Christopher Jaskoski is a recent graduate of LeaderQuest and we couldn’t be more proud of his amazing success in the IT field. Chris served in the Army for eight years as a combat engineer stationed at Ft Lewis and Ft Carson. He was deployed to Iraq in 2010, Afghanistan in 2012, and Kuwait in 2015. For the Army, Chris did route clearance, breaching, and explosives. As he saw his separation date approaching, Chris started to look toward his future and evaluate options for making the best use of his GI Bill® benefits.
Read on to learn about the IT training success story of Chris Jaskoski.
Considering an IT Career
“I looked into some job titles in the IT field and liked the idea of having a desk job after beating the dirt for so long. I didn’t really have many easily translatable skills, but I had a clearance from the service so I thought if I could get my certifications it could be a good field for me.“
Christopher first learned about LeaderQuest after a phone call from Colorado Springs Campus Director, Peter Lett. Peter called Chris to discuss his service and plans for after his separation date. He told Chris that his clearance was valuable and with certifications he could easily have a good career in the IT field. This was especially important, given that Chris’ job hunt was in the Colorado Springs area. He knew his security clearance would give him a real head start on the competition.
IT Training at LeaderQuest Using GI Bill® Funding
April – November 2016
“Everybody was very friendly and very helpful, people were really encouraging. They had prepared a pretty good learning curve and career path for people that weren’t that experienced. They walked me through all the basic courses and showed me where I needed to be to find something here in the DoD community in the Springs. I’ve had really good things to say about all of the instructors. Very good about specifying what’s applicable in real life and what’s for the test. I think they were doing their best to give us the best of both worlds.”
Chris started classes in the Spring of 2016, choosing programs that would help him build a career on the clearance he had from his service. He started with A+, Windows 7, and ITIL, and then went into Net+ and Security+. Chris took his courses at night while completing his Army service during the day. Each night course takes twice as long as our day courses (which run for eight hours on weekdays), but are a great solution for those who need to work during the day. By December of 2016, he was certified on A+, Net+ and Security+ and ready to start looking for a job in IT. It can seem daunting to “get your foot in the door,” but as you’ll see, certifications make it easy. In fact, if you’ve got the right certifications, employers will be coming to you!
If you’re interested in breaking into IT like Chris did, look no further than our Computer User Support Specialist (CUSS) program. It includes the following, in-demand certifications: CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+ and ITIL. Of course, we also offer other entry level certification programs, but the CUSS is our most comprehensive. A+, Network+, and Security+ training and certifications combined fulfill levels one and two of the security requirements for Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 8570, which helps our graduates qualify for a huge number of IT positions. These certifications also ready them to pursue higher level certifications soon after.
From Help Desk to Systems Engineer
January – July 2017
“It’s great. It’s just a couple of us on the team, and basically we do all the patching and security updates. We manage 300+ Nessus vulnerability scanners for a hundred different bases for the Air Force. We make sure that these scanners have the latest plugins, patches and updates to be able to provide vulnerability scanning for all the Air Force bases. It’s the Western half of the United States, plus Alaska and Asia.”
“Nine months after getting out of the service, I’m making 70k. I was at 53k a year when I was serving. So I’m making nearly twenty thousand more. I show up at work at 8:30 and most days I leave at 3:30 and I get an hour lunch. And I just sit at a desk and do computer stuff, so it’s perfect.”
Chris started looking for a job at the end of December, which he told us was a “terrible idea” because all the hiring managers were out for the holidays. Even so, he was able to get an interview and job offer by January 8th. He was hired by Evans Army Hospital as a Helpdesk Technician for CHCS and AHLTA for $18 an hour. But Chris wouldn’t be there for long.
He stayed at Evans Army Hospital for six months and then started a new position in July of 2017, working as a Systems Engineer for Agile Defense. He loves his new job, and they just increased his salary to $70,000/year!
On the Value of Certification
“LeaderQuest is a really powerful tool, and there are really great instructors that will teach you anything you ask, just as long as you make the most of it and apply yourself. You have to continue to set yourself goals and continue your education. You know, don’t stop with A+, don’t stop with Net+, don’t stop with Sec+. Here in the next six months, I’m going to be doing Red Hat CSA. I want to make sure people know to continue their education if they want to increase their salary. Don’t get stuck at the help desk!”
“I actually had to take my resume off Indeed because I was getting too many calls. People just need to know how to write it and they’ll come. If you have Security+ and a clearance and you put that on your resume on Indeed, you’re going to get at least 4-5 calls per month. And that’s minimum.“
At LeaderQuest, we work hard to ensure that every student gets the support and training they need to excel. Our instructors are experts with years of industry experience, and they prepare students to both pass their exams and be a valuable addition to the workplace. Chris was so happy with the results of his certification that he has decided to continue his education in the coming months. Way to go, Chris!
Are you interested in getting certified?
If you’re interested in changing industries, certification can help you start a career in IT. On the other hand, if you’ve been “stuck at the help desk” for too long, certification can help you break through and advance your career. Our classes are available online and on campus. If you work during the day, you can study for your certifications in the evening like Chris did and be moving up or changing careers in just a few weeks. Get started today!