Philadelphia ITWorks Student Maia Harris Reflects on the First Half of the Spring 2016 Session

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The students in our ITWorks Philadelphia class are at the halfway point of the Spring 2016 session! With internship interviews currently happening and certification exams around the corner, the second half is sure to be exciting. Maia Harris had started her journey into the field of information technology when the ITWorks program caught her eye with the opportunity to earn industry-standard certifications and network with IT professionals. We sat down to check-in about her experience – read on to learn more!

ITWorks: What had you been doing prior to starting ITWorks in regards to work and/or school?

Maia: Before I joined ITWorks I was working at a company where I was a Java Developer consultant and I was furthering my education to gain a bachelor degree in Computer Science.

ITW: How did you hear about the ITWorks program? What made you decide to apply?

M: I went to a job fair to look for a job before my contract ended with the current job I was at. I stopped by the ITWorks table and received information on how the program could help me start a career and get certifications, which is something I didn’t have and thought that it could be a great move to make in order to find a stable career.

ITW: You’re about halfway through the program at this point. What has been the most challenging part of the classroom experience thus far? What about the most rewarding part?

M: Honestly, I haven’t had any challenges being in a classroom environment, because outside of the program I am currently enrolled in school. I will say that it is refreshing being able to help my classmates on certain topics of the curriculum that I have knowledge of and vice versa. I’m learning a lot and strengthening my communication skills.

ITW: What are you excited about during the internship? Is there a specific experience you are hoping to walk away with?

M: I am excited to get hands-on experience within a company and having an opportunity to shadow other people in different departments within that company. A specific experience I hope to walk away with is being able to work in different applications, like SharePoint. When I was doing my research, looking for a job, most companies were looking for people who had experience in SharePoint. I hope to get that chance and also make it one of my skills.

ITW: Graduation is just a few short weeks away. Do you have any expectations on how the job search process will be?

M: My expectation is to have a job before graduation or shortly after. I feel as though I am doing my best and also learning and networking with a lot of the visitors who stop by our class. All of that combined gives me great confidence that I have an opportunity to be hired right away!

ITW: What has been/will be the impact of ITWorks in your life?

M: ITWorks has impacted my life mentally and physically. Mentally, I have gained technical confidence in the information I am learning so I can technically communicate the way I am supposed to. Physically, I am gaining two certifications and hands-on experience that will prepare me for my career.

ITW: What are your hopes for the future of ITWorks in Philadelphia?

M: I hope to be a mentor in the next two years for ITWorks in Philadelphia. My mentor was a perfect fit for me in regards to both personality and technical aspirations. Once I begin my career within a company. I can help mentor another person starting out in their career.

ITW: Do you think you’ll want to stay involved with ITWorks after you graduate?

M: Yes, I will still be involved in the ITWorks program after I graduate. I hope to be a mentor in the future.

ITW: We focus on professional development each week with our Friday Sessions. What have you liked most about these sessions?

M: In the professional development sessions, most of the material is logical and practical information on how the business environment is and how you should conduct yourself professionally. But having different professionals tell you their experiences of those different lessons and offer honest advice on how to overcome certain obstacles is what I enjoyed most and took away from the Friday sessions.

ITW: Is there anything else about your experience with the ITWorks program that you’d like to share? 

M: I really enjoy being around all sixteen of my classmates. The bond that we made with each other will do great for us while we are in our careers because of the relationship we established in the ITWorks program. I can’t wait to see where we all end up six months from now, because we decided to pursue this opportunity and change our lives forever.

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