ITWorks Las Vegas Student Spotlight - Meet Victor Gutierrez

MMP_5553-2.jpgITWorks Las Vegas is halfway through its second 16-week session, and the students are well on their way to some IT certifications and internships! Victor Gutierrez came to the program with a self-taught break/fix knowledge and an avid enjoyment of working through complex problems. With about eight more weeks before graduation, Victor is now ecstatic to get started in the field. We checked-in with him to ask a few questions about how the class is going so far and what he’s looking forward to with certification exams and internship interviews right around the corner – read on to learn more! 

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

Victor: I was born and raised in Las Vegas. In the recent past, I’ve been working mainly. I went to UNLV for several semesters, but for a variety of reasons I stopped going. I have been a valet at a couple of the casinos here in Las Vegas for about a year now. I really enjoy it; the environment is fun no matter what, plus I get to drive a lot of really cool cars. Above all, I like that I’m not stuck in one room all day long. I’m constantly moving, and that freedom is really nice. Looking back, I have always been an avid gamer, so that’s how I originally got interested in technology. In addition, when I was growing up the majority of the computers I had were used, so I needed to learn how to troubleshoot and fix them based on need. I found that I really enjoyed the challenge of problem solving, and also that I was pretty good at it!  

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

V: It was purely by chance! I had been looking for an entry-level IT position for two to three months. I was searching on Craigslist to see what was out there when I stumbled upon the ITWorks post. It caught my eye because it basically takes you from nothing to everything; the technical skills and all of the important soft skills as well. It seemed like such a well-rounded program that helps with earning the CompTIA A+, with a lot of added resources along the way.

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?

V: We just moved into the new classroom – and the building is beautiful! And we got new laptops as well. That was really exciting! The networking chapter was really challenging, but that’s really just made me enjoy it a little bit more. I knew a lot about computers before, but I never really expected to learn this much this fast. The pace of the program has been tough, but it’s very rewarding to see how far I’ve come in just a few weeks.

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

V: I have my first internship interview tomorrow! I’m really looking forward to seeing how IT supports this city and the organizations and businesses that make it thrive. I’m especially interested in government and medical IT opportunities, so I am hopeful that I’ll be able to walk away with some tangible experience in one of those fields. The professional skills that we are learning are helping me prepare for the internship – I have gained so much insight into resume writing and interview skills in the past several weeks.

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

V: I’m pretty excited about getting out in the field, because I’ll actually have something I can show an employer or recruiter that vouches for my skills. I’m nervous, for sure – you never know what to expect, especially transitioning from one field to another. But with the help of ITWorks, I think it will go a lot smoother.

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

V: It has shown me a lot about what I am capable of doing! I am working a graveyard shift while taking classes, and I’m succeeding! I almost feel like I can do whatever I want right now, if I set my mind to it. It’s providing me with the support I need to accomplish my goals.

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

V:  I would really like to see it grow a lot! It’s a great organization, and it could have a measurable impact on the community. The young people need an alternative education option; and ITWorks is providing that.

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

V: It’s given so much to me! Not giving anything back wouldn’t be fair. I want to see everything that they’re going to do here in Las Vegas.

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

V: I’m just a normal, everyday guy who took a chance and got into this program! If I can do it, anyone can. There is so much to learn about computers that there is literally an area for anyone to get interested. They just need to try it out.

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