From Caregiver to IT Pro: Career Changer Launches Tech Career with CompTIA and Just IT
For many years, Faithlyn Waugh worked in health care, helping people with mental health issues readjust to society and improve their perspective after periods of in-patient care. The opportunity to make a positive change in the lives of some of the neediest on a daily basis was something she certainly enjoyed. But a career in such an environment can be taxing in the long-term. For Waugh, it was tough to sustain. She was looking for a change.
Waugh had begun looking around for opportunities to build skills in an area that would afford her a new professional experience – something a world apart from what she’d done before. A bit of online research led her to a critical conclusion – she was certain she could find her place in the burgeoning field of IT.
“It’s so fast and always changing,” Waugh said. “It’s such an important part in the lives of everyone. I thought ‘cool, I want to work in that environment.’”
And thanks to a relationship developed between CompTIA and platinum authorized training partner Just IT, it would be a field that she would be able to explore – though not without first facing some significant challenges as she found her way to an IT career path.
Career Challenges, Career Solutions
Pursuing a career transition is never an easy task. For Waugh, it seemed as though with each attempt she made to move into IT, she found an insurmountable hurdle in her path.
[Technology is] such an important part in the lives of everyone. I thought ‘cool, I want to work in that environment.’
Around 2014, as she set her sights on an IT career, Waugh came across Just IT. She looked into what they had to offer. Just IT’s training looked like the perfect way to brush up on those skills she’d learned back in college, build her confidence and add the professional credentials she needed to her CV. But then she did the math. With her current salary, taking on the training simply wasn’t in her price range.
She continued working and searching. She found another IT training provider that seemed like it offered a solid ground-up learning experience, but it folded after a month.
Waugh, it seemed was stuck. And it was a difficult position to be in. Waugh’s esteem for the IT profession had grown, and she knew that she had what it took – If she could just get a foothold.
“I just couldn’t see myself progressing in anything else besides IT – I must say that,” Waugh said.
Time passed, but Waugh had no extra money in her pocket and no way to absorb the startup costs necessary to take that first step into an IT career.
But those earlier interactions with Just IT had gotten her on their email list – which proved to be fortuitous. The CompTIA-sponsored scholarship opportunity in recognition of Just IT’s giving back initiative for two students to experience a full training program –and take the CompTIA certification exams – had just gone live.
“One day I saw the link to the scholarship in my email, so I thought, ‘go for it!’,” Waugh said.
CompTIA: The Key to a Growth Industry
Waugh was chosen for the scholarship and, at began her training at Just IT. In less than three months, she had taken and passed both the CompTIA A+ 901 and 902 exams, successfully earning the certification.
With her CompTIA A+ certification in hand, Waugh is poised to enter the workforce. But her IT education hasn’t ended – nor is it restricted to the classroom. Just IT will help her pursue job placement. Now that she’s proven herself as technologically capable, she gain hands-on practice, learning to react to the spontaneous situations that arise throughout a day in the life of IT.
It’s not without some trepidation that Waugh goes out into the workforce as an IT professional. But with CompTIA certifications proclaiming her baseline abilities, and Just IT helping her with professional prep work, interview practice and the other critical professional development skills, she’s got one foot in the door.
And at the end of her first year in the workforce, part of Just IT’s training package allows her to pick up her Cisco CCNA certification. She intends to do that and earn more professional certifications as she works toward becoming a network administrator.
And even as she takes her first steps into her new career, Waugh has no concern about potential opportunities. With IT certifications, the professional preparation she has from Just IT and the hands-on experience she’ll soon be receiving in the workplace, she’s confident that the world of IT is wide open for her.
“The roles are many!” Waugh said.
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Matthew Stern is a freelance writer based in Chicago who covers information technology, retail and various other topics and industries.
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