From where I stand right now trying to get CompTIA A+ certified, I see a girl with about a million hobbies trying to do a million different things at once.This is where my movie pauses in the midst of chaos and I break the fourth wall to address the audience by saying, “You might be wondering how I got here.” So let’s rewind.
Years ago, when I was in high school – best years of my life! Just kidding. This is where I was diagnosed with a laundry list of issues. I was a good student who tried to do so much that I burned out to the point of barely graduating. I went to a community college, which was great, and I would recommend it to anyone. But I had no direction, no motivation and ultimately no money. I ended up dropping out, with no degree to my name. I worked in retail, food service, was a nanny, but I was still unfulfilled, broke and felt like a failure. I also have a host of medical issues and I was quickly becoming panicked about losing my parental-based insurance.
My friend, whom I occasionally nannied for, had recently gotten a job at CompTIA and told me about a opening. Hello full time job with benefits! I began researching the company.bTo be honest, this company seemed unreal. I knew it was an IT company, but on top of the certification tests, there were membership programs, a public advocacy branch, philanthropic endeavors, and so much more. I applied for an operations-type position, but I immediately felt like I had been given an opportunity to be a part of an organization that was making a difference in the world through tech. Visions of Stark Industries floated through my head, minus the super-suited crime fighting (for now, look out for the Iron Man+ Certification).
Once I got the job, I immediately saw more opportunities than even I had previously imagined. CompTIA made getting certified seem so awesome. I knew that I wanted to take advantage of the opportunities. I even joked about getting all the certifications. That must be the Pokémon Master “Gotta Catch ‘em All” mentality in me. Everything sounded like something I’m interested in. I knew for a fact that, at the very least, I would like to become A+ certified.
I’ve always been interested in tech. When I was young, my dad would often bring home cool, new tech items from his job. My friends were very interested in IT or even in jobs that were IT oriented, but I never felt like I could fit in to the industry the way they did. I had built computers with friends, played around with software, and even did a bit of html coding for fun in high school, yet I never felt as though this could be a path for me.
Out of all the IT professionals I have been friends with, only one has been female. I heard so much about new demographics (women, minorities, and underserved communities) breaking into the tech industry but, in all honesty, I never saw it with my own eyes. That is until I got to CompTIA and became aware of the opportunities available.
My goal of becoming A+ Certified this year will put me on the path that I need to be on. On top of studying the material and passing the test, I have to get over my own self-made hurdles. My biggest enemies include a full-time job, impostor syndrome, and Netflix – I’ll need to cut out some Netflix time [quiet sobbing]. Even though I often tell myself that I can’t, I feel like CompTIA and the Center for Technology & Workforce Solutions (CTWS) are constantly telling me that I can.
I am sharing my journey to obtaining A+ Certification publicly. Ultimately, I want anyone who is in a situation like me to find their way. I want to help anyone who might even have the slightest interest in getting an A+ certification! I also hope that writing this public blog will hold me accountable, keep me on task, and help me remain dedicated to the cause. My exams are scheduled for June so let the hyperventilation…I mean studying… begin! To directly quote Mike Meyers in the Comptia A+ Exam Guide Book – “You’ve got this!” Stay tuned…
Amanda Akerman is the Coordinator and Employee Services, HR at CompTIA.