IT-Ready grad Albert Lee has worked in the tech industry for less than three years and already been promoted two times.
Technology is proving to be a great fit for him.
“IT-Ready allowed me to learn the fundamentals of being an IT professional and paved a foundation for me to succeed in whatever position I have,” Lee said.
Lee currently works as a restaurant systems specialist at Buffalo Wild Wings’ corporate headquarters in Minneapolis. In his role, he ensures that all new restaurant openings or changes in ownership are properly configured and functional prior to their opening dates. He also manages relationships with third-party tech vendors affiliated with Buffalo Wild Wings to ensure smooth installations prior to restaurants opening.
IT-Ready is a free education, training and career placement program managed by Creating IT Futures. Lee graduated from IT-Ready’s Edina, MN, location in the summer of 2015.
Offered at no financial cost to participants and taught by experienced IT instructors in a classroom setting, IT-Ready teaches students skills that equip them for entry-level positions in the IT industry — such as building a computer from parts, installing software, troubleshooting problems and setting up and managing networks. Students also learn softer professional skills such as communication, customer service and job interviewing.
Although anyone can apply to IT-Ready, the program makes special efforts to recruit women, ethnic minorities and veterans, all of whom are under-represented in the IT industry.
At the end of the program, students take CompTIA A+ certification exam, opening the door to entry-level IT positions.
Lee applied to IT-Ready after spending several years as a paraprofessional in public education, working to become a teacher. Although teaching is a noble cause, Lee found the work environment discouraging to someone with career aspirations.
“Working for three years in the field of education, I realized there was little room to grow and I couldn’t reach my goals doing what I was doing,” he said. “My desire to buy a house and car, provide for my mother, get married and be more financially stable prompted me to change course.”
Participating in IT-Ready during the traditional summer break in education, Lee said he enjoyed learning more about not only technology, but also soft skills that help any professional succeed, no matter the industry.
“I learned the basic fundamentals required to be successful in a career, whether it be in IT or anything else,” he said.
After starting as a computer support specialist / tier 2 support on the Buffalo Wild Wings’ help desk in November 2015, Lee was promoted to IT service desk support specialist / tier 3 support just a year later — and to his current role a year after that. Growth opportunities at his company are available for people who want them, he said, and he is well on his way to meeting his financial and personal goals.
“IT-Ready provided me with the confidence I needed to move into the IT field and thrive in it,” he said.