When hiring managers at Atomic Data interview candidates for vacant positions, the softer professional skills the candidates possess often are just as important as technical knowledge.
That’s why Atomic Data has hired 9 graduates from IT-Ready — because they come to work already knowing the day-to-day expectations of a tech professional.
“I’ve found that IT-Ready graduates have been better prepared on the soft skills needed for a professional career, whereas a lot of people now entering the workforce are struggling with that,” said Mark Myers, NOC and Service Desk Supervisor at Atomic Data. “IT-Ready graduates have a good foundation, which makes the beginning of technical training much easier for us. They know how to be a professional in the workplace.”
IT-Ready is a free, eight-week, hands-on educational and training program that prepares participants for the CompTIA A+ certification exam, followed by entry-level IT jobs at area companies. IT-Ready is a program of Creating IT Futures, the philanthropic arm of CompTIA, the largest trade association representing the IT industry.
While anyone can apply to IT-Ready, the program gives priority to displaced and under-employed workers, as well as populations of people under-represented within the IT industry, such as women, ethnic minorities and veterans.
IT-Ready teaches participants important tech industry skills such as building a computer from parts, installing software, troubleshooting problems and setting up and managing networks. They also learn “softer” professional skills such as communication, job interviewing techniques and conflict resolution.
Upon passing their CompTIA A+ certification exams at the end of the program, graduates may qualify for a six-month paid apprenticeship with a local participating company — usually in the role of help-desk or technical support. Such internships often lead to permanent, full-time employment.
Myers and his Atomic Data colleague, Heather Stafford, NOC and Service Desk Manager, say it’s important that new hires have strong customer care skills.
“IT-Ready grads have a great technical foundation when they walk in through the door, but for me, the bigger thing is a customer service orient and the soft professional skills they bring to the table,” Stafford said. “In the IT industry, you often find that job candidates have technical skills or customer service skills, but not always both, and IT-Ready sends us candidates with both. It’s why we’ve hired so many.”
For Atomic Data, the combination of technical acumen and customer care skills is critical.
As a full-service IT solutions company, Atomic Data can identify, design, implement and manage appropriate technology solutions, regardless of the size of the client’s business or IT needs. Having started in data center technology, Atomic Data combines proven infrastructure with unrivaled, local, 24/7/365 support and monitoring. The company’s early investments in what’s now known as the cloud mean that clients of all sizes and verticals can leverage the power of the latest technology.
Creating IT Futures honored Atomic Data with its Polaris Award in recognition of the company’s leadership efforts in creating IT job opportunities for people who need them.
IT-Ready graduate Tucker Landis was hired by Atomic Data less than a year ago and already has been promoted.
“His personality was very upfront—he seemed very comfortable whereas people in interviews usually are nervous,” Myers said. “And it was clear in talking to him that Tucker wasn’t done learning — he wanted to learn more. And he’s been learning ever since he got here. He’s taken his knowledge and shown insight and initiative and that’s what got him promoted.”
And in today’s IT industry — where jobs are available in every aspect of technology — professionalism and initiative will pay off in career advancement.
“IT isn’t just for the nerdy kids anymore,” Stafford said. “The IT industry offers a diverse workforce. We are ever-evolving and ever-growing and it’s a great path for motivated people who desire to learn.”