The ITWorks Philadelphia class is kicking-off the Spring 2018 session this week! We spent some time with Evan Werner, one of the incoming students, to learn about how he came to know about ITWorks and where he hopes to go with his IT training. Read on to learn more about Evan’s story.
ITWorks: Walking in today, I saw you greet one of our employees! How do you know Ben? Did he tell you about the program?
Evan: We were friends way back in elementary school. It was a small community at the school with mixed grade levels, so we were often in the same class. Ben and I were both of similar personalities, so we got along well. We ended up going to different high schools, but managed to stay in touch through social media, Xbox, modern technology and what have you. His mom was telling my mom about how much success Ben had found in IT, so I reached out and I asked about how I might be able to start in the field. He kept talking about this ITWorks program that he went through a few years ago, so I applied!
ITW: What about the program made you decide to apply?
E: The selling points for me were that it was founded in a nonprofit; propelling the program to reach motivated students who might not be able to pursue a degree. Once I began interviewing, I got a sense of genuine passion from the ITWorks staff which made it feel like I was coming into something that values each individual student and their future success. These kinds of programs are a saving grace for a lot of people. I bounced around in various trades, customer service jobs, but I did not want to lock myself down to an occupation that I didn’t enjoy. I’m ready to move beyond that.
ITW: Anything that you’re most looking forward to about the ITWorks program?
E: The Friday Sessions! I can’t wait to be in the business environments to get a sense of being the “new hire.” Being able to walk in the doors each week and build a little bit of confidence each time is going to help so much for the big day: the day when I’m walking into my new job that I was hired for based on my ITWorks credentials and training.
ITW: What do you think makes ITWorks different?
E: When I went to school before for electrical work, the ages of students ranged from 18 to 50 and the experience ranged just as much – some people came in with 20 years of experience which left me feeling like the idiot of the class. I’m excited to be in a room of peers that are similar in age and experience, really coming in at the same place that I am, so we can learn and reach milestones together.
ITW: Is there a particular IT field or position that you have your eyes on?
E: Ultimately, I want to build the skills and credentials necessary to be a data architect. I think it’s a fascinating and stimulating occupation, so I hope to be there one day. I’d first need to work myself up to a network administrator. There’s so much diversity of what you can do in those areas, and really IT is the unsung hero of career pathways. Everyone says medical or law or business is the place to be; but what keeps all of those running? IT. So, I think this is the best opportunity possible to propel me into a satisfying, fulfilling, and financially rewarding career.
ITW: Anything else we should know?
E: I just want to make sure that credit is given where it’s due when it comes to the benevolence of this program. It’s such a good opportunity for people like me; and figuratively, there are a million other people in the same shoes that I am in. When you see young people starting in college right after high school, which is often seen as a more prestigious pathway, it’s hard to swallow your pride and motivate yourself to start taking classes a little later in the game. It’s not always about those that start first, but it’s what you do with the information. I wish there were more programs like this!