Even though I work in Dallas, Texas, I still consider my home to be Lynn, where I grew up. Sadly, there was a lot of gang violence during my time there — so much so that you had to be mindful which street you walked down. And while my brother was associated with a gang, I knew enough to stay away from that crowd.
As a kid, I enjoyed working with computers and would fix my own laptop when it wouldn’t work, which led to me attending Lynn Vocational Technical Institute for its Computer Web Design and Programming classes. From there, I enrolled at North Shore Community College in Computer Information Systems. The friendly employees, flexible hours, convenience, and supportive teachers made it easy to graduate from NSCC.
“Supportive teachers made it easy to graduate from NSCC.”
I had a lot of jobs while in school: a crew member at a fast food restaurant, a custodian for Lynn Public Schools, a parking clerk at Lynn City Hall, and an image/print tech lead at a retail store. At each job, I found something that made me want to go to work every day, but while I enjoyed learning the procedures and working with great people, the IT piece was still missing. I joined Year Up because it was hard to find an IT job by myself. I knew the content, but I didn’t have the right work experience.
Year Up’s Career Fair led to an interview with Suffolk and, on the same day, an offer for a Help Desk Analyst contractor job. They told me my soft skills and IT background were what stood out to them along with my Associate degree.
Year Up taught me to take initiative in order to achieve what I want. During my internship with Boston Medical Center, I learned a lot from a team that was organized and had phenomenal communication. So much so, that at Suffolk, I took the initiative to share with my manager what I learned at BMC that could be used to improve our team — which led to my first promotion.
Three months later, I received another promotion to be a Smart Lab Engineer in Dallas. The Smart Lab is our center for innovative collaborative technology, like the Huddle Wall, Surface Hub, Data Wall, Job Site Live Feed, Vive VR, and CAVE VR. My job is to introduce the tech to prospective clients and handle all IT issues for the office. I was always a little stressed and busy at my other jobs, enough that I’d be really tired at the end of the day. Now, I’m energized — I love learning about the latest tech and getting the chance to work with clients.
What’s next? Now, I’m taking networking courses and working toward my CCNA networking certificate. My goal is to one day become a Network Engineer and the backbone for a tech company.
“Year Up taught me to take the initiative to achieve what I want.”