It’s been five years since Michael Dauffenbach graduated from IT-Ready and started his tech career at Medtronic, one of the world’s largest medical technology, services and solutions companies.
And it’s been four years since he visited the White House to help promote then-First Lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to secure civilian employment for veterans leaving active duty. Creating IT Futures featured Dauffenbach on its blog after his visit to Washington, D.C.
He’s also steadily risen up through the ranks of IT responsibility at Medtronic — working first on its help desk to support end-users, then supporting field sales representatives, and then becoming the mobility expert for the help desk before being hired into the corporate IT management group.
“My job is to design, implement and support enterprise solutions for managing mobile devices in a corporate workspace to ensure the security of data and access to needed resources,” Dauffenbach said.
IT-Ready is a free education, training and career placement program offered by Creating IT Futures. During their training, IT-Ready students learn skills such as building a computer from parts, installing software, troubleshooting problems and setting up and managing networks. They also learn softer professional skills critical for upward career mobility such as communicating effectively, dealing with difficult people, and providing excellent customer care.
At the end of IT-Ready, students take the CompTIA A+ certification exam.
Asked what skills he picked up in IT-Ready that he continues to use five years afterward, Dauffenbach cited his soft professional skills training.
“IT knowledge can be learned by anyone, but the skills that carried me this far have been the soft skills IT-Ready promotes,” he said. “Without soft skills, interviews and everyday interactions with end-users over the phone or in person would be much harder. I do not hesitate to say soft skills are a requirement alongside technical skills.”
Also helpful, Dauffenbach said, was what he didn’t learn in IT-Ready.
“Very little of what I went through with IT-Ready relates to the mobility space — but they did teach me that I didn’t know everything,” he said. “I learned that the landscape of IT is constantly changing and that the more you keep at it, the more you learn; there’s always work to be done in a variety of IT fields.”
Asked what his future might look like in another five years, Dauffenbach said he wasn’t sure —but he was fairly certain it would involve greater responsibility. Most importantly, he has choices and opportunities for growth.
“And I thank IT-Ready for all of that,” he said. “I am really grateful.”