IT Education
Apr 4, 2024

Stuck at the Help Desk? These 5 Aspiring IT Engineers Cracked the Code

NGT Academy
NGT Academy

You know the routine. The waning hours of the day, checking off support tickets, babysitting laptops, and working through the grey hued workday with a dispassionate weight on your chest. Your stepping stone into the industry has felt far to much like a landing stone and after all this time it's no longer new and exciting. You can guess what will happen tomorrow and the day after that. You know what's expected of you when working help desk, and you meet it with resignation.Sound familiar? Working the help desk can make you think that there's nothing else to IT work and that you've seen it all one-hundred times over. We're here to tell you that's not true. These 5 trailblazers are proof that there's more for you after the help desk.

1. From Stuck in IT Support to Network Engineer

Chris Mendez was skeptical of NexGenT advertisements but willing to take a closer look and take a shot at breaking free from the mundane help desk. He developed an interest in learning about the back end of network engineering—a field that he was almost unaware of existed—and was fascinated by how different it was compared to his help desk position.He landed a role that is worlds away from being deskside IT support. His days have taken on new perspectives, more responsibilities, and new opportunities to explore his passions and pursue a balanced life of traveling and security. He went from a small company servicing a few hundred people to working for his city and servicing thousands of people. It was an exciting jump in his career and a title that helped him increase his income and provide more for his family.Chris found his freedom by breaking away from the help desk and is using it every day. If you are enrolled in the Zero To Engineer program, you are likely to virtually meet him as one of NexGenT's alumni mentors. You can also find his Day in the Life of a Network Engineer video on our YouTube page to hear a bit of his story and see how his work-life has completely changed.

2. The Change that Resulted in a Promotion After 20 Years

Al Minnigan had been in the IT field for 20 years when he finally decided to invest in his education and took the plunge into learning with NexGenT. He was sick of "babysitting laptops" as an IT field tech and was ready to challenge himself to learn more and go further in his IT career.His initial reaction when he encountered the course was built off of common excuses: I don't have enough time, I need to support my family, I'm too old to go back to school. With some tenacity and spousal support, Al took his shot and decided to sign up for NexGenT. "I underestimated my ability to learn more," he tells us.Al started taking initiative to help out in new areas of work and his boss took notice of the extra work he was putting in. When an IT networking position opened up that Al was interested in, his boss recognized his efforts and encouraged him to keep applying. Not long after, Al was promoted to a Network Operations Technician.Al has adjusted extremely well to his new position, enjoys having his own desk set-up with multiple monitors, and being challenged on a daily basis.

3. From Miscellaneous IT Work to Having Security as a Network Engineer

Chris Mickinnis was in an unsustainable grind of miscellaneous IT work that drained him and made him feel frozen in time. He worked with a small company, wore many hats, and often had to be on-the-go. He knew that his job would not sustain him and his family for long and he needed to move on to something more promising within IT. After watching a webinar from NGT founder, Terry Kim, he knew the Zero To Engineer program was his key to leveling up in IT. He created a schedule for himself to keep up with his self-study by playing the online course videos after his kids went to bed. He would even keep the videos on repeat while he was at work or in the midst of his commute to keep the information always fresh and flowing through his mind to help with retention and learning. One day, he was working on a project with a manager from another company who had heard of this program that Chris Mickinnis was studying. The manager was impressed by the fact that Chris had chosen to invest in his education and recognized that he was a driven and pro-active person. He asked to remain in touch with Chris and reached out to offer him a position when an opening became available. Even better, his new position as a Network Engineer for Kirby Corp now allows him to work remotely."I just get a little crack grin every time I say it because I can't believe it happened," Chris says in reference to introducing himself as a Network Engineer.It’s not always clear where to turn, what decisions to make when it comes to building a career you love and are proud of in IT. But it can be done, and with NexGenT, you can earn that state of pride and renewed enthusiasm for the work you do.

4. From 7 Years in the Comfort Zone to Cyber Security Engineer

Jonathan Flores only planned to be at Verizon for 6 months but stayed for 7 years."Thinking back now, I was very comfortable financially and avoided looking for another job because I didn’t want to shake-up my life. However, working 60-70 hours a week left no time for me to enjoy my personal life." Jonathan wasn’t fulfilled by working at Verizon, but it was safe and familiar. He recognized that he spent so much time working he became an absent spouse and father. He decided to do something about it and pursue a career change he didn’t think was possible. He was ready to start working to live and not living to work.Zero to Engineer showed him the possibilities of a future in tech and he felt like he finally had a grasp on navigating the IT industry."I’ll never forget what Terry told me about how prepared I should be for interviews, 'You have to be able to articulate things, make them tell you to stop'. Zero to Engineer gave me the IT knowledge I needed to think like a troubleshooter and helped me land a network tech role at Navy Federal."Today, Jonathon is still employed with Navy Federal credit union and has since been promoted to a Cyber Security Engineer. His future is bright.

5. From Tech Support to Network Administrator and a 20K Pay Bump

Nick Harvey was hungry for progress in his career and went on the hunt for a solution. He was looking for a different experience than his 8+ years in help desk and tech support—something new, a challenge.He attempted Udemy courses, but it missed the mark. What he wanted was accountability and an active community where he could learn and grow in his new IT pursuits, while equipping himself with tech skills that would get him IT jobs, and out of help desk.He found his perfect fit in the IT training program when he joined the NexGenT family.  When it came time for job hunting, Nick Harvey shared that though he didn't have the "practical" IT networking experience, but working on the Full Stack Network Engineer (FSNE) project gave him the confidence and solid understanding to take on his new network administrator role. "I really think the networking project we did is the primary reason I got the job," Harvey said.Harvey is now a Network Administrator, making an extra $20,000 annually. A salary increase like this makes a big difference for him and his family.[embed][/embed]

What can this mean for you?

Change is hard. Routine is hard to break free from. However, if these 5 examples of students that broke free from the help desk and support are any indication, it's worth the leap. It's more than possible to break from your help desk comfort zone and from your easy routine to go after something bigger and more exciting.  If you see yourself in any of these stories, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team and learn about what your options are via the chatbox on our website. We’re ready and hoping to help you build an IT career you love in a way that provides lasting connections, and solid foundations.You can apply to the Zero To Engineer program now and fill out a quick assessment to see if you qualify.

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