It’s our Delaware students’ turn to celebrate an amazing achievement this week – graduating from the ITWorks program! We had the opportunity to chat with one almost alum, Steven, to learn about why this program was worth it for him, and what he’s walking away with. Read on to find out how this college alternative gave him a chance to pursue his passion.
ITWorks: Congrats on your almost graduation, Steven! We can’t wait to celebrate on Friday. I know you just said that doing a spotlight interview would make it easy to tell your family and friends what you’ve been doing for the last four months – they can just come read this! So, tell us, what have you been up to at ITWorks?
Steven: For the last 16 weeks, I’ve been working my behind off! I have been trying to learn as much as possible about information technology as a whole, but also the niche where I want to plant myself. And you know what? I’ve been able to do just that! I have my A+ certification, I’m coming out of my internship at CAI with hands-on experience as a computer analyst on the help desk, and I am ready to explore my interest in cybersecurity. That’s how I would describe my experience at ITWorks.
ITW: I have a feeling there are a lot of details in between, but the message of hard work and working towards your goals comes through loud and clear. I can imagine you’ve sacrificed a lot, but you’ve gained just as much in return. Was it worth it for you?
S: Oh, absolutely! It has been hands-down one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life, and such a blessing. I can’t remember the exact moment, but shortly before applying to ITWorks, I had thought to myself, “You know what, I can’t be a cashier for the rest of my life.” Every day was the same thing. I had wanted so much more, and I was looking at the people around me seeing them in college, with a degree or working in a field of interest – and I was just miserable. That’s when one of my mom’s friends told her about this tech training program, and she encouraged me to check it out. I wasn’t doing anything productive with my life, and knew I had to give it a try. And once I get accepted, I told myself I was going to commit 110%. Here I am now. I literally had nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
ITW: It’s not every day that you hear people so confidently say what a good decision they made. What about the ITWorks program made it that way?
S: I would definitely say the networking opportunities. I met so many people through this program that I would never in a million years be able to cross paths with. The other thing that was a sticking point for me was the fact that it was an accelerated program. I was so discouraged from my previous college experience because it felt like I was wasting my time on the prerequisites. At one point, I was majoring in web development and I was forced to take an economics class. It just didn’t make sense to me. With ITWorks being a tech accelerator, I knew that I was going to use everything I was learning and that it was applicable to my goals. There was not a moment during ITWorks where I thought to myself, “Why am I learning this?” Everything we learned I either saw on the A+ exams, have needed in my internship, or has been a personal interest. You can’t say that about a lot of courses.
ITW: That’s very true! ITWorks is a program unlike any other out there. I can imagine that looking back on the last few months, you’re feeling like you are in a much different place in your lifeyou’re your career. What would you say this opportunity has meant to you?
S: It’s given me a chance at a career. I have a direction and a purpose for what I want to achieve, and I have the foundation I need to build that. I’m trying to think about what I would be doing right now if I hadn’t gone through ITWorks. It’s either still being a cashier or spinning my wheels at college not really knowing what I want to do. So as cheesy as it sounds, this program has simply given me a chance.
ITW: Sometimes that is all you need! We’re thrilled to have been part of the journey. There’s a lot of other young people just like you that are simply looking for a chance. So, why do you think ITWorks is important here in Delaware? Why should people know about it?
S: Coming out of high school, the two big things that are pushed on graduates are college and employment. But no one gives you a roadmap for what the alternatives are – like certifications. I didn’t even know about CompTIA in high school, and had no idea that a certification could give me a leg-up in a technology career. So I just think that not only should graduating seniors and their families have awareness about the ITWorks program, but high school counselors and staff should know that this alternative exists – and that it’s a viable option for someone who isn’t ready to go to college right away. I already know that once I’m in a place to give back that I’ll be going back to my alma mater, St. Georges, so I can tell everyone about it!
ITW: Our grads are the best testament to our program, and we can’t wait to see who might be a future student because of you. Is there anything else you’d like to mention? Anything else?
S: For anyone that might be curious about what it’s like going through the whole ITWorks process, here’s some intel. It’s definitely strenuous between the speed and content, so it’s not going to be for everyone. But should you find yourself in the ITWorks classroom in the future, stick with it! There are so many people that want to see you succeed between your classmates, the instructor, the staff, and the whole Tech Impact family. You are not in this alone, and all of your hard work will pay off when all is said and done.
Congrats, Steven, and all of our Delaware students! We cannot wait to hear how each of your IT careers unfolds. Good luck!