My Journey Leading to MATC
February 10, 2014
I’m currently attending Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) to complete the IT Network Specialist program. Let’stake a look at my journey to this point. In the back of my mind, I’ve always known what I wanted to do with my life. Computers have fascinated me since an early age. I remember sitting in my first computer lab in the 1st grade holding a five-inch floppy disk in my hand thinking, “it’s awesome that this piece of plastic has data for the computer to read.” It was in that very lab that I met my first computer teacher, “Ms. J.” She was my Yoda and I absorbed as much as I could. I was her apprentice for years. I’ll never forget the look on her face when I asked her what cookies were because the internet was gaining popularity. “I knew you were going to ask me that one day, pick a search engine and figure it out,” she said. I didn’t realize it at the time, but those were my final lessons with her. My time with her didn’t last forever, but luckily I knew so much more than the average 11-year-old, and the typical adult.
Eventually, high school became the new scenery. I danced circles around the computer teachers. I dare say, I knew more than they did. Computer classes became boring; the lessons were not providing any challenges. The other students would love to play 1st person shooter LAN party games while others were trying social media websites similar to MySpace. While the teacher would try to block these things to get students to focus on learning how to use Microsoft Word, I was the one showing everyone how to override her blocks. Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have done that, but this was the only way I could force the teachers to challenge me. Believe me when I say it became a war. It was interesting from my point of view, but it still was not improving my skills.
I graduated high school in 2004 but did not go straight to college. I started a family where I now have three children. None of the jobs I held then were computer related. Family, friends, and their circle of people would call me to fix their computer and I would get a couple dollars here and there. None of the work was verifiable obviously. It was nice at first but didn’t fill that passion I have for computers.
I did not pursue my degree or start my career not because I started my family at a young age, but because I was afraid of the IT industry. The excuse I made was IT was not a stable career choice anymore. Similar to outsourcing customer service to a foreign country, companies were not directly hiring IT personnel but were instead contracting to other companies providing that service. In a course I’m taking now, IT was compared to taking the red pill and the blue pill from The Matrix and to the rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland. I took the red pill a few years ago by going after a few Microsoft certifications. Christian Guilbert, the Microsoft Certified Professional, had a nice ring to it. With that and my MCDST and MCTS, I found a job that I enjoy and it fulfills that passion.
After three years of being everyone’s favorite and awesome on-site IT support technician for an urban high school within the Milwaukee Public Schools district, it’s time to take my career to the next level. So here I am at MATC. I not only plan on getting my degree in the Network Specialist program, but along the way, I will gain Microsoft server certifications, CompTIA’s A+ and Network+, and let’s see how I do with Cisco’s CCNA. After that, who knows how deep my journey will take me down the rabbit hole.