Inspiring Success

A blog from Creating IT Futures

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January 3, 2017

Chance Google search offers shortcut to IT career

Jon SungJon Sung was completing his second year of studies at Rasmussen College, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science, when he took on CompTIA A+ certification.

Feeling certification would increase his chances of securing a summer internship in information technology, Sung was motivated but struggling.

“After a long and frustrating week of pushing myself to study with the online A+ prep book, I realized I couldn’t do it on my own and needed help,” he said. “I closed the book, opened my browser, and typed ‘free CompTIA A+ training program in Minneapolis’ on Google. Not only did I discover IT-Ready from that search, but also the day I did the search was the very last day to register. Reading about IT-Ready thrilled me, and I immediately submitted an application that evening.”

IT-Ready, a program of 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 the main IT charity of CompTIA.

Sung said the “free” aspect of IT-Ready appealed to him, but he was even more interested in the program’s collaborative learning environment.

“There’s no doubt that the best part of IT-Ready was being in a room full of people who shared the same interest as I did, and I believe that’s what makes the program so effective,” he said. “Everyone has a different story about how they got to IT-Ready, but we all shared the same desire and goal to learn and make positive changes in our lives. Everyone was willing to help and motivate each other throughout the program — not to mention the encouragement and guidance we received from the staff at IT-Ready who are the most passionate people I’ve ever met. Honestly, being in that environment fueled my passion for technology and my desire to keep learning and moving forward.”

Like many IT-Ready graduates, Sung praises the program’s emphasis on developing softer professional skills. With his background as a cosmetologist and optical technician, Sung came to the program with several years of experience working with consumers. Those work experiences, he said, instilled in him a strong customer-service orient, which is important in IT. But the program pushed him to develop other professional skills, such as public speaking and presentation.

“And the mock job interviews we conducted as part of our IT-Ready training greatly impacted getting my desired job,” he said. “I was given a lot of insightful and constructive feedback from the recruiter, so I knew what I did well on, and what I needed to improve. It really helped boost my confidence during interviews and helped me land the job I wanted.”

That job is working as a help desk specialist for U.S. Bank in Saint Paul, MN, in the company’s IT Service Center. Sung and his peers support the bank’s 70,000 employees worldwide by resolving problems they encounter with desktops, laptops, telephones, printers, mobile devices and other hardware and software matters.

One of the best aspects of his job, Sung said, is that he’s constantly learning something new.

“The exciting thing about technology is that it’s always changing,” he said. “I don’t know what I might be doing five years from now, but one thing I know for sure is I want to continue to learn and never settle.”

Sung is taking advantage of professional development opportunities offered by IT-Ready and U.S. Bank to study for his CompTIA Network+ and Security+ certifications.

“I strive to master Network+ and Security+ with the end goal of becoming a Certified Ethical Hacker,” Sung said. “IT-Ready played a huge role in that vision. I was tasked with presenting a tech talk entitled ‘How to Secure Your Wireless Network’, and during my research for the presentation, I read countless articles about cybersecurity. The ability to understand the mind of a hacker to stay one-step ahead, defending your own network from potential cyberattacks…that fascinates me.”

Sung is grateful for that random Google search that led him to IT-Ready.

“You really can do anything as long as you have the passion, the drive, the focus and the support,” he said. “Following my passion for technology was one of the best decisions I ever made, and I’m beyond thankful for the support and guidance I have received from IT-Ready.”