What’s worse than your coworkers lying to you? Vendors lying to you. In this article from Tech Republic, they discuss the difficulty of debugging software from a third party when their support won’t admit that something’s wrong. (Our software? Buggy? Never!)
You can also expect to be lied to by vendors’ technical support departments. I have lost count of the number of support technicians over the years who have told me that a problem is not related to their software, but rather to the computer’s hardware or to the operating system. And of course I won’t even begin to talk about the number of vendors who have lied to me in an effort to make a sale.
On the bright side, what makes this job difficult also makes it challenging and even fun. IT is all about solving problems and that’s reflected in job satisfaction. A whopping 61% of IT professionals in one poll said they feel appreciated by their bosses and coworkers. And, if you ever don’t feel appreciated, you know you can find somewhere that does appreciate you.
Overwhelming Amount of Choices vs. Mobility and Options
Whether you’re interested in working on hardware, software, networks, databases, cloud security, or more, there’s a niche for you. Picking your career path can be nerve-wracking, to say the least. You can get bogged down in a specialization before you realize that it’s not where you want to be. No one wants to be extra-qualified in something they hate.
Fortunately, that also means qualified professionals have many options and career mobility. Since there’s such a tremendous need, especially for cyber security, more employers are embracing nontraditional paths for employment. IT certifications, which qualify and verify your skills, are one of the best ways to show employers you’ve got the right stuff.
With the ever-widening cyber gap, employers are more likely to invest in someone who shows they’re willing to keep on top of the updates on their own time, even if they don’t have picture perfect experience on their resume. Quick learning and the passion for improvement are invaluable commodities.
And this specialization pays off. Again, the Robert Half Salary guide found that employers may increase salaries between five to ten percent for professionals with sought-after skills and certifications. If you’re interested in getting started quickly, especially with cyber security, IT is a no-brainer.
Ultimately, it’s a matter of personal preference. Some people can’t handle the long hours, difficult work, and stress of interacting with people at their most frantic. However, if you’re interested in challenging and exciting work where you get to solve problems, you could have a long, well-paying IT career ahead of you with salary and benefits.
If you’re interested in becoming an IT pro, but don’t have the time or money for a four-year degree, IT certifications can be a great way to get into the field. At LeaderQuest, we offer 5-15 day courses that get you ready to pass the exam, get certified, and put those skills to use in the working world in no time. We focus on the It professional certifications that employers want the most, like Security+, CCNA and Certified Ethical Hacker.
We know that you have responsibilities. That’s why we offer classes during the day and at night. Whether you prefer to take classes on campus or online, you’ll be getting access to our expert instructors who will prepare you to kick butt on the exam and teach you to excel in your new IT professional career.
Ready to start your IT career? If you’d like to learn more about careers in IT, check out our 2019 IT Career Finder! Choosing an IT career can be a daunting task. You must balance personal experience and aptitude against the likely future of the role, both in terms of earnings and the number of IT job positions that will be available in coming years. We created this guide to help connect the dots between your skills and IT job descriptions and duties to help you find your path to becoming an IT professional!
Unless you were raised in a remote village beyond the reach of modern society you have most likely heard the term Information Technology or “IT” for short, be used to describe a wide variety of industries, jobs and technology, but have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “What exactly is IT?” or “Where did it come from?” IT is quite possibly the most integral part of our modern civilization, acting as not only the glue that holds it together but also the catalyst that propels it forward.
With its incomprehensible ability to connect the world, destroy the world, and help humanity explore the possibilities of the universe, it is time that we take the time to help people understand Information Technology.
In helping individuals understand IT, we hope to bring a heightened awareness to the vulnerabilities and tremendous opportunities that lie ahead for this invisible yet powerful force that drives our everyday lives. To understand IT’s current and future state we must start at its origins and how it has transformed throughout the years.
The Origins of Information Technology
Information Technology: the study or use of systems (especially computers and telecommunications) for storing, retrieving, and sending information.
By this definition you could say that Information Technology has been around some 65,000 years, the age estimation of the earliest known cave paintings where humans were most likely recording what they saw in everyday life.
Information Technology is no stranger to evolution, it evolves hand in hand with humans and our unquenchable thirst to advance.
From ancient cave drawings to alphabets and words, the complexity of what we could create has only been limited by how long it takes us to come up with improvements in Information Technology.
In 1945, the development of a stored program concept allowed for programs to be read into a computer. It’s significance may have not been completely realized at the time but the possibilities of Information Technology had grown exponentially because of it. This development laid the foundation for the unprecedented achievements that took place in IT for the next 50 years.
Notable achievements that led to modern IT.
1975– MITS, The first personal computer was released.1973– Bob Metcalfe, the invention of the ethernet.
(using medium such as coax as an either to send and receive data)
In 1993, after developing the World Wide Web, CERN put the software in the public domain making it free of charge for anyone to use. Once again Information Technology was reborn, but this time it was different. It was now a truly collective technology for individuals and enterprises to improve upon and utilize for their own endeavors. This opened up the flood gates for Information Technology and ushered in what is know as the Information Age.
Modern Information Technology
The driving force behind the continual advancement of Information Technology can be explained in one sentence.
“Humans want to store, recover, and share as much information as possible as quickly as possible in order to learn as much as possible.”
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.
This means that every computer device and all vital technology related to these computers’ functions and operations, including the jobs involved, fall under “Information Technology.” This term can be broken into 6 sectors: IT support, Networking, Cyber Security, Computer Systems, Programming, and the World Wide Web. Yeah, that’s a lot of different things!
World wide, in 2019 there are an estimated 26 billion devices connected to the internet. In 2025, That number is expected to explode to over 75 billion!
To put that in perspective, that’s about 3.4 devices for every man, woman, and child on the planet.
Those astronomical numbers almost seem too high to be true, but when you think about it, in the United States the average person most likely has a computer, cell phone, router, and possibly a smartwatch or Google Home. That’s 5 right there, and soon almost every bit of tech available will be internet connected. Even vehicles!
IT Devices & Networks Create More IT Jobs
With all of of this tech, lots of humans are needed to create, install, maintain, and protect it all.
According to CompTIA’s 2018 Cyberstates Report, in the United States from 2010 to 2017 over 1.5 million tech jobs were added. This trend is showing no signs of slowing down, with shortages of workers in all 6 sectors of Information Technology.
The 6 categories of jobs for Information Technology can be defined as:
IT Support Technicians provide assistance for individuals having technical problems with hardware and software.
Networking Technicians set up, administer, maintain and upgrade networks, allowing devices to interact with networks.
Cyber Security Experts protect systems, networks, and programs from digital attacks.
Computer Systems Analysts are the multitaskers of information technology; they have to understand computer hardware, software, and networks—and make them work together.
Programmers write and test the code that makes up software programs.
Web Developers build websites and the infrastructure behind them.
The Huge IT Worker Shortage
Cyber security has been hit particularly hard by this shortage. By 2021, there will be an estimated 3.5 million open cyber security positions world wide. With average cyber security salaries of $116,000, or approximately $55.77 per hour, why is the industry having trouble filling such desirable positions?
For example, compared to a traditional 4 year degree, in less than 3 months, day or night, individuals can get trained, certified, and employed into the IT industry by attending our Computer User Support Specialist program for individuals with little to no IT experience.
Careers in Cyber security and the other IT sectors typically start off in a technical support role, which the Computer User Support Specialist program here at LeaderQuest is specifically designed for. As seen in this chart from Competitive Position’s salary report, the earning opportunity for IT professionals only grows over time time.
The great part about entering the IT industry with the Computer User Support Specialist is that students gain exposure to multiple areas within IT, so when they start to advance their career they know what area suites them and their future best.
There’s also a massive shortage of upper level talent in IT. A great way to move forward in an IT career is to pick a certain area to specialize in. Specialized positions command a higher salary and are in very high demand right now. For those looking to specialize in cyber security, our Information Security Analyst program is a great next step, and for those looking to get into networking, our Network Administrator program can take your from a intermediate to advanced network professional in just a few weeks. For every step of your career we have a program that can help you take advantage of this booming industry in order to create a brighter future for you and your family.
Is the Term “IT” Still Relevant?
Some argue that the term “Information Technology” is a misrepresentation of modern IT and all it encompasses, but this term has engraved itself so deeply into the modern psyche, it shows no sign of leaving us anytime soon. Like the ancient cave carvings created by our ancestors, the mediums and uses of Information Technology will continue to evolve with humans.
The bottom line is Information Technology will be around as long as there are humans around. For us to ignore the opportunities presented by Information Technology and to neglect the problems threatening its advancement will only hurt us in the long run. That is why understanding IT and it’s many facets is necessary for anyone interested in moving forward in our current society.
LeaderQuest is on a mission to help people improve their lives through IT training. Lives are not only improved through starting a stable career but through the outstanding salaries offered by these IT positions. By doing our part in helping fill the jobs gap, we are participating in advancement of Information Technology which will continue to help mankind come together and solve the world’s problems.
Are you interested in starting a career in the IT industry? Check out our 2019 IT Career Finder guide where you can learn about different IT positions, what those people do, the skills needed to get the job, and what they pay.