Sunday, February 25, 2018

Introduction - Phase 3: Thar's Tech In Them Thar Hills!

Alright, I admit it...the title is way cheesier than I anticipated it being.  Having said that, I'm not changing it.  Not only that, but this posting was supposed to go out nearly four years ago!  On top of being exceptionally tardy, I also didn't write an outline, so I have no idea where this posting was supposed to go.  So, gentle reader, I will start where the last one left off, update you a bit, and we will see where it takes us.

Okay, so...that sounds like a good way to start this.  In the last posting, I took a leap of faith and attended LeaderQuest for some IT training.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about you can go to that post right now.  We'll wait...oh, good, you're done.  I was starting to get drowsy.

I took several classes, which laid a foundation for me to build a career upon.  I took four classes to prepare me for some CompTIA certifications, namely the A+ (220-701, 220-702), the Network+ (N10-105), and the Security+ (SY0-301).  Also took two classes to prepare me for the Microsoft MCSA: Windows 7 exams.  Each of the six classes lasted for one week.

My instructor, Gary Wheeler, was awesome.  A Vietnam veteran with a wealth of knowledge that he readily dispensed.  I couldn't have asked for a better trainer/mentor.

I went to class dutifully from early morning until early evening, five days a week.  Rain, snow, or sun.  Mostly sun.  Mostly, as this is Denver, after all.  I chose to take the two A+ exams on the same day.  Between the third and fourth weeks of training.  Not wise.  Not because I wasn't successful, as I passed each exam.  Not wise because on the testing day I was under the weather and extremely anxious.  My family and I were living with her family and it was very, very important that I make some progress so that I could be set up for a job.  And if you don't know it at this time, certifications are a great way to prepare you for a job and prove to the hiring manager that you are a good candidate.

Thankfully, I passed both exams.  It took me about another month before I was prepared to take the Security+ and Network+ exams.  Now, the first two exams covered material (technology) that I had followed for at least fifteen years.  That knowledge was the foundation that I built on.  With Gary's instruction, I was able to knock those exams out quite readily.

After those exams were passed, I continued on learning from Gary.  First networking, then computer security.  Once the CompTIA track was done, I hopped into the Windows 7 track.  Great stuff.  Taught me a lot of the finer details of Windows 7 that I was lacking.  I also got a lot of hands-on time, which was beneficial.  I waited quite a while before I took those two exams.  Mostly because I couldn't justify the cost of the exams given the job situation at the time.

After finishing up the classes, at the end of the second week of November, I threw myself into my studies.  I knocked out both the Security+ and Network+ exams within a week of Thanksgiving being over.  That really helped to boost my self-esteem.

Now, if you have ever been without a job for any length of time, especially after being employed for twenty-two straight years, then you know how anxious being without a job can be.  Luckily for my family, we had our modest retirement and understanding in-laws to rely on while this process was worked out.  So, I then spent a lot of time pushing out resumes, applications, and prayers.  I don't recall how many applications I put out there between the end of November and when I received a job offer (in late January), but I am certain it was between 100 and 200.

Thankfully, due to my association with LeaderQuest and being a veteran, I was able to apply for, receive an interview, and get offered a job at Level 3 Communications.  The commute was killer (about an hour or so each way in good weather, I don't want to even begin thinking about when the weather was dicey) but the opportunity was a blessing.  I ended up as a Network Operations Center (NOC) technician.

After starting in February, I took stock what it would take to get my family out of the in-laws' house and into our own.  This led me to apply for a job at Best Buy, in their Geek Squad.  Due to my military past and my nifty A+ certification, I landed the job.  That helped us get enough money coming in to rent our own house and get ourselves established in the community.

I worked at both jobs for roughly a year-and-a-half before receiving an offer to become an instructor for LeaderQuest.  Besides a bump in pay, it also cut my commute down to between fifteen and thirty minutes.  While I have been here (yes, I am still here) I have met some of the most amazing students, traveled to Texas, Florida, and Colorado Springs, and made some great friends.  So far, it has been an amazing, exhausting, and fantastic experience.

I am grateful for all the opportunities and can't wait to see what the future holds.

Well, gentle reader...oh, wait, you've fallen asleep.  I guess I'll quietly close this posting out and let you snore on.  Shhhhh....until next time.

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