The ITWorks Las Vegas Fall 2017 class is graduating this week! After an intensive 11 weeks of class time, five weeks in an internship, and CompTIA A+ certifications, the students are ready to start their careers in the IT field. Read more to learn about Taylor Sundwall, one of the students graduating this week.
ITWorks: What had you been doing prior to starting ITWorks?
Taylor: Prior to ITWorks I was looking for a job. I came across ITWorks while at a job fair, and had decided to put the job search on hold until I found out if I was accepted. In high school, I was working with special needs individuals and I found that, in many ways, their lives revolved around technology. It was how they talked, learned, and most importantly relaxed. To make sure that the technology was working and that we knew how to operate them was very important. It also amazed me that some students didn't just rely on these technologies, but that they had a real passion for computers and would try to learn as much as possible about them. This experience only increased my interest in technology and the possibilities it could bring.
ITW: What made you want to pursue the ITWorks program?
T: For a little while I was in between registering for CXWorks or ITWorks. When looking at the overall curriculum on the website, I was able to self-examine and figure out which one I thought would be best for me and which one would help me not only with finding work, but would help me with my passions as well. In today's world, tech changes in the blink of an eye; in the healthcare/ special needs program it is happening even faster than that. I wanted to be able to know and understand what is coming and how they can/can't, will/won't help the special needs I have worked with in the past and see how it'll affect their futures.
ITW: You’ve already completed the classroom portion of the program and earned your certifications – how does it feel to have those accomplished?
T: I am surprised that we've learned so much in so little time. It has definitely increased my confidence. The best thing about the class room was the atmosphere each person brought to it. There was not one person who was alike. That being said, one person would understand something that would completely go over my head, while another person describing it would make total sense to me. Or I could understand something that would help another. Different minds don't think alike and that is a good thing.
ITW: The internship is about halfway through at this point – where are you doing your internship? What’s the experience been like there?
T: The internship at City Hall has definitely been insightful and interesting. This time around, two interns worked with a senior manager analyst for part of the internship on projects that the city is working on. I was given the pleasure of being one of these interns. So not only am I getting experience taking calls, troubleshooting, and specific software, but I am also getting experience with team work, negotiation, and planning. All together it's been a great experience.
ITW: Graduation is right around the corner. Have you started applying for jobs yet? Is there a particular niche of IT that you want to get into?
T: By the end of this week I plan to start filling out job applications, and putting my resume out there. At this point though, I'm putting the finishing touches on my resume and getting my references in order which includes getting a letter of recommendation from one of my supervisors. My plan for getting into the 'niche' that I'm interested in is simple: to start at the bottom and work my way there. This means that the jobs/career that I'm looking for at the moment is to be a help desk technician, because I have a whole lot more to learn before I start climbing the totem pole.
ITW: What do you think the impact of ITWorks has been in your life?
T: When I started this program, I knew maybe 5 things that the CompTIA exams would have asked me; maybe a little more. I knew task manager, I knew how to fix WIFI, I knew how to reset a computer in multiple ways, I knew how to upload and download…and I knew I was going to be in over my head! To be able to say that I have completed the program and passed the exams is, in my mind, astonishing. Although that is just a gigabit of what ITWorks has helped me accomplish in this short amount of time. I have been told that I am now more confident, social, and professional. These skills – both hard and soft – will help me throughout my career and life.
ITW: For those young folks in Las Vegas who are considering ITWorks, what advice would you have for them?
T: It's okay to not know who you are just yet. It’s okay if you’re funny, serious, loud, quiet. It doesn't even matter if you’re purple with blue polka dots. This program helps you with that. In the short time that you have in the program, if you study your polka dots off you are sure to succeed. Though the name of the program is IT and the goal is to get those certificates, that's not all it is about. By the end of the program, you'll have found and gained skills that you didn't know were needed in your tool belt.
ITW: Is there anything else about your experience with the ITWorks program that you’d like to share?
T: Saying this as a person that barely had any knowledge about IT when I started, I say this with full confidence: if you put the time in and if you have some fun along the way, there is no question that upon graduating from this program you will be the person that the “job you want” is going to hire.
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