Teaching IT students to ‘get curious’

Curiosity, patience, and business knowledge are essential for a successful IT career, according to CCI Training Center’s IT Instructor Gary Drumm.

it-cci-gary-drum-thumb Gary started his journey into IT after a friend suggested they start an IT business together.

“I researched the industry as much as possible, and it looked like a viable way to make really good money, plus it didn’t hurt that I already had an interest in computers,” he said.

In order to prepare for his new career, Gary started to read as many books as he could get his hands on.

“I tell every class I teach at CCI that the secret to having a successful career in IT is to ‘get curious’,” Gary said. “I literally started by buying a book. And then another. And then another, until at one point I had over 100 books on various IT-related subjects.”

As well as his job as a CCI Instructor, Gary is an IT project manager for a hospital system.

“I help design and implement IT projects in an enterprise-wide environment. Everything from server upgrades, to Active Directory, IT security, and application implementations.”

Curiosity and patience key to success

Gary said it was his curiosity and enjoyment of a challenge that enabled him to have a successful IT career.

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“I’m a student of life. I love learning. I love challenges. I love solving problems and developing solutions. And I love business in general. A career in IT gives you all of these things,” Gary said.

“You get to play with technology and get paid for it, sure. But you also get the opportunity to see some really interesting and exciting things. You get to solve real-world problems. And that gives you a great feeling that what you’re doing with your life is worthwhile and important.”

Gary says if you are going into IT you will need a patient and curious personality.

“Even though people don’t think of it this way, IT is really a ‘people’ field,” he said. “You’re dealing with people all the time, and dealing with people requires patience. You also need to a curiosity towards new challenges. This field is constantly changing. So you need to be able to quickly learn and adapt, which curiosity is part of that.

A firm understanding of how businesses actually work is vital to a career in IT.

“At the end of the day, IT is here to perform a service for whatever business it’s working for,” he said. “When you work in IT you provide technological solutions to business problems. A good understanding of how business operates is really important to help develop and provide the right solution.”

Learning from the experience of others

Gary has been an instructor at CCI Training Center for almost three years and said he enjoyed working with his fellow staff members. He said it was CCI Training’s hands-on approach and the practical experience of its instructors that makes the school special.

it-cci-lab-4“I think the biggest benefit for CCI students is they get the opportunity to learn from people who have been, or are currently, working in the field,” he said. “There’s a difference between ‘teaching to the test’ and being able to provide direct, real-world examples of how this information applies. That’s what gives CCI’s instructors the edge; they have been there, in the field, doing the work.”

Gary said as an instructor he shares his knowledge and skills with students to help them understand technology.

“Hopefully my students can go out into the world and develop their own careers with the information I provide them,” Gary said. “I recommend CCI to potential students because, although it does take hard work to complete the program, it’s a very small commitment considering the impact it will have on your life. Once this is done, you will have an excellent foundation from which you can build an extraordinary career for yourself.”

Gary has great admiration for CCI’s students, who he said work hard to improve themselves.

it-cci-lab-1“All of CCI’s students are doing something practical to change their lives, they’re taking action,” Gary said. “I tell my students all the time how much I admire them and honor them for what they are doing because this is not an easy thing. It takes a lot of work.”

Gary said he loved watching the students learn and succeed.

“It’s awesome to watch them light up when something they previously couldn’t comprehend suddenly makes sense to them,” he said. “I hope I can give each student the knowledge and skills they need to go forth and build their career into whatever they want it to be, and that they have some fun along the way as well.”

For Gary, IT has been a dream career.

“It is a wonderful field of study and work,” Gary said. “You can create an amazing career and life for yourself if you take advantage of the opportunities that are out there.

“And CCI’s Computer & Network Administrator is a fantastic way to get your foot in the door in this exciting and dynamic field. And, of course, if you want to succeed, get curious.”