To advance my career, education has been the main avenue I have chosen. After earning my associate’s degree, it was only a matter of time before I began working as a Business Analyst for Assurant. My annual salary was $29k. Budgeting and data analysis were easy for me. However, I couldn’t keep my place after seven years. I had to change my career and look for new exciting opportunities that would allow me to learn and grow.
I have always loved IT but wasn’t sure how to get into it. I quit my $48k/year salary at Assurant to enroll as a full-time student at Bowling Green State’s computer science program. My time at Bowling Green was cut short by the 2008 financial crisis. Because I couldn’t renew my student loan, I didn’t finish my degree. My financial situation was getting worse every day and I had to act quickly.
A friend from Bowling Green found me a job at Consumer Choice Marketing. Consumer Choice Marketing was not the most generous in terms of compensation. However, it was more affordable than being unemployed and the $35k/year salary was a better deal than being unemployed. What I didn’t expect was my friend leaving the company so quickly, which forced me to accept his position as IT Manager.
I had no IT experience and was suddenly in charge of the entire IT department. Most of my troubleshooting techniques consisted of unplugging/plugging cables and calling external consultants for assistance. Things went very smoothly until we upgraded our Linksys to a Cisco 2901 industrial router. I had no idea how to set up the router so I called again a consultant.
I watched the consultant set up the router, and I was hooked. I began researching networking programs without even knowing what I was looking to find. I didn’t know how to get started in the networking field, but I knew what I wanted to do. After spending hours online and purchasing expensive learning materials for certifications, I realized I was lost. It seemed like a bad idea to go back to school, but then I discovered the Zero to Engineer program.
Zero to Engineer gave me a comprehensive overview of the entire IT industry and how I could navigate it. For the first time in my adult life, I had the clarity and vision to enter the IT industry. Perfect timing was also key because Consumer Choice was letting several people go, and I knew it was the right time to move on.
After completing the program, I was offered a position as a Network Administrator at the Toledo Public Schools District. Terry was my mentor throughout the interview process. I was offered the job at a salary of $57k/year. I have been in the position for two years and manage the entire school district’s network infrastructure. I am now making $69k/year and this is possible because of the mentorship and knowledge I gained through the Zero to Engineer program. I plan to become a Systems Engineer and a consultant for local businesses in the near future.
Zero to Engineer provides students with the experience and training that no one offers in tech education. It exposes students all aspects of networking and equips them the knowledge and tools they need to enter the IT industry.