The ITWorks Delaware Spring 2017 class is graduating this Friday, June 30th! We spoke with graduating student Kevin Flood about his experience in our 16-week program. Read on to learn more!
ITWorks: What had you been doing prior to starting ITWorks?
Kevin: I was pretty much just working at Chick-fil-A full-time. Previously, I had been living in Virginia for a few years to attend school for music. I decided to move back to Delaware because I couldn’t financially afford to continue college and I discovered that music wasn’t really what I wanted to pursue. I’ve always been interested in technology, though. Ever since I could put my hands on a keyboard, I have loved technology.
ITW: What made you want to pursue the ITWorks program?
K: My dad told me about the Zip Code Wilmington program. While I was researching that program, I stumbled upon the ITWorks website as well. I discovered that ITWorks was more aligned with my skillset. I hadn’t really been actively job searching at the time, but I knew that I wanted to get into IT once I got myself in a stable financial situation. I didn’t really know where to start that process, though. The ITWorks program seemed like the best possible solution because there was no cost for a high-quality education and a focus on professional development, and it would provide me the opportunity to validate my IT knowledge with a certification.
ITW: You’ve already completed the classroom portion of the program and earned your certificates – how does it feel to have those accomplished?
K: Pretty good! It feels like my skills are validated in a professional way. That CompTIA certificate and card demonstrate that I know more than just how to search for solutions on Google or YouTube. On a scale of 1-10, ten being the hardest, I would rank the A+ as a six. I came in with some decent background, but there were some surprises! I knew I’d pass, but it challenged me at the same time.
ITW: The internship is about halfway through at this point – where are you doing your internship? What’s the experience been like there?
K: I am interning at Versalign. The experience has been great – I haven’t made a single pot of coffee the whole time! All joking aside, I am getting a lot of hands-on real-life experience. I’m taking computers apart and replacing items, troubleshooting issues. It’s really nice to do real stuff with real clients instead of just studying to pass an exam. I liked that part, too, but the internship provides a practical view into what I can expect moving forward.
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?
K: I think I want to keep my options fairly broad and diverse at this time – I’m willing to take on anything that will allow me to continue to learn. There’s a lot of cool stuff in IT that I still want to check out. That’s the fun part about this field; you can try one thing and it leads you down this new rabbit hole of information you never knew existed. Ultimately, I think I want to get into some kind of admin role, but that is a couple years down the road. One of the biggest things holding me back before I started ITWorks was that I knew what I was talking about but didn’t have any way to back that up. Now that I have my A+ and employers can see that on my resume, it will help me get into the door – at the very least.
ITW: What do you think the impact of ITWorks has been in your life?
K: Pretty significant. Not only has it helped my technical knowledge, but my professionalism as well. I have been able to see first-hand what it’s like in an office setting and a corporate environment, and that’s going to be important as I break into the IT field. I’m going from pushing buttons and making chicken to presenting myself as an IT professional in such a short period of time. Not to mention all the amazing people that I’ve met along the way!
ITW: For those young folks in Delaware who are considering ITWorks, what advice would you have for them?
K: Check it out! There is literally nothing to lose. It’s a great program. You will start an IT knowledge from the ground up, and you will graduate with the skills you need. As long as you have the motivation to show up every day and study hard, you’ll have those certifications. Oliver, the instructor, and the classmates will help you get through – it’s like a family. You just have to put in the work; the rest will come.
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
Help a current ITWorks student stay motivated, provide guidance and support, and encourage them through the duration of the class.
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. Curriculum is provided. Present the topic yourself, or with a group of colleagues.
Time Commitment: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Friday of your choice while class is in session.
Host a Lunch & Learn
Join the ITWorks students over the lunch hour. 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.
Time Commitment: Minimum of 5 weeks, plus time to interview and select your intern.
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