First in Chicago and later in Minneapolis, Matt Clark worked as a shift supervisor for a prominent coffee retailer. He found the work much less satisfying than the tasty drinks he served his customers.
“I needed to figure out a career,” he said. “I was tired of always struggling for money.”
Because Clark was interested in information technology and had ability for it, he frequently searched career sites like Monster and Indeed for entry-level positions. It was while searching on those sites that he found an ad for IT-Ready.
IT-Ready is a free education, training and career placement program managed by Creating IT Futures.
“I honestly did not know what to expect,” Clark said. “But I figured I had nothing to lose — I already had no money. I figured it would be a good experience and maybe a good way for me to meet new people. It turned out to be the best choice I’ve ever made.”
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.
“IT-Ready helped me gain the confidence and knowledge to successfully start my IT career and learn how to work with a team of other like-minded professionals,” Clark said. “Amongst everything we learned, we worked on our resumes and practiced interview questions so we could learn from each other and understand what employers are looking for. I was very appreciative of that.”
Upon graduating from the program and earning CompTIA A+ certification, Clark accepted a position at Atomic Data in Minneapolis.
As a full-time Service Desk Technician at Atomic Data, Clark is responsible for providing resolutions to external and internal customers through expert problem identification, analysis and appropriate troubleshooting.
“I’ve always been impressed not only with how quickly Matt learned on the job, but how his ambition to keep improving seems endless. He is always working to improve his knowledge and teaching himself new skills,” said Mark Myers, Atomic Data Service Desk Supervisor.
Atomic Data is a Minneapolis-based IT solutions provider delivering sophisticated, custom-tailored IT solutions to companies large and small, single site or multinational, in-house or in the cloud. Atomic Data works with a company’s IT department — or acts as its IT department —to design, equip and maintain the solutions for today’s challenging IT environments. Atomic Data’s areas of expertise include IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, The Atomic Cloud® private virtualization, data center colocation, disaster recovery consulting, private connectivity, 24x7 network monitoring and Service Desk support, on-site support, custom software development, voice solutions and web hosting.
Atomic Data recently became the first Platinum Mission Investor for Creating IT Futures. The company has been an employment partner with IT-Ready since 2013, having already hired nine IT-Ready graduates to diversify and expand its workforce.
“As the need for tech-skilled employees explodes, programs like Creating IT Futures are an invaluable resource to the community and its businesses. Atomic Data has, and will continue to benefit from our relationship with Creating IT Futures through their well-trained graduates,” said Jim Wolford, co-owner and CEO of Atomic Data.
Clark said he isn’t exactly sure where his newfound career will take him — but he is confident it’s nowhere but up.
“I see myself advancing in the IT field,” he said. “IT-Ready absolutely played a role in my career. I’m not sure I would even have begun a career in IT if is wasn’t for IT-Ready.”