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.”

For many careers, it would seem like the obvious first step, reading. One might think that in the IT field, you would have to know the jargon before you could even start to read. However, there are very beginner level books out there you can read that will explain the jargon to you as you go. If all else fails, if you’re reading about something and you don’t understand it, use the internet!

In addition to 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,” he explained. “Everything from server upgrades, to Active Directory, IT security, and application implementations.”

Curiosity and patience are key to success

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

“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.”

So many of our students say they are looking to change careers not only for better money or hours but to have job satisfaction. One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to have a job where you feel you are needed and valuable. It improves not only your quality of life at work but your quality of life at home. If you are miserable in your career, likely your family will feel that misery. If you are happy in your career, you will likely become a better wife, mother, husband, father to your family.

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.”

In any IT position, it’s likely that you’ll have to help those with a lower knowledge base than you’ll have after your training. Working with people and explaining technology to them requires a great deal of patience as well as a good attitude. After a while, things you start to take for granted as common knowledge will not always be common knowledge with your coworkers. Patience is key.

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.”

Of course, no two businesses are completely alike. Learning the ins and outs of your company will help you to better serve their IT needs. Your solution has to be based on what will work best for them, adapting your IT knowledge to their needs. The more knowledgeable you become about different kinds of businesses, the more marketable you will be in the IT field.

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 Center’s hands-on approach and the practical experience of its instructors that make the school special.

“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.”

Learning from people who are already in the field gives our students the best advantage possible. Instructors can help to guide you to where they think your talents are. They can give you tips beyond just what it takes to pass the certification exam. Our instructors can help you prepare for your interview and can help explain beyond just the job description the kind of experience you will have once you are hired to a position.

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.”

Having certifications before you apply for IT positions shows employers you are serious about your career in the IT field. It shows you have the commitment to learn what it takes to be successful. These certifications also will save your employer time and money when they hire you over another candidate who does not have a certification and will need more training before they are ready to do the job.

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

“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.”

Many adults find themselves in a position where they need to better their living situation. Recent divorces will mean a single mother now has to financially provide for her children on her own. Young adults who did not want to go to college, but are no longer satisfied working in the retail or service industry can find the lifestyle improvement they want through a career college without the expense of university.

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.”

Going to CCI Training Center gives you not only the knowledge to become certified in the IT field, but the confidence to go into an interview and know you are the best, most qualified candidate for the job.

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.”

Our administration is excited to help you figure out a schedule that fits your needs, so you can still work while training to pass your certifications. Call CCI Training Center or fill out the online form for more information about training for IT Certifications  that will give you a big head start and the confidence you need to go out and start your IT career.