Career changes are daunting for most, and I’m certainly no exception. If you decide to change your path – don’t expect the battle to end when you land the job in the career you are interested in. The following is my experience with changing careers to IT support, and what it was like to join the LeafTech Team.
Before August of 2019, I never worked in the IT industry. Sure, like many in my generation I dabbled here and there in technology; website design, logos, Adobe CS and the Half-Life PC game modding community – but I was never paid for those labours of love. From 2007 to 2011, I was an Officer in the US Army. After that, I was a firearms instructor, and then I found a position as a Parole Officer for the Colorado Department of Corrections. I supervised felons, many of them violent, every day for more than 4 years, but I felt something push me to reach for greater things. A drive to integrate my technological interests into a new career, and preferably one where my “clients” don’t wish physical harm on me.
Getting my CompTIA Network+ certification quickly opened up doors. Suddenly companies were responding to my job applications. I was pretty shocked at how much of a difference it made – it brought me some more confidence at plunging into a new career, and it also brought me some anxiety. Was this a good choice? Is this going to be worth it? Is this company going to be good to work for? Will I get along with the people there? All of these things swirled in my head.
When I was hired, I wasn’t sure what to expect. IT was unknown territory – I was blazing a path I’d never been down before. Starting in the IT industry was akin to drinking from a firehose – and asking for more. The task of beginning to take on support tickets my first few months was a daunting experience. I kept wondering “Am I doing this right?”, “Did I forget anything?”, as I stumbled through remote sessions, searching for the right credentials, wondering what to say, and trying to not look or sound like an idiot, (which I’m sure I did many times.) I created lists upon lists of possible steps to solutions before even beginning remote sessions, worrying that I could get off track. My team constantly added to my knowledge, giving good advice, and asking questions that made me think and discover solutions myself as well. Slowly and surely, the lists began to take root in my mind, and the framework for troubleshooting began to appear like a map in my head.
Fortunately, even with the incredibly steep learning curve of starting in IT, I feel much more capable in my new career now. I can actually navigate a good portion of my support tickets without assistance – because my coworkers did a good job of giving me the tools to deal with things independently. Hopefully I don’t annoy them as much now, since I’m not constantly hounding them with never-ending questions. 🙂 I look forward to continuing to grow, and giving the next individual that joins our team the benefit of all I have learned at LeafTech.