Inspiring Success

A blog from Creating IT Futures

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April 20, 2017

The future’s so bright, he’s gotta wear shades

JohnAmakyeIn the two years since John Amakye graduated from IT-Ready, his technology career has flourished.

Now an application programmer with the City of Minneapolis, Amakye recently earned his 10th certification as a certified system administrator for ServiceNow, and plans to sit for the ServiceNow certified application developer exam next month.

ServiceNow provides service management software via the cloud, allowing government agencies, companies and organizations to better manage their customer interactions.

Amakye earned his Full Stack software engineering certificate during an 18-week coding boot camp at Prime Digital Academy, a learning and career-building experience that was made possible thanks to financial support from the city. The City of Minneapolis recently featured Amakye’s story in a departmental newsletter.

Amakye learned about IT-Ready while in the midst of a job search. After experiencing an involuntary loss of his job in the financial services sector, Amakye had difficulty finding positions commensurate with his education, experience and previous salary.

IT-Ready offered a unique learning environment, Amakye said — supportive, engaging and collaborative. “The entire experience was one of the happiest times in my career,” he said. “I look back on my memories of the class with fondness.”

/developing-programs/it-ready">IT-Ready, a program of /home">Creating IT Futures, provides eight weeks of intensive, classroom-based IT education and training free of charge to admitted students. IT-Ready targets people typically under-represented in the tech industry, including displaced or underemployed workers, ethnic minorities and women.

IT-Ready students learn a wide range of hardware and software skills, such as building a computer from parts, installing new applications, troubleshooting problems, and setting up and managing networks. They also learn important professional skills, such as communication, customer service and job interviewing. At the end of the classroom training, students complete the CompTIA A+ certification exam.

Creating IT Futures is a workforce charity founded by CompTIA.

Hired by the City of Minneapolis in August 2015 for its service desk, Amakye said he could bring to his technology career the aspect of his former financial services career that he enjoyed most — interacting with customers and positioning them for personal success.

“In IT service delivery, soft skills are a crucial part of your role — listening to your customer, understanding the problem, communicating in a constructive way,” Amakye said. “Technical skills can be taught to any individual, but it’s the team-based work of IT — especially within a service desk capacity — that requires you to work well with others. Honing those softer skills behooves everyone and makes you a better team player.”

Amakye said he was honored that the City of Minneapolis chose him to attend Prime Digital Academy, where he learned advanced coding skills such as HTML5, Cascading Style Script (CSS), JavaScript, jQuery, PostgreSQL, working with and configuring APIs and the MEAN Stack (MongoDB, AngularJS, Express.js and Node.js). He said he’s looking forward to applying his newfound knowledge on the city’s behalf.

“There’s a movement afoot to make federal, state and local governments more customer friendly as well as efficient in terms of using resources,” he said. “I see my role in the next few years as honing my skills as a developer and contributing to a work environment that fosters cooperation, helpfulness and community, and improves the lives of citizens in Minneapolis.”

Amakye credited IT-Ready with giving him the leg up to the career he’s always wanted.

“Being in IT has made me financially independent and allowed me to carve a pathway for myself that is professionally rewarding,” he said. “I owe quite a bit of this to IT-Ready.”