Philadelphia ITWorks student Biao Huang spoke with us about his excitment to start the Fall 2016 session today - and how he hopes this will be a stepping stone to a job that will allow him to travel and help people around the world. Read on to learn more about Biao and what he is looking forward to most about the program!
ITWorks: What have you been doing prior to starting ITWorks in regards to work and/or school?
Biao: I originally went to a school out in Western PA, but I didn’t have the best experience – aside from finding some great friends. Since then, I have not been able to take a lot of courses and get my credit hours, so it’s been a slow process. I was hoping to eventually transfer to Drexel for Mechanical Engineering. There was a variety of reasons that made it challenging to find purpose in what I was doing. Things started to change for me when I became involved with Project HOME when they were building their Francis House of Peace in Chinatown. We had lived in the same house for over 16 years and it was really disheveled. Not only did Project HOME help us with our housing, but they provided us with a variety of resources, from government benefits to self-improvement and even job resources, and allowed me to become a part of their Young Adults Program.
ITW: How did you hear about the ITWorks program? What made you decide to apply?
B: When I became involved with the Young Adults Program at Project HOME, I met one of their education coordinators who spoke about the ITWorks program. Shortly thereafter I started a job through the Work Ready program at the Honickman Learning Center, and I was placed in a computer-related position where I excelled. That is where I met a graduate of the ITWorks program who told me even more about it. Everyone seemed to think it would be a great fit for me. The idea of ITWorks really stuck with me, so I inquired the coordinator about how to apply. I have always been interested in information technology, which developed from a love of video games and computers, and I was excited about the opportunity to make it a career. I had always been looking for the professional “why” and I knew this would help me answer that question.
ITW: What are you most looking forward to about the 11-week classroom portion of the program? Anything you are nervous about?
B: It’s gonna be awesome and fun! I am so appreciative to even be part of this program, because it’s going to allow me to turn a hobby into a career. I am a hands-on learner, so I’m excited to be able to learn that way and gain a lot of new skills with like-minded people.
ITW: What are you excited about during the internship? Is there a specific experience you are hoping to walk away with?
B: I’m actually kind of nervous about the internship, because I’m not sure how to dress! But I’m hoping that ITWorks can help coach me before the internship starts and improve my professional attire. I never had to develop a business wardrobe before, so I think this will be a good opportunity to do so. Otherwise, to be honest, I’m not entirely sure what to expect from the internship. So, I guess in a way, I’m really excited for any experience that I’ll get to walk away with. I think that’s the best way to approach it!
ITW: What do you think graduation will be like? Any anxiety about looking for a job?
B: I’m really excited for graduation, because it means I’ll be ready for a higher-paying job. More than that, though, it’s going to be really neat to see the comradery between my classmates and to hear about all the certifications that we’ve received. I definitely have some hesitation about looking for a job because I don’t have a lot of work experience. However, I am optimistic that the ITWorks program is going to launch me into a career where I can work with genuine people and a job that I love.
ITW: What is/are your ultimate career goal(s)? Where do you want to be in the next year or two? Ten to 15 years?
B: I really would like to complete my Bachelor’s Degree in the next few years, so that is one of my main priorities. In my career, I eventually want to be in the field of robotics. I want to create machines that can help in emergency and/or disaster situations. So in the short-term, I want to do anything and everything that will get me moving in that direction. I really want to help people. I am also hopeful that I can find a career path that allows me to travel so that I can help people worldwide.
ITW: What has been/will be the impact of ITWorks in your life?
B: It’s actually already impacted me a lot! The fact that I’ve just been able to get in; everyone is so happy for me and it’s given me the momentum I need to really start working towards my goals. This is an accomplishment for me, and it’s one that I really needed. I know that I’m going somewhere now, and that I have a road to follow. And my friends and family can see that now, too. It’s really exciting!
ITW: Why do you think programs like ITWorks are important? What benefits do they bring?
B: I think it helps people like me – where you’re kind of stuck and lost, and need some guidance to get moving in the right direction. That can be a really dark place, where you don’t know what’s around the corner. Programs like this are such a light because they build motivation and help transform people into who they want to be. I can’t wait to see how we all transform over the course of these 16 weeks.
ITW: After you complete the program, what is the one thing you are most excited about?
B: I’m excited for it all, I guess, because I don’t really know what’s to come. But it will be really awesome to see all the pieces of this program come together; the technical training, the internship, the professional connections. All of that can open a lot of doors! All I know is that I’m excited that I’m finally going somewhere, and I am interested to see where I can take myself with this opportunity. I’ve finally been given a chance to realize my dreams.
ITW: What are your hobbies, unrelated to information technology?
B: Choosing hobbies not related to technology is tough! I’m really into PC gaming – mostly because when it doesn’t work, I actually get to dive into the computer to figure out what’s wrong. I also really enjoy just fixing other people’s computers, but I guess that doesn’t really count either. One thing that I have started getting into recently is planting. It’s not much yet, but my one plant (a peace lily) has been growing successfully so far! It feels like every time it grows, I grow a little bit, too. Oh, and I really like pets! However, I don’t have any of my own but plan to change that in the near future.
ITW: Anything else we should know?
B: There was a game that recently came out that had a trailer which includes a quote, “Never accept the world as it appears to be. Dare to see it for what it could be.” That has resounded with me so strongly, and I think it should with anyone else who really aspires to accomplish their dreams. I know that ITWorks will be my first steps to living by these words.
Many ITWorks students find success and happiness after
completing their 16-week session. Take a look at some of their success stories and learn more about ITWorks today: