The ITWorks Philadelphia Spring 2017 class is graduating this Friday, June 23rd! We spoke with graduating student Adam Mays about his experience in our 16-week program. Read on to learn more!
ITWorks: What had you been doing prior to starting ITWorks?
Adam: Prior to ITWorks, I had been trying to study to get a CCNA certification. Unfortunately, I wasn’t making a lot of headway on that. When I came in for the ITWorks interview, I was working as a remote service technician. I learned a lot at that job, but I was hoping to find a way to take my career to the next level.
ITW: What made you want to pursue the ITWorks program?
A: I wanted something better for myself. I don’t have a Bachelor’s degree, or any kind of proof of higher education. I got the all of the debt, but none of the degree. I was looking for jobs on Craigslist when I first saw the program, so I decided to turn to Google for more information. The main problem I kept running into during my job search was my lack of education or certifications, and ITWorks was like a beacon of hope to solve that problem – for free! And at the time, free was all I could afford.
ITW: You’ve already completed the classroom portion of the program and earned your certificates – how does it feel to have those accomplished?
A: I was very excited about the certification before I got the A+ and IT Essentials. Now, all I can think about are the next certifications on the ladder. This program has made me more goal-oriented, so I’m eager to start studying for the Network+ and Security+.
ITW: Where are interning? Are you hoping to walk away with a specific experience?
A: I am interning with the Tech Impact helpdesk. During the classroom portion of the program, the instructor – Stefane – had told us that we should try to get as much hands-on experience as we can with Active Directory. So, what I’d really like to accomplish during my time here at Tech Impact is to get as much exposure to that system, as well as others – Sharepoint, Office365, and PowerBI.
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?
A: Right now, I have a “beggars can’t be choosers” mentality. Before this program, I got lots and lots of rejections because I put out lots and lots of applications. So, I have a hard time thinking that I get to choose where I want to go. At the same time, though, more than anything I want to be a part of something that I’m proud of. I want to know that the work I am doing is affecting something meaningful.
ITW: What do you think the impact of ITWorks has been in your life?
A: Well you pretty much say everything in the name, It Works! I feel like it’s been a very successful experience. The one thing I didn’t expect from the program was the quality of the people I got to learn with as peers. Even though it was only 16 weeks, I feel as though we have known each other for years. It’s not only about networking with professionals in the field now, but those who are the future of IT – and those are all the ITWorks students and graduates!
ITW: For those young folks in Philadelphia who are considering ITWorks, what advice would you have for them?
A: Get a clean suit. Come in with a positive attitude. And if you are not accepted the first time, save the suit and the positive attitude – and try again! I didn’t get accepted right away, but knowing what I know now about this program…I would have tried a thousand times.
ITW: Anything else about your experience that you’d like to share? Any parting words?
A: The people you learn from in this program aren’t really limited to the teachers and the volunteers that come into the classroom. At the Friday Session at Oracle, one of the volunteers said, “Everybody is a leader [in their own way.]” So, when you are in a classroom full of leaders, there is so much to learn! Take advantage of every opportunity. You won’t be sorry.
Over 100 volunteers give their time to each session of ITWorks. Volunteer participation is what sets this program apart and what makes being an ITWorks student such a special experience. There are several ways to get involved in all of our locations: Philadelphia, Delaware, and Las Vegas.
Become a Mentor
Time Commitment: 1 hour per week for 18 weeks; in-person, via phone or email.
Host a Friday Session
Teach the ITWorks students the “soft skills” they need to succeed in the workplace.
Time Commitment: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Friday of your choice while class is in session.
Host a Lunch & Learn
Bring in food and open a discussion about your career and how you got to where you are today.
Time Commitment: One hour on any day of your choice, Monday through Thursday.
Provide an Internship
Collaborate with ITWorks staff to host a student (or two) for our capstone: a minimum 5-week internship with local IT organizations. Interns work 24 hours per week, Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Our volunteers are such an asset to our programs and make a huge impact on our students. Tech Impact would not be the same without them!
Learn More About Becoming an IT Works Volunteer