Linh at a recent ITWorks Philadelphia Friday Session hosted at The Judge Group
The Spring 2018 session at ITWorks has already crossed the halfway mark, and Philly students are anxiously preparing for their internships and CompTIA A+ certification exams. We recently sat down with Linh Tran, a current Philly student, to learn about how she got into technology and what ITWorks is like. Eager to take advantage of this college alternative, Linh is soaking in as much as possible! Read on to learn more.
ITWorks: I can’t believe we are already halfway! I’m thinking back to your candidate interviews, and I recall you mentioning that you didn’t have a lot of computer or technology background. So, what made you decide to pursue this field?
Linh: Growing up, I was exposed to technology, but it was mostly just these magic boxes that helped me get my homework done or allowed me to search the internet. I never wanted to know how anything worked or what the various parts were. During college, however, my friend was visiting for part of the summer and I noticed him doing these wacky things on his computer. He showed me this coding project that he was working on for an internship, and my curiosity for technology began. I had always been interest in science – more in the world of biology and medicine – but after that interaction, I had the realization that Computer Science might be the degree for me.
ITW: It’s crazy how something so simple can really set-off a whole chain of events. So, what did you decide to do with your newfound technology interest?
L: I was right about Computer Science! I fell in love with coding during my classes at CCP, but they didn’t offer any additional languages within my curriculum (at the time) besides Java. So, my friend recommended taking a Networking class. That was the first time that I was exposed to routers and switches and servers and everything in between. It was SO hard, but completely captivating at the same time. Every day I found my mind being blown by what I learned! It led me to realize that the hardware side of technology wasn’t as scary as I thought it was, so my curiosity just took off from there. I wanted to know what everything was like from coding and networking, to security and beyond.
ITW: How perfect that you found ITWorks where you can really get an introduction to all the aspects of IT and figure out what field is most interesting. There’s a lot of programs out there, though. What made you choose ITWorks?
L: At first, this program sounds a bit sketchy if I’m being honest. But if you take the time to read the stories of students who have gone through this program, you realize how life-changing it is. I really wish this program was around (or that I knew about it) when I finished high school. It is an ideal alternative to college. I had no business going to college straight out of high school, but it’s what everybody else was doing so that’s where I went. I wish there would have been a counselor, somebody, anybody who could have said there was another option. Being here now, and experiencing it firsthand, ITWorks is so much better than my college experience. The individualized support that the staff provide to each of us is unparalleled. This is the best investment ever for me – it’s free, I feel supported, I’m getting hands-on experience, I’m interviewing for my internship, and I’m learning so many professional skills. I can’t stop talking about it so much that I even convinced my sister to apply.
ITW: There’s a lot packed in to those 16 weeks, but it’s all to help build a better you! It sounds like you are taking full advantage of the opportunity. What’s been your favorite part of the experience so far?
L: Can I say everything? If I had to choose, I would say the mentorship that is provided to students. Growing up as the oldest child, I was always expected to be a role model for my younger siblings, but I never had someone I could look up to and emulate. ITWorks is giving me that – I am surrounded by people who are constantly shaping me into a better person.
ITW: So I imagine it’s a unique classroom experience. How does everyone get along?
L: Our class is special. There are so many unique personalities – loud, shy, outgoing, the smart cookies, the goofy ones, and more. I love my class, every single one of them. ITWorks feels like my second family; the rest of the students, instructor, and staff. It’s been so encouraging to realize that I’m not alone in the struggle, and that we are all wearing similar shoes. You can’t get that kind of experience and support anywhere else. The friendship and bonds that I have built here, in just these seven weeks so far, is something I will value forever.
ITW: I know it might be hard to tell the future, but where are you hoping that the ITWorks program will take you?
L: Networking is my biggest interest right now, and I want to know everything I can about networks. My mentor likes to say, “Things happen for a reason.” I think that can’t be more true, so I am just being a sponge right now and soaking up as much as I can. I am curious about everything and am ready to go wherever the IT winds blow.
ITW: Anything else we should know?
L: Yes! For anyone out there who is reading this: if you have even the tiniest interest in technology or if you’re on the fence about college, I highly recommend you reaching out to learn more about ITWorks. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Quality education shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. This program gives students an opportunity to change their lives. However, an opportunity can be nothing more until you take action. ITWorks is waiting for you.
We can't wait to where Linh goes in her IT career! Interested in applying for the Fall 2018 class? Learn more and apply at www.itworks.org.