Inspiring Success

A blog from Creating IT Futures

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December 12, 2016

Moving from forklifts to help desk, thanks to IT-Ready

Jeff DavisAfter spending 16 years working in warehouses, managing inventories and moving products on pallets with forklifts, Jeff Davis knew he needed a change.

Change came in the form of a lay-off notice — the third one he had received in six years.

“Logistics and warehouse work is very physical labor and the pay wasn’t good,” he said. “I had enough. I needed a new career.”

While searching the Internet one night about ways to break into the field of information technology, Davis stumbled upon the IT-Ready website. A program of Creating IT Futures, IT-Ready is a free education, training and career placement program. Students complete an eight-week course that prepares them to pass the CompTIA A+ certification exam, equipping them with knowledge and skills to secure an entry-level position in IT.

Creating IT Futures is the main philanthropic endeavor of CompTIA, the leading IT industry trade association.

Like many people, Davis assumed IT-Ready’s promise of free education and training was too good to be true — until he looked into it some more.

“I thought it was a scam right away, but I did more research and found out it was a legit school partially funded by CompTIA, so I figured, what did I have to lose?” he recalled.

IT-Ready requires that applicants either possess a high-school diploma or have passed the General Educational Development exam — a pre-requisite Davis did not meet at the time. So determined was he to enroll in IT-Ready that he studied for and successfully passed his GED within two months.

“I wanted this change in my life so badly, I pushed hard so I could apply to the school,” he said.

Davis describes his eight weeks in IT-Ready as life changing, an affirmative, positive environment where he learned hard technical skills — such as how to take apart and put together a desktop computer, and how to network computers — as well as softer professional skills, such as interviewing, communicating well with people unfamiliar with IT terms, and problem solving.

“I looked at my time in IT-Ready this way: It was like being in a three-month interview for an amazing job opportunity I really wanted,” he said. “I showed them how badly I wanted it and I got the job I wanted in the end. I will never forget my time at IT-Ready.”

Davis now works at U.S. Bank in Saint Paul, MN, in the company’s IT Service Center where he and his peers support the IT needs of U.S. Bank’s 70,000 employees working in locations worldwide.

“We handle it all — forgotten passwords, software issues, hardware issues,” he said. “We take anywhere between 10 to 15 thousand calls and chats weekly. That’s a lot of calls. Training takes about three months before you’re ready to take calls, and it’s about six months before you feel proficient in all aspects of the job.”

Asked where he sees himself in five years, Davis replied at U.S. Bank. The company is committed to giving employees opportunities to grow professionally, a thought that excites him.

“I am reading, learning and growing as an IT professional,” he said. “U.S Bank offers a wealth of IT knowledge and certifications and I’m taking full advantage of that.”