Why They Chose LeaderQuest: the IT Certification Stories of our Students

Why They Chose LeaderQuest: the IT Certification Stories of our Students

The students we have the pleasure to serve at LeaderQuest come from all walks of life. Some are industry experts with a decade of experience while some are brand new, entering the world of IT for the first time.

We welcome people straight out of the military and straight out of high schools alongside those who haven’t been back to school in years. Though they all have different journeys, we are proud of all of them.

Now, we’d like to highlight three student success stories from those who came to LeaderQuest, conquered their classes, and got hired. This is the story of three journeys of students who enrolled at LeaderQuest.

Ken Argenbright – from U.S. Air Force to NOC Technician

Transitioning Out of the Air Force

During his 9 years in the Air Force, Ken Argenbright served as an F22 Avionics Specialist. As he prepared to transition back into the civilian world he was nervous but excited. He wasn’t sure if he needed more schooling and realized, for the first time in years, he had to create his own sense of purpose.

“It’s tough because you’re used to the military you have a mission you’re after and a team you’re already working with so you have a good idea of where your life is going and what’s the next step. When you get out, all of that’s kind of out the window. Now it’s up to you to make your own mission or find something worth putting your time into. It’s a little discouraging at first to try and make those own calls yourself and figure out what’s important.”

-Ken Argenbright

After initially considering a master’s degree in cyber security, Ken changed his mind when he heard from LeaderQuest.

Taking Classes & Getting Certified!

it careers

After getting the opportunity to tour the facility and do a little more research, it was clear that it was a professional environment with lots to offer.

“Very quick responses, very professional atmosphere, very service oriented,” he said, “They’re here to help and they do a job at it.”

Since Ken had a military background and active security clearance, the staff at LeaderQuest helped Ken get on a path that would get him into cyber security, while providing the foundation of IT knowledge he needed to start his career.

Ken found the instructors to be extremely knowledgeable and the coursework thorough and comprehensive. That included a wealth of supplemental materials and lab simulations that allowed the user to practice cyber security techniques virtually. It was an environment he liked.

“[It’s] not like super strict school atmosphere it was relaxed,” he said, “I could make dad jokes and they were okay with it . . . even the instructor did some of his own jokes, so that helps.”

Before long, it was time to take the exam. Ken passed his ITIL test with flying colors while still working on his classes for A+, Network+, and Security+. However, there was a surprise in store before he’d even finished his classes.

Hired as a Tier 1 NOC Personnel

Even as Ken made his way through classes, he was taking advantage of LeaderQuest’s career services and Employment Relations Manager to learn how to tailor his resume for prospective jobs. He fired off resumes to see what he could get.

In February, Ken accepted an employment offer as a Tier 1 NOC Personnel for the Colorado Springs company ManTech. Now, he works with the TSA to make sure that all transportation systems are secure.

“I’ll be working with computer systems and networks and making sure that there are no potential terrorists boarding our airplanes,” he said.

As Ken finishes his certifications while starting his new position, would he recommend LeaderQuest to others? You bet.

“If you’re going to be going into cyber security or any IT position, go for LeaderQuest,” Ken said, “because they can hook you up with anything you need.”

Learn More!

Tylyr Brown – Making Ends Meet & Thriving

Working at a Dry Cleaner to Make Ends Meet

it certificationsTransitions can be rough and that was definitely the case for Tylyr Brown, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

After serving as a 3531 Motor D Operator, and completing an apprenticeship to be a diesel mechanic in the military, he returned home and faced a layoff right before the holidays. During that time, he took a job at a dry cleaner to make ends meet and found himself struggling and missing his military service.

“I missed my job and I missed the team environment we had there,” Tylyr said, “you don’t see that very much in the civilian world anymore. Your team was like your family.”

With a four-year-old son and wife who needed him, as well as some community college under his belt, Tylyr needed a change for a successful career. That’s where LeaderQuest came in.

“I was trying to get out of that as fast as I could,” Tylyr said, “As soon as I heard from LeaderQuest here I jumped at the opportunity.”

Getting in Touch with LeaderQuest

After getting into classes, it didn’t take Tylyr long to rekindle his love of IT. Taking classes full-time, he found himself awash in study materials and ready to get his career on track.

“I love IT. I love computers. I love breaking them up, taking them apart, putting them back together. Going back through everything and refreshing my memory on some things and relearning wireless access points and different ports and all the things I didn’t know clearly, so I know and they’re stuck in my head, definitely prepared me for the future.”

-Tylyr Brown

Tylyr set out on a path that included a few cyber security classes and went after certifications including CompTIA A+, ITIL, Network+, Security+, the EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and the EC-Council Certified Network Defender (CND). He was surprised by the depth of coverage each topic got, despite the short runtime.

“[The instructor] explained things that, I went to college for two years, and even I didn’t know,” Tylyr said.

More than that, he found in LeaderQuest the support system he’d been searching for since he left the military: an extremely welcoming and warm environment.

“It was like being part of a family,” he said, “they’re very comforting and very caring people here.”

Employed and Looking Forward

With two classes still to finish, Tylyr decided it was time to send out resumes. When he did, he was pleased to find that he got a job offer as a Tier I Tech. Ultimately, he said taking LeaderQuest classes is what allowed him to do it.

“I didn’t feel confident enough when applying for jobs to apply for IT jobs until LeaderQuest. Being able to do put LeaderQuest on my resume and that I’ve gotten these courses completed and that I was doing more schooling gave me the confidence to go out there and search for an IT job somewhere.”

With two classes to finish at night, Tylyr is ready to take on the future in what is sure to be a long and exciting IT career.

“I owe LeaderQuest my career,” he said.

Learn more about the cyber security program Tylyr took.

Learn More!

Mitch Ross – Recalibrating to Cyber Security

Meeting LeaderQuest through WIOA

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Mitch Ross’ story begins in one of the worst ways any employment story can: a layoff with a total of eleven months out of work. Mitch needed a change.

He reached out to a Colorado workforce center and worked through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program which helps out of work individuals retool. He knew he wanted to work in either cyber security or cloud computing and, as part of WIOA, Mitch was required to evaluate at least three different training programs. He chose LeaderQuest because of the content, ability to provide virtual training, and the sense of understanding he formed with the counselor.

“I felt comfortable and felt confident I could move forward and be successful here,” he said. “The counselor really tried to fit my needs, asked my direction, looked at my history, what I wanted to do going forward, and suggested the cyber security program that I went through.”

Cyber Security Classes and More

certificationsAfter he made the decision to take most of his classes virtually, the LeaderQuest staff helped Mitch get set up on the live platform and then he was ready to learn.

Mitch took three classes, CompTIA Security+, EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker, and the EC-Council Certified Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI). Each class had a different instructor and each was taken online though through a live format.

Most helpful of all was the library full of materials Mitch had access to thanks to the instructor. In addition to using this wealth of material to take the exam, he also found it useful in his day to day life working in cyber security.

“I learned a lot about things I had previously just touched,” he said.

A New Position with Coalfire Systems

Every timeMitch passed a new certification, he would put it up on his LinkedIn Profile. One day, that really paid off. The cyber security firm Coalfire Systems, seeing his certifications, actually reached out to Mitch and sought him out.

“As I was working through my third certification we were talking about and negotiating a job,” he said.

Before long, he was officially offered a job and joined the Coalfire team in February of 2017 as a Senior Security Consultant. Mitch finished his certifications and today serves as an incredibly skilled cyber security expert specializing in cyber engineering and architecture for the companies Coalfire Systems serves.

“LeaderQuest has had a very positive impact on my career and helped me get on a brand new path that has really made me more excited, or restored my excitement, in IT,” Mitch said, “If you’re looking to retool, or if you’re just looking to further your career in a specific direction with a new certification, this is an extremely good path and LeaderQuest will help you greatly do that. Training will help you get there faster.”

-Mitch Ross

Learn More Here!

Want to Start a Career in IT?

LeaderQuest can help! Whether you’re interested in entry-level IT, networking, project management,it certifications it careers cyber security, or more, we can help you get trained, get certified, and get hired.

Our classes are all lead by industry experts with years of experience and offered at night or during the day in an on-campus or online format. In addition to getting you trained, we also offer career services and can put you in touch with local employers.

If you’re thinking about a career in IT, don’t wait. Invest in your future today!

Get Trained Today!

Earn College Credit with LeaderQuest’s IT Certification Programs

Earn College Credit with LeaderQuest’s IT Certification Programs

LeaderQuest is proud to announce that our courses are now eligible for credit in traditional higher education.

This past month, the American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT®) officially finished its evaluation and recommended 14 LeaderQuest courses for college credit. That means a class at LeaderQuest could count towards a traditional degree.

After helping over 1,200 students get certified in our IT schools last year, our staff is excited about what this will mean for students.

“We strive to help qualified IT professionals enter the workforce. This new development will empower our students on their path to employment and success.”

George Cohlmia, LeaderQuest CEO

What does this mean for you and what exactly is ACE CREDIT anyway? Keep reading to find out.

What Does This Mean for You?

Earn College Credit with IT Training SchoolWhen 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.

get info on starting my it career!

Which Courses Are Eligible?

Now that it’s been officially reviewed, LeaderQuest will offer a total of 14 courses recommended for college credit by ACE CREDIT. See the full list below.

Entry Level (Infrastructure & Tech Support)

Intermediate (Networking & Cyber Security)

Advanced (Cyber Security & Project Management)

To learn more about these courses, visit ACE’s page here or contact LeaderQuest at the link below.

Get More Info Here!

What’s the Next Step?

IT certifications earn college credit online free

If you’re interested in getting trained, certified, hired, and even potentially earning some college credit, why wait? We offer classes online, on campus, during the day, and at night through our four campuses in Denver, Jacksonville, Dallas, and Colorado Springs.

If you’re interested in learning more, reach out to our staff today. We’ll hook you up with the best certifications for your career goals. Don’t wait! Invest in your future and reach out to us today!

Learn More About Our IT Training

About the American Council on Education

IT Training College Credit earn college credit online freeThe American Council on Education (ACE), serves as the major coordinating body for the nation’s higher education institutions. Simply put, ACE CREDIT helps adults gain academic credit for courses and examinations taken outside traditional degree programs.

With a 30-year history, ACE CREDIT recommendations are considered by more than 2,000 colleges and universities in determining the applicability of coursework and exams to degree programs.

Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents and more than 200 related associations nationwide. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy.

For more information, please visit www.acenet.edu or follow ACE on Twitter @ACEducation.

Are You Sabotaging Your Cyber Security Career Without Knowing It?

Are You Sabotaging Your Cyber Security Career Without Knowing It?

With the demand for cyber security professionals growing 3.5 times faster than all other IT-based jobs, 12 times faster than the job market as a whole, and anywhere between 20,000 to 40,000 open positions at any given moment, it hardly seems possible that you could screw yourself over by getting into this career path.

And, in fact, if you’re good at what you do in cyber security, you’ll probably never have to worry about unemployment.

Or salary. Companies pay good money for decent cyber security.

For example, an average salary is around $116,000, which is nearly three times the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But this is a career path where what you don’t know CAN hurt you.

Knowing network and system administration seems like a pretty obvious first step and could probably land you a decent entry-level job or internship.

But to keep moving forward, and to not stagnate and regress, you’ll need to stay on top of your game so your cyber security career doesn’t get sabotaged by your laziness.

Don’t Sabotage Your IT Career: Study Up

A decade ago, the word “cyber” was sci-fi and futuristic.

Today, our day-to-day lives are impossible without it, and things that were cutting edge and relevant a few years ago are getting outdated incredibly fast.

To do a good job in your cyber security career and to keep it moving forward, you need to know business principles, the ins and outs of the industry you serve, user expectations, and the latest defense options.

Business & Management Basics

At the end of the day, no matter what field you’re in or how smart you are in stopping attacks, what you do for the bottom line of the company you work for is what’s going to matter the most in your salary increases and promotions.

Knowing how to quantify what you’re contributing to the bottom line (either money gained or money not lost) will give you some real bargaining power when you sit down to have discussions on your annual performance reviews with your boss.

The Field You Serve

Just like knowing business principles to understand and quantify what you’re contributing to the company’s bottom line, knowing the ins and outs of the industry you serve and how it’s evolving will give you the insights you need to come up with truly intelligent and innovative ways to keep your company’s information secure.

For example, if you work for a financial company that handles retirement investments, you may not fully realize how knowing the federal laws regarding different types of retirement investment accounts would have to do with penetration testing, but knowing the bigger picture is always a plus.

Malware & Virus Scans

According to ConnectWise, there’s more than 100,000 new malware samples every day, which comes out to about one per second.

Attacks are serious, and the attackers after guarded information are even more so.

Staying up-to-date on the latest techniques hackers are using with malware, Trojans, phishing scams, PoS attacks, spam, viruses and so on can help you ward off attacks beyond the ones your company’s anti-virus software can prevent on its own.

Detecting Inside Jobs Before They Happen

External threats are serious, but the real danger of an information breach actually comes from within your company’s walls.

In fact, 78% of your peers working in IT security have reported working in a company where there were either negligent or malicious employees who either put the company’s information at risk by not following procedures or who actively tried to mine it and use it for themselves.

Knowing how to track down and detect inside jobs after they’ve already happened is one thing, but knowing how to alert yourself to suspicious behavior is another.

User Experience Expectations

Whether you like it or not, user experience is constantly being set by others, even if they’ve got absolutely nothing to do with the industry you work in.

For example, the average consumer’s expectations for information security are set by all the apps they use.

If they use a truly cutting-edge app for banking or payments, and you work in a software company for social networking, the user still expects to feel just as secure sharing their information on your app as they do on their bank’s app.

It may not be fair, but it’s not going to change.

So don’t waste your time getting along with work and technology that are ‘good enough’… because it’s going to come back to bite your career in the bum sooner than later.

IT Demand + Education = The Perfect Opportunity for Cyber Security Professionals

“Experts in cybersecurity are among the most sought-after professionals in the tech sector,” said Linda Musthaler on NetworkWorld.com, “with demand for workers in that field outpacing other IT jobs by a wide margin.”

The different ways of potentially sabotaging your cyber security IT career aren’t meant to scare you away from the profession because of all the constant learning you’ll have to do… quite the opposite.

We want you to succeed in the field, and really, so does the rest of the world—they’re dying to hire and pay high salaries to cybersecurity professionals who know their stuff.

We offer a Cyber Security Specialist Training and Certification program that runs for 5 days, for half a day each. At the end of it, you’ll be prepared to hit the job market with a cool CCNA certificate from Cisco to get your cyber security career moving on the up and up in the right direction. Are you ready to start moving forward?