ITWorks Delaware students are just days away from graduating from the Spring 2016 class! The class is gaining valuable hands-on experience in their internships, and many have earned two entry-level IT certifications. Chris Robinson, one of the Delaware students, was ready for a change that would lead to a career when he decided to apply to the ITWorks program. We checked in with Chris to hear his story and see what the future holds for him – read on to learn more!
ITWorks: What had you been doing prior to starting ITWorks?
Chris: I was working for a school portraits company doing data management. I was pretty much the only person who knew the position in-and-out and I thought it might provide me with an opportunity to grow within the company, but it ended up being a dead-end. So I was looking into new career avenues, because I knew I didn’t want to do school portraits forever.
ITW: What made you want to pursue the ITWorks program?
C: My good friend was a graduate in the Spring 2015 class. He didn’t even have to say much about the benefit of the program, because his life was proof of that. He was getting some awesome job offers and then was able to pursue an apprenticeship with Barclays. I was really impressed with how quickly his life changed and how happy he was; and I knew that IT was something that I would care about and be passionate about making my career.
ITW: You’ve already completed the classroom portion of the program and earned your certificates – how does it feel to have those accomplished?
C: It feels awesome! It feels like I’ve started something here that I can build upon. I didn’t have that impression at my old job. The skills weren’t very transferrable. With ITWorks, I know that what I have learned and accomplished are going to be important wherever my career takes me.
ITW: The internship is about halfway through at this point – where are you doing your internship? What’s the experience been like there?
C: I’ve been interning at the University of Delaware and Nuts and Bolts Web Design. I really like that I get to work at several different locations and work with so many different people. Not only am I working at the main campus, but satellite campuses throughout the state. Each location has their own unique issues that we have to solve as a team. Demetrius, the supervisor, is such a laidback but attentive person and great to have as a boss. The other two people on the team are ITWorks graduates themselves, so there was an immediate sense of brothership.
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?
C: I knew that finding the right fit was going to take some work, but with having the ITWorks team supporting me with referring opportunities and checking-in routinely I also knew that it would be easier than doing it on my own. I’ve already been offered the opportunity to continue with UD in a part-time capacity after the internship, and I’ll be starting another part-time position with FuturTech in the next few weeks. I am hoping to do both of those until FuturTech can bring me on full-time. I think both of these will give me the chance to feel out some of the branches of IT and see where I fit best; but I am thinking networking or software development. The interviewer at FuturTech mentioned that being a network administrator within a couple of years was a realistic goal. I am so excited to get started!
ITW: What do you think the impact of ITWorks has been in your life?
C: I think it’s been pretty substantial. I could not have gotten off on a better foot into this industry without ITWorks; and I could not have done it on my own. ITWorks has helped me in every aspect of getting into the IT field and I am very thankful for that.
ITW: For those young folks in Delaware who are considering ITWorks, what advice would you have for them?
C: If they have the drive to make the commitment, then they should go for it! There’s no better way to get started on a career in IT than through ITWorks.
ITW: Any wisdom for our next class of students who will start in the Fall?
C: Be ready for a fast-paced environment! It’s a challenge, but it’s the best way to learn the ins and outs of the IT field. It throws you right into the mix of things and gives you so many opportunities to learn and grow. Work hard and take it all in. It will be over before you know it.
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