The Spring 2018 session at ITWorks is already halfway through! Students are now preparing for their CompTIA A+ exams and their IT internships. We caught up with Las Vegas student, Riley, to learn about his experience so far. With an interest in IT and cyber security, he wasn’t sure how to get started. Now that he’s halfway to a career in IT, he’s not wasting any time! Read on to learn more.
ITWorks: I am excited to learn about your experience thus far! I know you said you are with some of your classmates right now – what are you all doing after class hours?
Riley: We’re actually doing some group studying right now – general preparation for upcoming exams, trying to figure out where people are struggling and where others might be able to help them. It was a little difficult at first to come together as a class, but we really hit our stride together and now it’s like a family unit.
ITW: That’s great that you can support each other like that! Have any of the chapters been your favorite so far?
R: I really enjoyed one of our first chapters – the hardware one, where we got to tear apart PCs and put them back together. That was really fun for me! I also thought the Operating Systems chapter was interesting, and it pushed me to try installing a new OS on my own computer. The whole class so far has really helped me with troubleshooting my own broken machines. They’ve been laying around for a long time because I didn’t know what to do with them, but now that I’m an IT guy (which is so fun to say), I figured I would put some of this new knowledge to work. I already have one of them up and running, and I’m working on the next one!
ITW: How cool is it that you are already putting your new IT skills to the test? It sounds like you are ready to take on this industry! Besides the technical content, have any of the professional and soft skills training sessions stood out?
R: Absolutely! Two of them stood out so far for different reasons. We went to SDMI for one of our Friday Sessions and that one helped me realize that I really want to work in the cross-section between healthcare and IT. I’m not sure if that is still going to be in cybersecurity, which is where my interest originally was, but I know medical IT is where I want to go. The other Friday Session that stands out is when we did interviewing prep and mock interviews. I’ve always been really bad at interviewing, and that session was super helpful in preparing me for internship interviews. I just had my first internship interview yesterday, and I was still nervous about it, but as soon as I got into the interview – everything that we learned at that Friday Session came into play. I was answering questions left and right…quickly and on topic. That’s never happened to me before!
ITW: That must be a really rewarding feeling to gain confidence in an area that you didn’t have it before. I bet you are going to impress everyone at your internship interviews! I know you mentioned interest in cybersecurity and healthcare IT – do you have any other career goals post-graduation?
R: One of my goals way before this program was to be a music producer. I don’t know if that is my immediate goal right now, but I know that once I am equipped with all the skills I will learn through ITWorks that it will be a much more realistic goal than it ever was before.
ITW: There’s a lot of IT knowledge required in the music industry, that is for sure! So, we’ve talked about your experience in the program so far, but how did you come to know about ITWorks in the first place?
R: Being fresh out of high school, I wasn’t really sure if I could afford college or if that was the route I wanted to take. I had expressed my interest in doing IT work, specific to cyber security, with my girlfriend and her dad – and he talked about this ITWorks program. As a free program that provides literally everything you need to get your foot in the door, I was so excited to apply and take the next step in my life. I was nervous because I didn’t want to screw it up, but here I am!
ITW: And we are very lucky to have you as an ITWorks student! Anything else that you’d like to mention about your experience in this program so far?
R: This program is incredibly amazing, and so much more than I thought it could be. I’ve learned so many things, both IT related and professionally. I’ve met so many people along the way, and I’m only halfway through. It’s been a blast and I can’t wait to see it to the end.
We can't wait to see Riley's future IT career! Interested in applying for the Fall 2018 class? Learn more and apply at www.itworks.org.