Inspiring Success

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October 20, 2016

Recent grad Tucker Landis charts new pathway at Atomic Data, thanks to IT-Ready

TuckerLandis_blogCall it a mother’s intuition. When Tucker Landis’s mom saw an ad for IT-Ready, she immediately knew the program was exactly what her son needed. So she encouraged him to apply.

Strongly encouraged him to apply.

“My mother, who works in the IT industry on the sales side, had heard about the IT-Ready class and in so many words instructed me to fill out an application,” Landis said. “So I did.”

Landis was in no position to argue with her. After working for years as a bartender, Landis had developed a serious drinking problem. Striving hard to maintain newfound sobriety, he quit tending bar and moved back in with his parents, where the question quickly became, so…what now?

Which is where the nudge from Mom helped. She knew that for Landis, technology would be a smart alternative occupation for his new life path, he said.

“While I didn’t have any experience working in the tech industry per se, I had a lot of experience working with technology,” he said. “I built computers with my cousin when we were kids, did a lot of video gaming and playing around, things of that nature. I was always the guy people came to see if they had a computer issue.”

Landis knew that IT jobs are plentiful and that they’re good jobs — offering attractive wages and hours and upwardly mobile career paths. He just needed an on-ramp to the industry, which is where IT-Ready came in.

IT-Ready is a tech industry skills education, training and career placement program sponsored by the Creating IT Futures Foundation. The Foundation is the philanthropic arm of CompTIA, the world’s largest IT industry association.

IT-Ready is offered completely free of charge to participants, and the program actively seeks to recruit people who are under- or unemployed as well as populations typically underrepresented in the IT workforce, such as women and people of color.

During eight weeks of intensive, classroom-based training at IT-Ready, Landis learned the hard technical and soft professional skills he needed to secure an entry-level position in the field. He learned about laptop and desktop assembly; how to install and configure different operating systems; and how to troubleshoot computers and devices such as smart phones and printers.

On the soft skills front, Landis learned career-enhancing characteristics such as how to interview effectively, communicate clearly and work well with others, and how to craft a professional-looking resume.

“IT-Ready prepared me to market myself by helping me understand how job seeking works and how to talk to people to make yourself stand out,” he said. “In terms of technical skills, I learned a lot about how Windows works as well as the ins and outs of the hardware of the computer.”

At the end of IT-Ready, students take the CompTIA A+ certification exam. Afterward, they may qualify for a six-month paid apprenticeship with a local participating company, usually in the role of help-desk or technical support. These internships often lead to permanent, full-time employment.

IT-Ready is offered by the Creating IT Futures Foundation in Minneapolis / St. Paul.

Shortly after graduating from IT-Ready, Landis secured a job with Atomic Data, a Minneapolis-based IT solutions provider that delivers sophisticated, customized IT solutions to companies large and small, single site or multi-national, in-house or in the cloud. Working either with a company’s IT department or as the company’s IT department, Atomic Data can design, equip, and maintain solutions for today’s challenging IT environments.

Since joining Atomic Data less than a year ago, Landis already has been promoted to Network Operations Center Technician Level II and Team Lead. He enjoys his work, which involves monitoring from the top down the technical operations of hundreds of clients and assisting them with everything ranging from a broken monitor to network devices to infrastructure devices.

It’s definitely a field in which he can grow professionally and personally, Landis said. He especially enjoys the ins and outs of network management and systems engineering.

“My options a year ago were slim to none,” Landis said. “It was a rough, rough, ROUGH year. But I couldn’t be happier now. I am 10,000 times better off than I was and 10,000 times more hopeful about my future.”