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July 14, 2016

Skilled IT Workers Turning To Soft Skills for Career Advancement

PrepareU ClassOn July 1, 2016, the /home">Creating IT Futures Foundation successfully completed the Raleigh, NC pilot of its new, free training class, PrepareU, which provides career skills for today’s tech worker.

Funded by CompTIA, /developing-programs/certnext/prepareu">PrepareU is a two-week, classroom-based course designed for technically skilled IT workers to help them land the IT jobs they desire and give them the tools they need to achieve pay raises and promotions.

“CompTIA and the Foundation have been talking to employers over the years and have often heard that soft skills are just as important as technical skills,” said Eric Larson, director of /researching-solutions/it-futures-labs">IT Futures Labs for the Creating IT Futures Foundation. “We are trying to fill a gap since soft skills are often listed as the top reason why someone does not get hired.”

PrepareU modules are designed to create realistic expectations for an IT career, prepare students for a job search and job interview, increase student confidence and motivation, build teamwork, demonstrate stress management tools, and develop good workplace habits and skills.

“Just understanding the various social styles has helped me understand how I make assumptions about others that may not be true,” said student and CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ certified professional John Fleming.

Raleigh was chosen as the first pilot due to the high tech area within the “triangle,” named for the three hub cities of Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh.

“There are a lot of pharmaceutical companies and companies that support fortune 500 headquarters within the area,” added Larson. “We know that there are a lot of jobs, and with the growth, there is a need for more IT help.”

The class consisted of 12 students ranging in age from 18 to 60. Larson said the wide range of ages helped due to the varying degrees of experience, stating, “it is our job to give them activities and labs to teach and challenge themselves and each other.”

To connect the curriculum to true business needs, lessons, cases, and simulations are delivered in the context of an IT managed service provider (MSP) company. A series of videos showcases issues that the MSP needs to resolve, culminating in a right and wrong way of doing things, which helps center the conversation.

“Young people graduating from high school like myself really need a course like this,” said student and CompTIA A+ certified professional Samuel Edwards. “It helps you prepare for the working world.”

Additional skills covered in the class included development of personal brand and a 60-second pitch, understanding roles of social styles and Emotional Intelligence (EI), and using active-listening and being persuasive.

“Developing my 60-second pitch means that I have something to pull from in job interviews,” said student Tajuana Powell. “It will help me be more confident going into interviews.”

Raleigh, NC is the first of several PrepareU pilots that will be deployed around the country in 2016. While registration is now closed for the Summer 2016 class in Minneapolis, MN, you can continue to check the /developing-programs/certnext/prepareu">PrepareU website for future dates.

“Employers of IT talent in all industry verticals consistently point to a job candidate’s professional skills as key to hiring and advancing pay and promotions,” added Larson. “Many IT workers have the required hard technical skills, but would welcome more finely honed inter-personal skills to impress an employer in a job interview to help them succeed on the job. With PrepareU, an IT professional can leverage the full value of their CompTIA certifications.”

IT companies, training organizations, and schools that are interested in partnering on a pilot program, please email Eric Larson.