The ITWorks Las Vegas Fall 2016 class is graduating this Friday, December 9th. After an intensive 11 weeks of class time, five weeks in an internship, and Comp TIA A+ certifications, the students are ready to start their careeres in the IT field. Read more to learn about Tristen Paletta, one of the students graduating this Friday!
ITWorks: What had you been doing prior to starting ITWorks?
Tristen: Last year, I was in the Navy with intentions of doing an IT assignment. However, I was medically discharged, so after that I was looking around for jobs. I found a contract position through TekSystems, but I didn’t have a lot of experience so it was challenging. This past summer, I stumbled upon ITWorks on Craigslist. I initially didn’t think anything of it, but then a few days later I saw an ad on Facebook. So I decided I wanted to check it out.
ITW: What made you want to pursue the ITWorks program?
T: Since I didn’t have much experience, the certifications and internship experience were appealing to me. I wanted an educational opportunity that didn’t require me to spend several years in college. So, it seemed like ITWorks would accomplish all of that. The whole program really hit on all of the things I was looking for.
ITW: You’ve already completed the classroom portion of the program and earned your certificates – how does it feel to have those accomplished?
T: The classroom learning experience was a lot of fun. Kera is a great teacher, and Rachel is awesome at managing the program. It made it very easy to learn. My classmates were easy to get along with, which made it even better. I have to say that the certification exams were harder than I expected, but I think I psyched myself out a little bit, too. It feels great to say that I’ve passed the A+ exams on the first try with a high score – the second highest in the class! It’s really motivating to see that I did so well, and makes me feel like I can not only have an IT career but be successful in this field.
ITW: The internship is about halfway through at this point – where are you doing your internship? What’s the experience been like there?
T: I’m doing my internship at Maverick Helicopters. They have me doing a lot of fun projects! I’m doing a little bit of everything – from helping staff with simple technical problems, to working on servers, to flying out to their hub at the Grand Canyon to fix an internet problem. That’s not something a lot of people can say! They have a great team – both Josh and Giovanni (my supervisors) are incredibly smart so I am able to learn so much from them.
ITW: Graduation is right around the corner. Do you have any expectations on how the job search process will be? Is there a particular niche of IT that you want to get into?
T: I’m starting to search and apply for jobs as we speak. I think it’s going to be challenging, but I know that having this internship experience at Maverick and the support from the ITWorks team will make it easier to get where I want to be. Right now, my biggest interest is system administration. There’s a big server hosting company here called Switch – it would be really cool to work there! Ultimately, I’d like to own a business geared toward server hosting. I hope that I can earn both technical and business degrees someday soon.
ITW: What do you think the impact of ITWorks has been in your life?
T: So far, only good things have happened since I started with ITWorks. I know that only more good things are going to come from here on out. I’ve made some great friends, I’ve learned so much, and the entire experience has been amazing overall.
ITW: For those young folks in Las Vegas who are considering ITWorks, what advice would you have for them?
T: I would say to those who come after me in the ITWorks program – work hard and network! Being friends with your classmates, using the staff as a resource, and getting to know the professionals who volunteer with the program is essential.
ITW: Is there anything else about your experience with the ITWorks program that you’d like to share?
T: I have been immersed in technology my whole life. Before the program I knew a lot, but even if you have no background in the field – don't let that discourage you. Almost half of my classmates joined ITWorks knowing nothing about technology, and we are all doing really well. If they can do it, anyone can, and I believe that even people without an initial interest in IT, will develop one. All it takes is some hard work and motivation and you can accomplish anything. Just take that one step, go ITWorks! To all future students: remember, the ghost of Stanley is real, be careful saying his name around the campus, and definitely don't mention him in front of the instructors!
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