Our nation’s veterans deserve quality jobs. LeaderQuest is committed to helping service members transition into fulfilling careers, which is why we’ve partnered with Corporate America Supports You (CASY) to further this pursuit. CASY offers award-winning employment support services to veterans and has actively helped more than 56,000 military spouses, active-duty military, and veterans connect to high-earning careers.
CASY is part of the VetJobs OCEAN (One Central Employment & Advancement Network) family of websites. VetJobs.org is the No. 1 online resource for military-affiliated job seekers looking to attain a rewarding career and maximize their earnings.
CASY Helps Vets Get Hired
A partner of the U.S. Department of Labor, CASY works with both employers and job seekers to achieve their mission. They provide free employment readiness, vocational training and one-on-one job placement services to veterans. CASY works with over 4,000 companies that share an interest in helping veterans start and grow lifelong careers. The National Labor
Exchange feeds into the CASY job board directly, helping connect veterans with new opportunities faster. All of this combines to help a LOT of veterans get hired!
What’s the Process Like?
First, you’ll need to create a profile. Within 48 hours, a counselor will reach out to you to discuss your background and career goals. They’ll want to know:
What do you want to do?
What career do you want to build?
What’s your skill set?
Do you have a degree or any other secondary education?
Where do you want to live?
Have you signed up for any training?
Each counselor has a list of resources to help them get veterans into the careers they’re seeking. This includes resume training, interview prep training, work from home training, and more.
Your counselor will look at jobs with you and teach you to use the CASY job board effectively. They’ll offer lots of coaching and mentoring, but ultimately you need to determine what it is you want to do. If that requires further education, CASY will connect you with a training provider that can meet your needs and has shown they’re committed to veteran employment. The counselor will keep working with you until they hear a YES about getting a job. Once the spouse or vet gets hired, CASY stays in touch.
If you’re a veteran, veteran’s spouse, or active-duty service member interested in learning more about CASY, get in touch with them here or click the button below.
So, how is LeaderQuest involved? We’re proud to be one of the training providers that CASY refers veterans to. LeaderQuest specializes in helping veterans and other career changers quickly get the training and certifications needed to start a career in Information Technology. We work with both Chapter 31/33 funding and VET TEC to make this training available to veterans and active-duty servicemembers, as well as veteran spouses.
Each of our five campuses across Colorado, Texas, and Florida has a team of Employment Development Managers (EDMs) that work with our graduates to make sure their job hunting and interviewing skills are sharp. Similarly to CASY, our EDMs support each graduate with one-on-one job search assistance. We’re not done until each graduate is employed—we remain a resource to them for the rest of their career. Our graduates go on to build careers in Cyber Security, Networking, and Project Management.
If you’re interested in starting or advancing your career, get in touch with us by filling out the form below.
Think about when you first enlisted in the military, the excitement, the nervousness, the fear of the unknown. While these feelings have surely changed since your first deployment, the end of your military career marks the beginning of a new chapter in your life and the renewal of those same feelings. While this may be intimidating, we want you to know that you have a partner in moving forward. Our goal is to help veterans navigate the maze of opportunities ahead of them by means of education and information in order to help them choose a career that will serve them for years to come.
We discussed the advantages of certifications over degrees in Degrees vs. Certifications and in Your Military Transition we discussed how to navigate your transition and assesses your military benefits, but in this blog we would like to explore why exactly entering the IT industry is such a great fit for military veterans and why you should consider a career in IT.
While you were deployed the amount of open IT positions has increased tremendously. From 2014-2018, more than 450,000 IT job openings have been added to the market. The U.S. workforce is desperately trying to keep up with demand, but there are not enough qualified individuals to fill these positions.
The sector that has the hardest time keeping up with demand also happens to be the sector that favors military veterans, cybersecurity. In 2019, the cybersecurity shortage was already at 4.07 million cybersecurity professionals needed worldwide.
What does this mean for you? Entering the IT industry can lead to great opportunities at an accelerated rate. Veteran Christopher Jaskoski was earning $70k just nine months after his separation from the military; read The IT Training Success Story of Christopher Jaskoski to learn more about Chris. At our last check with him in March of 2019, he was earning over $120k. A lot of veterans don’t know this but time in the military can be a significant advantage when seeking a career in IT.
Your Military Experience = Your Advantage
Skills you develop in the military like teamwork, leadership, and problem solving are just a few of the qualities that you can utilize in the IT industry. Exceptional problem-solving skills alone are a great indicator for an entry-level job in IT were troubleshooting and problem-solving are large parts of the job roles. Entry level roles like Computer User Support Specialist are earning on average 53k a year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
On top of basic skills that can help veterans get a head start in IT careers there are also many MOS’s that have direct correlations to jobs in the civilian workforce.
Networking and communications positions are a great example of this. Have you ever seen Cisco equipment in the field? There is a good chance that this equipment has had a large impact on your military career. Many of their devices are deployed all around the world with the U.S. military and are the exact same devices used on the civilian side of things.
From Cryptologists to Network Defenders and Signal Specialist to Systems Maintainers there are hundreds of positions in the military that can translate directly into civilian IT positions. Want to see if your skills and experience would translate to an IT job? Download our Veteran Skills and Interests Assessment below.
Download the Veteran Skills and Interests Assessment
Having a secret security clearance and being in the field of IT can lead to a 5.8 percent average pay increase over time, and top-secret security clearance can lead to a 12.8 percent pay increase over time according to the Human Resource Association of the National Capital Area. Certified individuals with a security clearance are sought out by defense contractors, and generally have a very easy time getting hired.
Are you interested in working for the Department of Defense (DoD)?
Becoming 8570 compliant with single certifications from LeaderQuest can also boost your earning potential as well as make you eligible for a position in the DoD.
What is DoD 8570 Compliance? DoD 8570 establishes the policies and responsibilities of Department of Defense information assurance, including training, certification and workforce management. It is a baseline requirement for employees to access DoD IT systems.
How do you become 8570 compliant with LeaderQuest Certifications?
By combining your Secret Security Clearance with 8570 compliance you can significantly improve your chances of getting hired into an IT position for a defense contractor.
What is the advantage of working in IT for the DoD or a defense contractor?
You get to continue your to serve your country while leveraging your security clearance to make more money, the average base salary for IT specialists in the DoD is around 80k according to glassdoor.com.
How Important are Time and Money to You?
Entering the workforce through a certification path can save you years and help you build the necessary experience to advance your career and make a decent living.
When looking at college degree programs you will find that a bachelor’s degree will typically take around 4 years to complete. This translates to 120 college credits and around about 40 total classes, not to mention the additional time it takes to get hired after completion. After this time you will still be entering the workforce as an entry-level candidate making entry level pay.
In comparison our entry-level certification program, the Computer User Support Specialist program, you are looking at around 3 months from training to hire and a total of 4 certification courses.
The earning potential of these different paths can be illustrated in the table below.
*Salary factored in is based on Robert Half’s technology salary guide. We used Low-End Conservative 50th percentile salaries for years 1-3. Years 4 & 5 are based on the average of 2,250 Cyber Security Analyst salaries from Glassdoor.com.
Training AND Working = +$16,287
(-$12,775 + $29,062)
1st year Tier 1 Helpdesk annual earnings = $38,750
12 months of work – 3 months of training = 8 months of work ($29,062)
Minus Training Costs ($12,775) = +$16,287
Total: +$38,750 (With G.I. Bill Funding)
As in any field, your pay is dependent on your experience and effort to move forward. To make the step from a Help Desk Associate to a Cybersecurity Expert it typically takes 2-4 years of IT experience and can be supported by next level certifications offered by LeaderQuest like the Certified Ethical Hacker certification or the Certified Security Analyst certification.
Why IT Certifications and Why LeaderQuest?
In general, certifications verify that you have specific skills or knowledge. They are a great way to show employers that you have put in the time to learn your craft. While certifications are great, they won’t always land you a job by themselves. Here at LeaderQuest, we have recognized this and have gone to great lengths to bridge the gap from certification to employment.
The LeaderQuest Difference
A large portion of our staff are military veterans, and it has pushed us to go beyond what one might expect from a training facility and inspired us to create a world-class training center that cultivates success for veterans from training to employment.
The LeaderQuest training process includes multiple forms of extra support to ensure the best academic outcomes.
On Campus Instructor Mentors: Each LeaderQuest campus has an Instructor Mentor specifically dedicated to the success of all students. The Instructor Mentors will organize study groups, create personalized study plans, and tutor individual students who need the most help.
Expert Instructors: All of our instructors are required to have industry experience.
Day or Night Courses: We offer day and night courses to fit your schedule. Full time courses run for 5 weekdays at 8hrs/day. Part time courses run for 10 weeknights at 4hrs/night.
Learning Portal: Carefully curated study tools and practice test are included in each course.
The LeaderQuest Learning Guarantee: You may re-sit any course that you have taken at no cost if it’s within 2 years of your course date. (If the certification version has changed you may have to purchase new materials.)
The LeaderQuest Career Services Department offers one-on-one support for students who have completed their courses to help them take the next big step and actually get hired.
Resume/Cover letter writing to help graduates polish their resume to perfection and help them land an interview.
Interview coaching & mock interview practice to help gain confidence and learn the best way to answer common questions.
LinkedIn profile creation and optimization to make sure each graduate’s online presence is working for them.
Application coaching including how, when, and what kind of jobs to apply to.
Meet and greets with industry professionals in the local area to help graduates make valuable connections.
LinkedIn Tech Professionals groups to network and ask questions to LeaderQuest alumni in your area.
Access to LeaderQuest’s job boards curated by the Career Services Employment Development Managers.
Access to LeaderQuest’s employment partners. LeaderQuest has partnered with DoD contractors and other companies across the country to help fill their entry-level to advanced-level positions in a wide array of IT sectors.
Learn more about LeaderQuest’s Employment Services in the video below.
As you can see, LeaderQuest has perfected the formula for a concise education and Career Services support that produces results. That being said, we are continually evolving and are constantly adjusting to the market to ensure a top-level education for anyone who chooses to walk through the doors of LeaderQuest. We listen to our students and support our veterans in and outside of the company.
Is the IT Industry Right For You?
Whether you are looking to continue your service to the country through the DoD or are simply wanting to make money as quickly as possible, the IT industry may be a good fit for you! Your skills from the military combined with LeaderQuest’s proactive approach to training work together to get you employed as quickly and efficiently as possible.
A large portion of LeaderQuest employees are military veterans, and we empathize with what you are going through and want to aid you in this process. This life-altering decision does not have to be one that you make alone. Here at LeaderQuest, our goal is to partner with you in making this decision and guide you throughout the whole process.
If you are interested in transitioning into the IT industry please fill out the contact form below and a Career Adviser will contact you about your future. Thank you for your service and good luck!
The transition from the military to civilian life is composed of an array of emotions. From the excitement of having control over your life again and being able to dictate what your days consist of, to the fear of the unknown; this can prove to be a true challenge for many veterans. And, although the military does offer several transitional services such as transitional classes and resume writing, it seems that the majority of this burden falls on the veterans themselves.
Everything from securing transportation, to acquiring housing, to finding a job is the responsibility of the veteran. This is a time when each veteran must take responsibility for their livelihood and their future. To understand this fully, and what steps you can take to create a strong foundation for your future, let’s explore the transition process from the military to civilian employment.
Making the Transition
If your MOS doesn’t translate directly into a civilian job, it might seem as if you’re completely starting over. Before we discuss that topic, let’s go through the first steps of the transitional period. This is when you’re still in the military but nearing terminal leave, nearing your release date/separation date, or approaching your return date.
Terminal Leave Start Date – A final leave just prior to separation or discharge from service consisting of any accumulated, unused time off granted to a member of the armed forces. Some transitioning military members use this time to take classes before their official release date.
Release Date or Separation Date – When you officially separate from the military.
Return Date – When you are returning “home” or wherever you are settling after the military.
Work Date – The date that you must begin working before you run out of money.
To help you nail down your timeline, download our Veteran Transition Timeline Worksheet for free by completing the form below!
*Note: When downloading PDF and printing out, make sure to click the printer icon and then “Fit to page” on the print screen.
Download the Veteran Worksheet Now!
During the transitional period, there’s much work to be done to secure a solid future for yourself. So after determining these key dates, it is crucial to begin evaluating your situation.
Below are some serious questions you should consider during the beginning of your transition.
1. Should you take some time off to focus on your mental health?
This aspect of the transition is often overlooked, typically because many veterans feel the pressure to jump into a civilian career immediately. This mistake is as understandable as it is dangerous. Unfortunately, 10%-20% of veterans suffer from PTSD and 20 veterans commit suicide every day. The side effects of PTSD can be mitigated by allocating the proper amount of time to recover physically and mentally during this transition while utilizing the resources available to you.
2. Do you have time for an education, or do you need to work immediately?
Everyone’s transition is different. Some veterans can afford the missed time at work and some veterans need to start working immediately. A good way to evaluate your situation is by creating a budget. Mint is a great free way to put together a budget. By putting together a budget, you will be able to see how much money you have to spend on bills and how much money you have in surplus. This will help you determine how much time you have (if any) to get an education, but this is also contingent on what benefits you have available.
3. What military education benefits do you qualify for?
The educational benefits you qualify for will vary depending on: time served, period served, branch, and discharge status. While you may have already known that, did you know that you can also share your benefits with immediate family members? You can even use part of your benefits and still share the remaining benefits with an immediate family member. To help you learn what benefits you may qualify for and the details each benefit, we put together an informative list below.
What is it? Tuition Assistance is a military benefit that pays the cost of tuition and some fees.
Who is Eligible? Virtually all military service members are eligible. However, the criteria for eligibility is determined by each branch.
Benefit: Tuition Assistance covers up to 100% of tuition and fees not to exceed:
$250/Semester Credit Hour
$166/Quarter Credit Hour
$4500/Fiscal Year (The Navy has a 16 credit hour annual limit.)
Post 9/11 GI Bill®
What is it? The Post 9/11 GI Bill® provides up to 36 months (4 traditional school years) of education benefits to eligible service members and veterans for:
Business Technical or Vocational Courses
Licensing & Testing Programs
Who is Eligible? Service members (Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve) and veterans who have served at least 90 days on active duty since 9/10/2001. Survivors of a military member who died on active duty after 9/10/2011 may be eligible for Fry Scholarship program which pays the same as Post-9/11 GI Bill®.
Benefit: Paid tuition and fees, living (housing) stipend and book stipend.
Benefits are tiered based on the number of days on active duty.
Some limitations apply to those currently on active duty.
Benefits can be transferred to a spouse or family member.
Who is Eligible? Active Duty members who have served at least two years on active duty. Veterans – there are four categories of Veteran eligibility depending on when you enlisted and how long you served on active duty.
Benefit: Up to $1,994 per month for full-time institutional education.
Who is Eligible? Active duty members who have served at least two years on active duty. For veterans, there are four categories of veteran eligibility depending on when you enlisted and how long you served on active duty.
Benefit: Up to $1,994 per month for full-time institutional education.
Loan Repayment (LRP)
What is it? Your service may partially or fully repay college loans.
Who is Eligible? Generally for enlisted members only. Several factors determine your eligibility, including your branch, your MOS, and terms of your contract. Your loans must be in good standing, i.e. not in default.
Benefit: Learn more about repayment programs below.
Who is Eligible? You must be the son, daughter, or spouse of a service member who died, is missing, or was permanently disabled while on duty or as a result of a service-related condition.
Benefit: Up to $1,224 per month for full-time institutional education.
What is it? If you’re a full-time or 3/4-time student in a college degree program or a vocational or professional program, you can “earn while you learn” with a VA work-study allowance through the Work-Study Program.
Who is Eligible? The VA work-study allowance is available to persons training under one of the VA benefits programs:
Benefit: You’ll earn an hourly wage equal to the Federal minimum wage or your State minimum wage, whichever is greater.
Tutorial Assistance Program
What is it? The Tutorial Assistance Program can help you pay for necessary tutoring and is a supplement to your GI Bill® benefit. If you have questions on this program please contact the VA’s toll-free number 888-442-4551.
Who is Eligible? If you are receiving VA benefits at a half-time or more rate, you are eligible
Benefit: VA may provide you with a tutor or with information for finding one.
Choosing a Career & Training Path
Once you have determined if you need to take time off for your health or simply cannot afford to and also what your educational options look like (benefits-wise). You now face the challenge of choosing what career will be best for you and your future
What are you going to do? How are you going to choose? This may seem like a daunting task but luckily we put together a series of questions which can help you determine which career path may be best for you!
1. What kind of experience/skills do you have?
For this question, you should take all of your experience and skills into consideration. Whether they come from hobbies or previous work, you may have experience or skills that will translate into many job roles. For this question, we recommend you write down all the skills and experience you have. Try to identify at least 10-15 things.
2. How do my skills lineup with a career I will enjoy?
Once you have listed out all of your experience, you should pick out your three strongest and the three you enjoy most. Next, pick two things you are passionate about. Now combine your two passions with each skill/experience (strongest & enjoy most) and enter them in the My Next Move search engine. From there you can start to get an idea of what kind of career paths might be suitable for you.
*Note: This is a tool to help you generate ideas. Don’t get down on yourself if you don’t like the options you see, there are many other pathways you can choose!
(Problem Solving, Computer Building)-Enjoyed Most
(Logistics, Communications)- Strongest
(Sports, team building)- Passions
Jobs matched with keywords while also having a positive job demand in the future:
This question depends on multiple factors; timeline, preferred style, benefits, lifestyle, and work position. Contrary to popular belief, your options are not limited to a traditional 4 year degree. You can use your benefits for a wide array of programs; day & night, part & full time, degree & certification, long term & short term. It is vital to know that there are other options available and you can most likely find one that suits your specific situation.
Traditional college degree plan which takes around 4 years full time.
IT certification training that takes around 3 months of night classes after work.
4. How strong is the demand for workers in this field?
When looking into a career this should be one of the main factors you consider. This is because the demand for a particular field can be predicted and will dictate how your career in that field pans out. If the outlook is weak, you will have a tough time not only finding a job but advancing in that field. It the outlook is strong, you will not only have an easier time finding a job in that field but you are more likely to advance and make more money in that field throughout your career.
Information Technology, there is is a predicted 3.5 million job openings in cyber security alone by 2021.
Solar installers demand is set to increase over 105% in the coming years.
Leather and allied product manufacturing is set to decline 37.1% by 2022
5. How much money do you want to make?
This may seem like the most obvious of all the questions, but is it one that you have given real consideration? It comes down to balancing what you enjoy doing and what pays you enough to live the lifestyle that you want. Some people would like to make as much money as possible and work as much as they need to make it happen while others may be looking to lead a more simple life. Understanding what you want from the beginning of your transition can really help how your life turns out in the end.
What kind of guarantees does this institution offer?
What is the success rate or “placement rate” for graduates of this program?
What kind of career assistance does this institution offer beyond the program horizon?
To help you evaluate the institutions that you visit, we developed questions worksheet for you to bring with you to each visit and a decision helper to help you compare your different options. Download the worksheet for free by completing the form below!
*Note: When downloading PDF and printing out, make sure to click the printer icon and then “Fit to page” on the print screen.
Download the Veteran Worksheet Now!
Why is getting into IT worth looking into for any veteran transitioning out of the military?
As an IT practitioner, you’ll have great job security and plenty of room for advancement
IT positions from entry level to advanced are well paying and salaries are only expected to rise.
Most skills can be translated into an IT position (from hands-on positions to technical positions). There are many areas of IT to get into.
Military benefits will most likely cover the cost of the training and most of the time training will only use a fraction of your benefits.
Less time training and more time making money. Compared to traditional education, you will spend significantly less time learning which allows you to spend more time making money and gaining experience.
Good Luck with Your Transition!
We hope that the information provided can help guide you towards a fulfilling and lifelong career whether it be in IT or another field. As a veteran who has made it through their time in the military, we applaud you and thank you for your service. We recommend that that you take each question into account and consider all of your options before making a decision.
Considering that a large portion of our employees is military veterans, we empathize with what you are going through and want to aid ease this process. This life-altering decision does not have to be one that you make alone. Here at LeaderQuest, our goal is to partner with you in making this decision and guide you throughout the whole process.
If you are interested in transitioning into the IT industry please click the button below, fill out a contact form, and a Career Adviser will contact you about your future. Thank you for your service and good luck!
In 2018, we saw many individuals come and go through the doors here at LeaderQuest for IT Training throughout our five campuses in Colorado Springs, Dallas, Denver, Jacksonville, and San Antonio. We are proud of everyone’s success and celebrate the diversity of our hard-working students. We celebrate them not only for passing their exams and overcoming adversity but also for starting careers and contributing to society through the use of their newfound IT skills.
Our students showed the world that no matter your background, race, gender, or income if you are willing to put in the work to change your life then you can make it happen. From homeless veterans to single mothers to those looking to change careers, LeaderQuest has partnered with thousands of individuals throughout the country to help them realize a revitalized American Dream and create futures they can be proud of.
As the IT industry grows, so do the opportunities it presents with a predicted 3.5 million open IT positions by 2021. A couple of reasons preventing people from joining the industry are that they simply don’t know how to do it or they’re afraid to take that next step. There are no words we can write to help people make this life-changing decision, but the words of our graduates can shed light on their experiences at LeaderQuest in order to help others make this important decision.
From Homeless Veteran to a Career in Cyber Security
When the odds are stacked against you it is easy to give up. The key to not giving up is getting a glimpse of a brighter future and the hope that comes with it. One of the individuals who found hope and made their dream into a reality was military veteran Michael Fugett who now is earning over six figures and has become an inspiration to everyone around him.
“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
Unfortunately, Michael’s story didn’t start off so wonderfully. Military veteran Michael Fugett found himself divorced, homeless, and alone upon returning to civilian life in May of 2017. 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 in to 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 as his struggles in moving forward continued to test his resilience.
Michael had some IT responsibilities throughout his 8 years in the military on top of his transportation, logistics, and finance roles. He 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,” he said. He started to do his research and looked into three separate training companies in his area, one of which was LeaderQuest. “They had understood what I had been through in the past, they got me,” Michael told us.
Struggling alone is hard enough but being a single parent can add even more difficulties to any situation, especially if you are trying to move forward. The great Albert Einstein once said, “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” This couldn’t be more true for Jacksonville student Whitney Smith who took advantage of the opportunity to train for the IT industry and turned a difficult situation into her fuel for moving forward. She made a decision that changed her and her son’s lives forever and all it took was a little courage.
Whitney had done everything right to create a bright future for her and her son. In 2013, she was medically discharged from the military and decided to use part of her GI Bill® to get a degree in event management. She was able to land a job in event management at an expo center, but after two years decided that she wanted to move with her son to Jacksonville to be closer to her family. That’s when her life and career started to move in an unexpected direction.
Unable to land a job as an event coordinator in Jacksonville, Whitney ended up taking a job at a call center. “It was definitely not what I wanted to do. I was making less money than people who had way fewer credentials than I had,” she told us. Whitney’s situation is not uncommon, according to the U.S.Bureau of Census, “Just 27 percent of college grads had a job that was closely related to their major.” She had the education and the experience but a lack of jobs in her field left her career crippled, all while having a child to support!
Faced with the looming reality of her situation and few options at the time, she did what she had to do and worked the call center for two long years. Day in and day out, Whitney labored to support herself and her child. Unsatisfied with her life path at the time, she decided to seek other opportunities and that is when LeaderQuest came into view and changed everything.
In between a rock and a hard place is not where anyone wants to find themself, but sometimes that’s exactly where you are and you don’t know how you got there. Gilbert Alvero Jr. had two degrees and yet found himself not utilizing either of them, working a manual labor job.
“I was stuck in a rut, I was stuck in a position where I didn’t know where my life was going.”
Starting over was not an option for him. He needed employment that was not only in demand but also utilized his previous experience. Fortunately that’s exactly our goal here at LeaderQuest: to extract your relevant experience, find an area in IT that will suit you, help you learn the necessary skills for the job, and ultimately help you find employment.
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.
Stability is sometimes an illusion. The job landscape is ever shifting and you are at its mercy. Khozema Raja worked in the commercial real estate industry for 15 years, making good money, almost feeling invincible, until the world gave him a wake up call and he found himself jobless with a child on the way.
Khozema was faced with a difficult situation. “I really needed to step up and take care of my family,” he told us. He could either go get a low-paying non-career job or go to the unemployment office and see what options there might be out there for him. He decided to go with the latter and there he was introduced to the idea of joining the IT industry. The best part was that he qualified for funding that would allow him to get his training paid for wherever he decided to go.
“I’ve always liked being around computers and my father worked at IBM, so I was like, why don’t I actually try to make a career out of it?”
He was advised to go to LeaderQuest’s campus and take a tour with a Career Training Consultant whose job it is to help people understand what a career in IT entails and ultimately if it is the right move for them. “It was a no-brainer to enter the IT industry. I didn’t even hesitate when I decided to go with LeaderQuest. They made me feel like family as soon as I walked in.”
Navigating the job market is a daunting task and one a lot of people avoid until it is absolutely necessary. Getting comfortable is something that we’re all susceptible to. It isn’t until you decide to move forward that things will start to improve. Ross Earnhart had always loved technology but his life had never steered him in its direction until he decided that it was time for a change.
“Years ago 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 for 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.”
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.
If there is anything that 2018 showed us, it’s that if you put your mind to it you can change your life and it all starts with a decision and a conversation, your decision that a change is necessary and a conversation with a Career Training Consultant here at LeaderQuest to see if our training is right for you. No matter your situation we are here to help you with the right advice and the right plan to assist you in moving forward.
We hope that you are inspired by the stories of our alumni and realize that you to can be part of the LeaderQuest family and the rapidly growing IT industry if you just make the decision to give it a try. If you or anyone you know is interested in a career change or are looking to start a new career, please contact us by clicking the button below, filling out the contact form, and having a conversation with a Career Training Consultant about IT Training. Best of luck and we are looking forward to hearing from you!
Lavall Woodhouse separated from the United States military in 2004 after being stationed in Mannheim, Germany and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Like most veterans, Lavall had just come off of deployment and had little idea about what to do with his life after serving our country.
“There wasn’t really a whole lot of support in the idea of transitioning from the military to the civilian world, it was kind of like you’re on your own,” Lavall said.
Watch Lavall tell his story about training at LeaderQuest Dallas in his own words below:
Homeless and Directionless
Unfortunately, many of our veterans are lost upon their return, lacking a compass to lead them to success in the country they have been navigating the world to protect. LeaderQuest is here for that exact reason, to be a compass for individuals and lead them to success through IT training.
Lavall was in desperate need of guidance and had found himself in unfortunate circumstances leading up to his time at LeaderQuest Dallas. “When I first came to LeaderQuest, I was trying to rebuild in a sense. I was homeless, and I didn’t have a job.”
This is all too common, veterans 18-30 are twice as likely as the general population to become homeless.
The Start of a Brighter Future
Lavall was directed towards LeaderQuest Dallas by his vocational rehabilitation counselor who presented him with different training opportunities. He decided to go with LeaderQuest’s short-term certification training program and in 2016 and began his journey towards a fulfilling career in IT.
“My first impression was positive. Everybody that I had met had a great attitude in the idea that they were glad to have me there, and those attitudes were a large part of my choice”.
Once he passed the certification exams, he then faced the next challenge of finding a job. Luckily, LeaderQuest was already one step ahead of him and ready to ease him into this next phase with one-on-one guidance from Erika Ofurum, LeaderQuest Dallas’ Employment Development Manager (EDM). “She sat down with us and started to learn about what we were into, what kind of backgrounds we had, and what kind of certifications we had. That’s when I started to get really confident,” Lavall went said. “She really rekindled that fire for me. That was exciting.”
Getting a Job with Amazon
Lavall’s excitement was intensified as more companies started to reach out to him. His hard work finally culminated in a job offer from Amazon to work for their web services team. About a year later, we asked him if he liked his new job. He told us, “I love it!”
“We all have this idea of wanting to be GREAT. That thought is within all of us, you just have to find it and then realize it.”
Cyber Security Training at LeaderQuest
There are times when we are alone and lost and there are times when we guide each other as human beings to find ourselves and our purpose. Lavall’s will had gotten him through the trenches of the military and his determination propelled his future into a fulfilling career.
Lavall served our country, fell down, and rose up to a bright new future. His situation is a perfect example of why we exist and what drives LeaderQuest employees to deliver the highest quality of service. LeaderQuest and Lavall will always be connected by his story and the continued story of how we plan to change thousands more lives through short-term training, certifications, and guidance.
When you’re looking to start a new career or enter a new industry, it’s hard to find the right path. While self-study with online resources and textbooks can help, most employers won’t be swayed by that on a resume. Degrees are an excellent path to success, but they can take 2-4 years to complete. That’s where certification training comes in.
Certifications fill an important gap, especially in the IT world. They can open doors, launch careers, and show employers their new hire will have the required skills to get the job done. Of course, there’s no better proof for this than the stories of our students.
We couldn’t be more proud of our graduates who have gone out into the world and found great jobs that let them make use of the IT training they got at LeaderQuest. Today, we’d like to highlight four of these stories and show off some of our most successful grads.
Peter came to LeaderQuest after serving in the U.S. Army for 16 years. He trained military police for the army and pursued a Master of Arts in Security Management at American Military University. Cyber security was a recurring theme in his studies, but Peter didn’t have much of a background in IT. After looking for a training provider, Peter contacted LeaderQuest and signed up for some foundational IT certifications including CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+.
Peter was a quick study and took just three months to acquire all of these certifications. Combined with his extensive education and experience, he was able to find employment quickly.
Today, he’s the Chief Operating Officer of an information system engineering firm that focuses on risk management framework compliance and IT security solutions and loving every minute.
“Immediately upon obtaining my Security+ certification I was offered a position as an Information System Security Engineer, that jumped me up from my previous pay by about $20,000, just shy of making six figures.”
As Marcus was completing his military service, he had an eye toward the future. He didn’t want to be scrambling to find a job after he transitioned out. He noticed that many of the job postings he was interested in listed IT certifications as a requirement. Using his GI Bill® funding, Marcus enrolled at LeaderQuest to take courses for CompTIA Security+, EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and EC-Council Certified Network Defender (CND).
With the help of our Career Services team, Marcus lined up three interviews by the time he’d completed his exams. Marcus got multiple offers and accepted a position with Cyberspace Solutions that came with a $20,000 pay increase. Three months later he got an even better offer from Booz Allen with another $20,000 pay bump, which he accepted.
“Since I’ve been certified, I’ve gotten a job offer for every IT position I’ve applied for.”
Randa had IT experience in Africa but wasn’t able to secure a position here after moving to America in 2014. She took work as an assistant teacher, but she knew she wanted to be working in IT. She just couldn’t figure out how to break into the industry in the United States.
Randa didn’t have funding for her IT training, but we were able to connect her with her local workforce center where she secured funding for her training. She enrolled at LeaderQuest to get her PMP and her CCNA Security certifications; two powerful credentials that made job hunting much easier. After completing her PMP, she got a 6-month contract job with Comcast. At the end of the contract, she applied to work at WebRoot, a company that does business with Comcast. Even though she hadn’t taken the exam for her CCNA Security, the knowledge she got at LeaderQuest helped her to nail the interview and get hired.
She is now making more than $72,000 per year, a pretty big raise from making $12/hour for contract work!
“When the manager from WebRoot interviewed me, all of the information from the class was still in my head, and I got all of the questions right. He said, ‘That’s great!’ I told him that I have no experience, just education through LeaderQuest and through one class in Mumbai. And he laughed and said, ‘We’re going to train you! And we’ll help you to succeed in this role.’ So the training with LeaderQuest got my foot in the door.”
Richard was laid off from his job at Honeywell in 2016. As he was trying to figure out what his next step would be, he went to his local workforce center. They discussed some options with Richard and explained that he needed to secure some key IT certifications to verify his skills so he could potentially qualify for several IT jobs immediately.
Pikes Peak Workforce center connected Richard with LeaderQuest, and he enrolled immediately. Richard started on his Security+ certification and worked with our Career Services team to improve his resume and online presence. One of our star Employment Development Managers (EDMs) here at LeaderQuest reached out to a connection at Raytheon on Richard’s behalf. Richard received a job offer from Raytheon halfway through his training. This was even before he earned his Security+ certification!
After training with LeaderQuest, Richard was making $10,000 more than he was at his previous position, before being laid off!
“Little did I know that I wouldn’t even have time to complete my certification!”
If you’re interested in starting a career in the IT industry, we can help! LeaderQuest offers 5-10 day classes designed to quickly get you trained on everything you need to know to pass the exam and get hired. Our courses are taught by expert instructors with real industry experience. They include hands-on labs. We offer courses in a full-time day format, or in the evenings after work. You can also train online or on campus, whichever works best for you.
When you’re ready to take the next step in your career and secure your future, contact us!
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.”
After initially considering a master’s degree in cyber security, Ken changed his mind when he heard from LeaderQuest.
Taking Classes & Getting Certified!
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.
Transitions 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 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.
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
After 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.”
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!
Transitioning out of the military can seem like a daunting undertaking. Leaving behind the world you’ve known for the 9-5 workday is bound to cause anxiety. Don’t worry! Many of the skills you’ve gained in the military can help you get hired and start a great IT career in the civilian world. In fact, a tech job is the perfect next step for many veterans, especially if you’re tired of being on your feet.
It may seem hard to get your foot in the door to the IT world with no experience. However, certifications get you the skills you need in a matter of months or even weeks. That’s way less time than a degree. If you’re interested in IT careers, you’ve come to the right place.
Check out our list of tech jobs that are great for transitioning veterans. Keep reading for salaries, job titles, and more information for some of the most relevant computer jobs that will ensure your success in the next stage of your life.
Information Security Analyst
Why It’s Ideal
If you’ve got a security clearance, this may be the perfect role for you to jump into because clearance gives you a huge head start to get hired! Right now, the Department of Defense (DoD) has made securing the nation’s information systems a top priority, especially when it comes to national defense. For this reason, DoD contractors are required to have baseline certifications that ensure they know how to properly handle secure information. On top of this, many of these companies are run by veterans and know the value of bringing them on board.
In 2016, Information Security Analysts had a median salary of $92,600. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that this role is expected to grow around 28% from 2016 to 2026. This is much faster than average for all industries (6%).
What You’d Do
At a basic level, information security analysts plan and implement security features for computer systems and networks. In practice, these roles can have a huge variety of daily tasks. For more information, check out our interview with Jason Thompson, who works as a Data Systems Security Specialist at one of the three largest banks in the US.
Qualifications You’ll Need
A bachelor’s degree in a computer or information science helps for this career, but it isn’t required. For many positions, all you really need is a few certifications. If you’re going to work for the DoD, they have a list of certifications that will allow you to fulfill the requirements needed to get into the information security world. The most important certification isCompTIA’s Security+. This foundational certification will teach you basic computer and network security skills. When you’re looking to building on this, you’ll want to add the EC-Council’s Certified Network Defender (CND) to your toolkit, enabling you to understand vulnerabilities in your systems and how to protect them. If you’re looking for a capstone achievement, the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) will show employers that you understand information security backward and forward.
Also called help-desk technicians, this is a great place to get started in the IT industry. If you worked with computers during your service, you may already know many of the skills you’ll need to get hired as a Computer Support Specialist. This is an ideal place to start because you don’t need much education to be able to apply, but it can offer excellent pay.
After starting at the help desk, you can work your way up as an IT professional. If it doesn’t feel like a good fit, don’t worry. It only takes one or two years in a position like this to create a great foundation for future career growth.
In 2016, this job had a median salary of $52,160. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that this role has an expected growth rate of 10% from 2016 to 2026, faster than average (6%) for all industries.
What You’d Do
As a Computer Support Specialist, you’ll install, configure, and maintain computers/networks to ensure that your business operates smoothly. You’ll also assist users to keep their computers working properly and help them get the most out of their systems. Most exciting of all, you’ll have a hand in security for the computers and networks you take care of and will play a vital role in preventing cyber attacks.
Qualifications You’ll Need
To get started, all you’ll need is a few basic certifications to stand out from the crowd. The first is the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), the most widely accepted approach to IT service management in the world. Next, getting your CompTIA A+ certification will show employers that you can build and configure personal computers for office use. Achieving your CompTIA Network+ will give you the skills you need to build networks and connect systems to them. Finally, getting CompTIA Security+ completes the picture with one of the most in-demand certifications available today. With the frequency of cyber attacks growing by the hour, security has become an essential concern for all businesses.
Network Support is highly in demand right now, making it easier to get hired and offering great job security once you do land the gig. As more and more companies go digital, and as new companies spring up all over, networking needs aren’t going anywhere. Because this role is so specialized, and the CCNA certification is so challenging, you can be sure you’ll have an abundance of job opportunities in any metropolitan area. You can start off as a support specialist and soon advance your career as a network admin or network architect.
Network Support Specialists are experts in all things network related. You’d be responsible for selecting and installing cabling, routers, and switches to help create a network that meets the needs of the business or organization.
Qualifications You’ll Need
To excel in this position, you’ll want to get your CompTIA Security+ and Network+ certifications, which we detailed in the Computer Support Specialist listing. Once again, Network+ forms the foundation of your knowledge while Security+ will teach you everything you need to know about building secure networks that protect your employer’s assets. However, the most important certification for this role is your Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Routing & Switching. This certification is your golden ticket in the world of networking. It’s hard to achieve, but it will qualify you to get started in this growing industry.
As a transitioning veteran, you’re looking for the best place to invest your time and education to ensure a great career for yourself. To that end, you’d be hard-pressed to find industries that are growing faster than cyber security and information technology.
Why is that? Simple. Companies are struggling to keep up with the rising threat of cyber crime due to one major problem: they can’t find enough qualified candidates. Cyber security specialists are so in demand that the number of open positions has outstripped the number of qualified applicants by as much as 2 to 1 in some industries. About one-third of information security jobs require a cyber security certification, compared to 23 percent of all IT jobs.
The solution is simple! Get certified and get the tech job you really want. At LeaderQuest, we offer flexible scheduling that works best for your current situation and learning style. You can take classes online, on campus, during the day, or at night.
Many of our classes last between 5-15 days, so you can get certified and back into the workforce as quickly as possible. As an organization with a long time commitment to veterans, many of our staff have been there and know the challenges that come with the transition. They’ll help you navigate your GI Bill®, make the best of your benefits, and get you equipped for a brand new career.
There’s never been a better time to get certified and enter the IT workforce in the computer technology career of your choice. Don’t wait to get your future started. Reach out and contact us today!