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May 18, 2017

Accountant finds new career path in IT industry

Theresa_DembyFor more than five years, Theresa Demby consistently worked as a contracted accountant through various staffing firms. She held a bachelor’s of science degree in accounting and had completed master’s level accounting coursework.

Despite her education and work history, however, Demby struggled to find a full-time position as an accountant.

“Potential employers were reluctant to hire me because I hadn’t held a permanent position for several years,” she said. “Even when I explained my reasons for working as a consultant, some employers were reluctant to consider me as a candidate.”

Demby was browsing want ads in her community newspaper when she came across an ad for IT-Ready.

Offered by /home">Creating IT Futures, /developing-programs/it-ready">IT-Ready provides eight weeks of intensive, classroom-based education and training free of charge. The program targets students from audiences that include unemployed, under-employed and displaced workers; women and ethnic minorities who are under-represented in the IT industry; and veterans and their spouses.

During the course of IT-Ready, students learn skills that equip them for an entry-level position within the tech industry — skills that include building a computer from parts, installing software, troubleshooting problems and setting up and managing networks.

IT-Ready also instills knowledge about softer professional skills such as effective communication, customer service and job interviewing. At the end of the eight-week program, IT-Ready students take the CompTIA A+ certification exam. IT-Ready alumni are encouraged to study for and take certification tests to earn additional CompTIA credentials, free of charge, up to a year after graduating.

Creating IT Futures is an IT workforce charity founded by CompTIA.

Demby said she immediately recognized the job opportunities IT-Ready could offer and she applied right away.

“At that point in my life, my outlook on my career didn’t appear very promising,” she said. “I had been considering pursuing a different career, but wasn’t sure what career I would like to pursue. I wanted to make sure my current skills set was transferable and that a new career did not require several years of schooling. Information technology met those requirements.”

Demby graduated from IT-Ready in June 2016 and now works as a contract full-time employee with Hennepin County. Hennepin County, with its county seat being Minneapolis, employs thousands of people and serves 1.2 million residents. The county has 10,000 workstations everywhere from employee offices to libraries to the courthouse.

As an IT specialist associate, Demby provides technical support and troubleshooting assistance for PCs, hardware, software and operating systems. She evaluates and prioritizes incident reports from users experiencing computer-related problems, often traveling to replace malfunctioning equipment. She also serves on a team of IT experts helping the county transition to the Windows 10 operating system.

“IT-Ready provided me with the skills, knowledge and strategies necessary to perform my job,” she said.

When her contract with Hennepin County concludes, Demby said she is confident she won’t have any difficulty securing a full-time position — preferably one with her current employer, Hennepin County. She credits IT-Ready with making that possible.

“I am so glad I was chosen to be part of this wonderful program,” Demby said. “It helped me start a new career in IT and I could not be happier with my decision.”