CompTIA Helped Launch My Career in IT
Guest Author: Brian Zibricky, Vice President of Marketing and Products
NH Learning Solutions
In 1995, I was in my second year of teaching High School English to a group of “alternative” kids at an “alternative” high school. “Alternative” was a nice way of saying “troubled” as these were the kids who had been previously tossed out of their original high schools and were now on a perilous path, which in many cases, led to the street and in some cases to jail.
I loved my job—and more importantly, I loved helping the kids whose only semblance of family was found at our school, but at the end of my second year, I found out that the school district budget had been cut and all non-tenured teachers would be RIF’d. “RIF” was not an acronym I was familiar with, and someone had to tell me what it meant “Reduction in Force.” And so, I would have to start looking at other school districts for work.
At that point, I had to make a really tough decision: either continue in education or jump ship and start fresh in the booming Information Technology industry. After doing some research—and some soul-searching—it was obvious that IT is where I wanted to be. Windows 95 had just been introduced, and the PC-boom was about to explode. I had a natural love of technology, and I was fascinated to find out where a career in IT might take me.
It turned out my first stop was to get trained. Today at New Horizons, we train thousands of students every year that find themselves in a situation very similar to the one I was in over 18 years ago. That’s not surprising—people change careers or start new ones all of the time. What is surprising though is that the first step that many of our students take is the same one that I took in 1996—earning a CompTIA certification.
First established in 1982 as the Association of Better Computer Dealers, CompTIA has provided career-changers and career-enhancers an avenue to learn the fundamental skills necessary to be successful in the IT industry.
“My hunch was right. I earned my A+ certification and landed my first contract job days later. Once my first contract was complete, my recruiter had multiple job offers coming my way and one of them was from Castrol Industrial NA. ”
In doing the research for my new IT career, I discovered the A+ Certification. CompTIA’s A+ was introduced in 1993 and seemed to provide a perfect combination of PC hardware and Operating System information to prepare someone for their first job in IT. My hunch was right. I earned my A+ certification and landed my first contract job days later. Once my first contract was complete, my recruiter had multiple job offers coming my way and one of them was from Castrol Industrial NA.
I stayed on contract with them for a few months, and then they ended up hiring me on as an IT Support Technician. Soon after, I began studying for the CompTIA Network+ certification. Network+ is a perfect introduction to networking fundamentals like cable speeds and lengths, network types, and TCP/IP. A few years later, I moved over to a more operational role as an IT Project Specialist, managing new technology that was set to be introduced into Castrol’s network. I remained at Castrol for over four years and cemented myself in the IT industry. BP/Amoco then purchased Castrol and outsourced their IT department, so I was once again at a crossroad.
As much as I was enjoying my time working in a corporate IT Department, the classroom seemed to be calling me back. IT Training seemed to be the perfect fit. I would still be wrapped up in technology, but I would get to train new people on a consistent basis and put my teaching skills back to work. It didn’t take long for me to land at New Horizons Computer Learning Centers as a Technical Instructor specializing in CompTIA and Microsoft solutions.
I remained a Technical Instructor with them for over a decade teaching multiple CompTIA certifications such as A+, Network+, and the Security+ which was introduced in 2002. Now, I’m the Product and Marketing Manager for NH Learning Solutions, and I work directly with CompTIA to ensure we have the latest information on their upcoming exams and Product Release schedule.
I owe a lot of my IT career and the opportunities I was given to CompTIA. They enable hard working individuals with the fundamental skills necessary to make it in the IT industry. They also offer current IT people an opportunity to solidify their skills and earn career enhancing certifications. Like thousands of other individuals, the A+ certification started it all for me. That certification essentially got me my first IT job. I implemented those skills directly and then I went on to teach others those same skills. Now I work directly with CompTIA to ensure that New Horizons can offer those same opportunities to future generations of IT Professionals. What an incredible journey it has been!
Thank you for allowing me to share. If you have a similar story about how CompTIA helped transform your career, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
At New Horizons, we’re talking training everyday—and not just with a variety of clients, but with leading vendors—about industry trends and real-life challenges. And because of our close partnership with CompTIA, New Horizons is positioned to help businesses like yours leverage our knowledge experts to discuss strategies, implementation and troubleshooting.
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