fbpx
College Didn’t Work Out for These Roommates. LeaderQuest Did.

College Didn’t Work Out for These Roommates. LeaderQuest Did.

By Mark Emery

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.

Right?

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.”

Hitting the Books

While Shipman was able to secure funding for his IT training based on his military experience, Lim had to take out a manageable loan. Compared to the costs of college, he was happy to do it.

“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.”

Source: EducationData.org

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.

12 CompTIA Exam Tricks and Secrets to Help You Pass Your Test

12 CompTIA Exam Tricks and Secrets to Help You Pass Your Test

aking tests is no fun. There’s a reason it’s a common nightmare for anyone that’s ever been in school, even briefly. This goes double for CompTIA exams which are a big investment in terms of time and preparation.

But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s impossible. People pass and get their CompTIA certifications every day. While nothing will ever replace diligent studying, these 12 tricks and secrets to help you pass your test are sure to help you show up for test day confident and ready.

1. Avoid “Brain Dumps”

test CompTIA exams pass your test

Sometimes it’s not about how much you study, but where you’re getting your materials. Using official CompTIA textbooks or materials from well-established industry pros is a great way to ensure you’re getting quality materials.

 As for what to avoid, two words: brain dumps. A brain dump is when someone posts test questions after taking an exam. They often include the answers. While this might seem like the best place to get knowledge, be careful. There’s no quality control, you have no idea if you’re actually getting the right answer, and, while it might help you pass the test, it won’t do you any favors when you’re actually trying to use the knowledge in the real world.

 Worst of all, brain dumps can actually get the person posting them in legal trouble since CompTIA exam takers have to sign a non-disclosure agreement. This Reddit thread gives a great summary of why they should be avoided.

 Looking for study materials, exam questions, practice tests, and more! Get them here: CompTIA A+ questions, Network+ questions, & Security+ questions.

2. Memorize the Test Objectives

 While this might seem like a no-brainer, knowing the test objectives does more than just prepare you for the layout of the exam. It’s a roadmap that lets you know how fast or slowly you’re moving through the material.

 Time is of the essence in these tests and knowing where you are and how much you have left is vital. Not to mention the fact that studying the objectives means you’re more prepared to take and pass your test in general. Which is a very good thing.

3. Know What Type of Learner You Are

CompTIA exams pass your exam

Everyone studies differently. Maybe you need to write things down or use flashcards. Maybe you need silence. Maybe reading voraciously helps you retain knowledge or maybe you need to explain the concepts to someone out loud. It’s more of an art form than an exact science.

Figuring out what works best for you is the best exam trick when you have to do a ton of studying. This article gives you an idea of some of the best ways to study while this quiz can tell you if you’re an auditory, visual, or kinetic learner. It can make all the difference when you’re on your tenth hour of studying.

4. Build a Computer or Set up a Network

This is especially important for the CompTIA A+ exam and the Network+ exam. The CompTIA A+ 901 exam covers hardware while 902 covers software. While it might sound daunting, building an actual computer is a great way to prepare. It will be essential in understanding not just the theory, but the actual practice. The same goes for the Network+ exam. There’s no better way to understand networks than to actually set one up yourself.

It comes down to this: It’s easier to remember which port is which if you just finished interacting with them in real life. If this just isn’t possible, finding a virtual lab is the next best thing. Our CompTIA A+ course includes hands-on experience with building computers, a great component of any I.T. education. As for our online classes, we provide a virtual environment for students to get the experience they need.

5. Practice, Practice, Practice

 

 

 

 

 

CompTIA provides practice questions for almost every exam including A+, Network+, Security+, and more. (Scroll down to see the form where you can request a CompTIA practice test, objectives, and more.) In addition to giving you an idea of how ready you are overall, you can hyper focus on the areas you’re having problems with.

When you’re reviewing your answers, figure out what you keep getting wrong and then redouble your study efforts in those areas. 

6. Skip Strange Exam Questions

 Again, these tests are about managing time and are graded on a pass-fail basis. So, if a question seems too hard, skip it! On a test like Security+, there are actually beta questions, seemingly random questions which are being tried out for a future version of the test. They are not graded, which is good, though it’s hard to tell what is and isn’t a beta question so don’t skip TOO many questions without answering.

 

While beta questions aren’t a feature of all CompTIA exams, skipping a confusing question will give you more time to answer the questions you do understand. By the time you return to the question, you may see it in a whole new light or have the confidence to answer.

7. Be Prepared for CompTIA’s Performance-Based Questions

 Performance-based questions (aka PBQs) ask the taker to perform a task or solve a problem in a simulation. More complex than your standard multiple-choice, these questions take time and can be intimidating if you’re not prepared. However, they don’t have to bring your test to a screeching halt.

First, it’s important to know that most PBQs will come toward the beginning of the test and, while they are a little more complex, they aren’t impossible. The best defense is a good offense, and preparing for these questions with online labs will make it much easier. However, if you reach the question and don’t feel confident, it’s okay to skip it for the moment and come back to it.

8. BEST, MOST, LEAST

 One of the simplest exam tricks is if a question contains capitalized words like “BEST,” “MOST,” or “LEAST,” pay attention! This gives you a hint as to what the question is really asking. There could be a number of answers that seem to fit, but only one that corresponds with the capitalized word and will help you pass your test.

9. Join an Online Community for CompTIA Exam TricksReddit CompTIA Exams

 Finding a CompTIA study group online is a great way to work out your brain. They are a lot of great resources, study suggestions, and more in the CompTIA subreddit, /r/CompTIA which is full of people who have either passed their certifications or who are deep in the process. If you need extra help with a tricky section, ask! They’re always happy to share the secrets to their success and give all the information about the tests you could want. (Without breaking the non-disclosure agreement, of course.)

10. Create a Study Plan to Pass that Test

 

CompTIA exam pass your testIf you were planning on running a 10K, you wouldn’t start training a week before. Studying for a CompTIA exam is no different. Plan out the time between now and when you’re going to take your test.

 

Be sure to allow more time for difficult subjects or areas you might need some extra help on. Set aside an amount of time each day to dedicate to different objectives. Then, study, study, study.

 

11. Know the Multiple-Choice Tricks

While multiple-choice questions can cause you to tear your hair out (all of the above? WHY WHY!?) there are a few ways to even the odds. Always eliminate answers that are obviously wrong. Think of, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” The odds are always better when you cut it down to 50/50.

Second, recall information related to the question. This can be a surprisingly effective method for remembering the right answer. If two of the answers are related, that probably means that one of them is correct. If all of the answers seem wrong, you might want to re-read the question to figure out what they’re really asking.

And lastly, skipping a question and coming back to it can be helpful. A question later in the test might key you into an answer the question earlier. For more tricks, check out this article on multiple-choice questions. You’ll be glad you did and made this portion of the test a little less daunting when you finally schedule your exam.

12. Treat Yourself Well the Day of Your CompTIA Exam

Last, but certainly not least, you’ll want to show up well-rested, fed, hydrated, caffeinated, and de-stressed (at least, as stress-free as possible). While last-minute cramming can be important, you need to leave yourself enough time to get a full eight hours of sleep. Be sure to eat some protein in the morning (oatmeal is always good brain food).

Making sure you know the testing location is especially important (which is why LeaderQuest offers a Pearson VUE testing center for you to take the exam on-site). If you do have to travel to a new location, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time in case you get lost. Finally, build up your confidence to prepare for the test. Give yourself a pep talk. You’ve done the hard work. You’ve got this.

If All Else Fails, Study with a Professional

It can be easy to get discouraged, especially if you’ve tried and failed once or even twice. With the CompTIA A+ exam cost at $211 for 901 and 902 each, it’s clear that this is an investment you want to make wisely.

While self-study is important, it’s okay to need a little extra help. That’s why LeaderQuest offers tech industry training with expert instructors to help you pass your CompTIA courses, get your certification, and prepare you for your career in I.T.

With classes offered during the day, at night, online, or on campus, we’re prepared to work with any schedule and learning style. First, we’ll help you along your certification career path. Then, we’ll provide career services to assist our graduates in getting hired. That includes helping you optimizing your resume and even setting you up with our employer partners.

As the skills gap in I.T. grows more and more every day, the industry is in desperate need of professionals who are ready to tackle the challenges. Taking CompTIA certification classes can be a great way to get started. If you want to pass your test, get certified your career to the next level, contact us today. ↓

Request Info on How We Can Help You Pass Your Exams!

Get Your Hands Dirty: PC Build Lab for CompTIA A+

Get Your Hands Dirty: PC Build Lab for CompTIA A+

When it comes to getting hired in the IT industry, we know how important hands-on experience is. That’s why we include hands-on labs in our curriculum. For our CompTIA A+ Core 1 and Core 2 courses, this hands-on lab is focused around teaching students to build and configure a personal computer.

What is the PC Build Lab?

The PC Build Lab requires students to build a real working PC computer from scratch! LeaderQuest recently made a sizable investment in acquiring components and a lab to support students wanting to gain hands on experience that they can translate to tier I careers in IT. There are plenty of hands on labs that simulate building a PC computer virtually. However, nothing replaces the experience of holding computer parts and tools in your hands as you successfully build a PC from scratch. All learners are different and the PC Build Lab adds a tangible/tactile component to the CompTIA A+ Core 1 course, enriching the student’s experience.

Build the PC, then Configure the Operating System

Students registered for the CompTIA A+ Core 1 and Core 2 courses will be assigned their own PC computer to work on during class.

The A+ Core 1 students are assigned a pre-assembled computer that they first test to ensure it is fully functional.  Once the PC is confirmed as functional, the students take the computer completely apart. All tools and parts needed to participate are included in the cost of the class. Once disassembled, students follow a step-by-step PC build manual, with the guidance of a live instructor and completely rebuild the computer. No build is complete without testing the build. To wrap up Core 1 and to ensure that all steps were followed properly, the students will connect to a monitor and see a BIOS screen.

Students will then move forward with more advanced software application in Core 2. As the students enter the A+ Core 2 class they will load OS and work on problem solving scenarios that they would encounter in the field. Troubleshooting operational issues is an important part of what IT support staff does to keep PCs up and running smoothly, and we want to make sure that students gain real, hands-on problem solving experience in the classroom.

Why is the PC build so important?

Along with live instructors, lectures, virtual labs and robust curriculum, the students get to dive in and get their hands dirty by actually physically building what they are learning. The accomplishment of these labs allow students to confidently walk into potential employers and show the skills they have learned. These skills can be added to their resumes and LinkedIn and help students secure employment in IT more quickly.

Get the Experience You Need to Start an IT Career

If you’re interested in joining the IT industry, we can help you get the training and employer connections you need to enter the industry quickly.

Our Computer user Support Specialist program takes 5 weeks of daytime classes (or 10 weeks of half-time evening classes) to teach you skills in IT support, networking, cyber security an IT service fundamentals.We’ll prepare you to take certification exams including CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+ and ITIL. These certifications are highly in demand from local employers. That’s where our Career Services team comes in.

Each campus has a devoted Career Services team tasked with helping each LeaderQuest graduate find employment in the field. Your Employment Development Manager will work with you one-on-one to create a powerful resume, harness your online presence, and prepare for interviews. When you’re ready to go, we’ll connect you with local employers who are looking to hire our trained and certified grads.

With experience from your new job and four powerful IT certifications under your belt, you’ll be ready to launch into the next step in your IT career. So what are you waiting for?

CONTACT US

 

7 Tips for Getting Into IT With Zero Experience

7 Tips for Getting Into IT With Zero Experience

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

skills charthave 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.

Are a military veteran? Check out our blog  From The Military to Information Technology: The Perfect Fit and see why IT may be the perfect fit for you.

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.

it graduate with certificationsInstead 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.

If you want a “head start,” considering getting a degree or a few certifications. These credentials have the potential to help you out significantly. You can read about the differences between the two in our blog Degrees vs. Certifications: Which is Better for an IT Career?

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.

people networking over it certifications

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!

Request More Information About LeaderQuest Training

The Student Experience at LeaderQuest: Ross Earnheart

The Student Experience at LeaderQuest: Ross Earnheart

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

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

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

Seeking Something Else?

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

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

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

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

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

The IT Training Process

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

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

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

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

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

How can LeaderQuest help with funding?

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

Welcome to LeaderQuest IT Job Training

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bringing More to The Table

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

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

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

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

Why do we do it?

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

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

Ross’s Advice for Anyone Considering IT Training

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

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

Considering a Career Change?

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

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

GET STARTED

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

PMI, PMP, CAPM, and PMBOK are registered marks of Project Management Institute, Inc.

Pursuing a Passion Through IT Training: Michael Cost

Pursuing a Passion Through IT Training: Michael Cost

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

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

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

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

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

The Road To An IT Career

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

 

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

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

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

IT Certification Training

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

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

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

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

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

IT Career Advice

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

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

Do You Want to Start A Career In IT?

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

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

GET STARTED
Realized Potential: Gilbert Avelo Jr.’s Success Story

Realized Potential: Gilbert Avelo Jr.’s Success Story

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

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

Current Process vs. New Process

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

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

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

Problem Solved

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

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

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

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

IT Training At LeaderQuest

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

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

Career Services

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

Following Through

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Employers Want IT Certifications

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

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

Do Your Research

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

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

We Understand You

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

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

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

IT Trained, Certified, and Most Importantly HIRED

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

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

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

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

Advice from Michael

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

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

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

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

GET STARTED