Bartender Trades in Taps and Glasses for Tech Career

By Karen Stinneford

A bartender for 10 years, Matthew Kerr worked in two different bars just to cobble together full-time hours. 

“I was making OK money,” he said. “But I had no benefits and no real career goals.” 

Matthew was searching on Craigslist for other bartending gigs when he found an advertisement for IT-Ready Technical Support. He disregarded it. For starters, he thought it was a scam. Secondly, even if it wasn’t a scam, Matthew didn’t have a wealth of tech experience. 

“My main IT experience was setting up video games with friends online — it wasn’t anything professional,” he said. “Every once in a while, I would fix a computer for a friend. But that was the extent of it.”

But the women in Matthew’s life — his then-fiancé and now wife, and his mother — felt differently. And they made their opinions abundantly clear. 

“My wife and my mother pushed me to sign up for the program,” he said. “It took a lot of convincing. My mom was always trying to tell me to go into IT. She said I had good people skills and that it would be a good field. It took them nagging me for a while before I applied.”

But apply Matthew finally did, and he was admitted to the program taking place in the Twin Cities in the winter of 2015. 


Learning the fundamentals 

“IT-Ready taught me the fundamentals of working in technology,” he said. “Whether it was troubleshooting problems, training large groups of people, or dealing with computer issues I’ve never seen before, IT-Ready prepared me for all of it.” 

Matthew also learned critical professional comportment skills, such as workplace etiquette, communication, customer service and job interviewing. 

“I have to say the one thing that really stood out with me was public speaking,” he said. “I know, it doesn’t seem IT-related, but that is one thing the program helped me with more than anything else. You do not realize that you may stand in front of a large group training them in new technology. Before the program, I would have stood in front of a group shaking and sweating. But IT-Ready prepared me for the situation and it is a breeze now.” 

At the end of the program, Matthew successfully secured the CompTIA A+ certification he needed to launch his new career in technology. 


'It’s given me the ability to support my family’

Matthew has worked in the tech industry full-time for three years now. During that time, he has taken advantage of professional development opportunities offered through IT-Ready Technical Support, namely securing additional certifications such as CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+ and CompTIA Server+

Asked how his life is different today than it was three years ago, Matthew said, “I can’t credit IT-Ready with buying my house or having my baby. But I can’t imagine being able to accomplish either without the program. It’s given me the ability to support my family and the freedom to do what I want in my life.”

And he encourages other people to consider IT-Ready Technical Support, even if they don’t have a great deal of experience in technology.

“Don’t think that you know too little to be able to get involved with IT,” he said. “If you’re willing to learn and you’re willing to put in the time, then you can succeed. This program really changes lives. And it’s not a scam. It seems too good to be true, but I guess sometimes in life, things really are what they seem.” 


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