Editor’s note: In a special blog series called “Where Are They Now?”, Creating IT Futures catches up with some of our first IT-Ready graduates to find out what’s new in their lives — and how their IT-Ready experience still is shaping their tech careers, years after the fact.
Roy Sizemore wasn’t exactly sure how his life might change when he enrolled in IT-Ready in Spring 2013 — but he would have acknowledged at the time that any forward momentum would help.
A single dad, Sizemore had dropped out of college to care for his son without financial or logistical support from the boy’s mother. He worked retail jobs — earning $8.29 an hour at his last one, after a pay raise.
“Coming from an economically poor background, I was stuck in dead-end retail jobs with no opportunity to earn enough to support myself or my family and no path forward into growing technology-related fields,” Sizemore recalled recently. “This cost-free program gave me the help I needed to start my career.”
Creating IT Futures featured Sizemore in a blog post shortly after he graduated. You can learn more about his backstory by clicking here, after he had just graduated from an IT-Ready class run by Per Scholas in Columbus, Ohio
That was then. This is now.
Now is decidedly better, Sizemore said.
Within five years of graduating from IT-Ready, Sizemore exceeded the salary goal he had set for himself by 25 percent. He also met or exceeded career goals he set — including performing senior enterprise technology and cyber security administrative functions, and serving in managerial roles.
“I have built an IT department from minimal foundational resources. I have achieved compliance with PCI-DSS and HIPAA/HITECH in organizations that had no pre-existing compliance programs. And I have performed cyber security overhauls and integrated cyber security and technology risk into Agile and DevSecOps models,” he said. “Without IT-Ready, I would not have the training or certifications I needed to thrive in my past and current roles.”
IT-Ready was just the start.
Since then, he has earned CompTIA Project+ certification, and is completing his bachelor’s of science degree in software development. He hopes to pursue a master’s degree in business administration after that.
Last fall, he even was featured on the local Columbus TV news as he talked to current students about the benefits of an IT career.
“IT-Ready is a major component of my current success,” he said. “I work in cyber security, so I use everything I learned in IT-Ready every day. But beyond the technology and security aspects, IT-Ready helped me learn how to study using online training and how to successfully complete that training. That’s how I receive most of my training now. And that’s a skill I didn’t have going into the program.”
Sizemore — who recently accepted a position as an information security manager for a multi-national financial services company — sees nothing but great opportunities when he looks ahead.
“In five years, I see myself continuing to grow in cyber/information security and taking on more even more challenging managerial roles,” he said. “None of these opportunities would have been possible without IT-Ready.”