Editor’s note: In a special blog series called “Where Are They Now?”, Creating IT Futures catches up with some of our first IT-Ready graduates to find out what’s new in their lives — and how their IT-Ready experience still is shaping their tech careers, years after the fact.
Roy Sizemore wasn’t exactly sure how his life might change when he enrolled in IT-Ready in Spring 2013 — but he would have acknowledged at the time that any forward momentum would help.
A single dad, Sizemore had dropped out of college to care for his son without financial or logistical support from the boy’s mother. He worked retail jobs — earning $8.29 an hour at his last one, after a pay raise.
“Coming from an economically poor background, I was stuck in dead-end retail jobs with no opportunity to earn enough to support myself or my family and no path forward into growing technology-related fields,” Sizemore recalled recently. “This cost-free program gave me the help I needed to start my career.”
Creating IT Futures featured Sizemore in a blog post shortly after he graduated. You can learn more about his backstory by clicking here, after he had just graduated from an IT-Ready class.
That was then. This is now.
Now is decidedly better, Sizemore said.
Within five years of graduating from IT-Ready, Sizemore exceeded the salary goal he had set for himself by 25 percent. He also met or exceeded career goals he set — including performing senior enterprise technology and cyber security administrative functions, and serving in managerial roles.
“I have built an IT department from minimal foundational resources. I have achieved compliance with PCI-DSS and HIPAA/HITECH in organizations that had no pre-existing compliance programs. And I have performed cyber security overhauls and integrated cyber security and technology risk into Agile and DevSecOps models,” he said. “Without IT-Ready, I would not have the training or certifications I needed to thrive in my past and current roles.”
IT-Ready was just the start.
Since then, he has earned CompTIA Project+ certification, and is completing his bachelor’s of science degree in software development. He hopes to pursue a master’s degree in business administration after that.
“IT-Ready is a major component of my current success,” he said. “I work in cyber security, so I use everything I learned in IT-Ready every day. But beyond the technology and security aspects, IT-Ready helped me learn how to study using online training and how to successfully complete that training. That’s how I receive most of my training now. And that’s a skill I didn’t have going into the program.”
Sizemore — who recently accepted a position as an information security manager for a multi-national financial services company — sees nothing but great opportunities when he looks ahead.
“In five years, I see myself continuing to grow in cyber/information security and taking on more even more challenging managerial roles,” he said. “None of these opportunities would have been possible without IT-Ready.”