Bring a Passion for Technology to Your CompTIA Tech Career Academy Application

By Michelle Lange

People from all different walks of life apply for enrollment in the CompTIA Tech Career Academy, like healthcare, the police force and cosmetology. A good applicant doesn’t need a background in computers — only a genuine interest in technology.

“The bottom line is we’re looking for people who have a passion for technology — people who want to launch their career or advance their career in technology,” said Sue Wallace, who helped develop CompTIA Tech Career Academy. As vice president of student and career services, she helps people the training they need to get started in the technology industry.

She said CompTIA Tech Career Academy is looking for people who have no prior training or experience in the IT industry but who also have a passion for tinkering, problem-solving and using computers.

“Good candidates like to figure out how things work and they’re interested in getting into technology as a career,” Wallace said. “Give us your time and we’ll give you the tools that you need to get there.”


What Makes a Good Candidate for CompTIA Tech Career Academy

In a tight job market, plenty of people are outside the tech workforce, looking for a way to edge in. Wallace said applicants who are looking for something — anything — and don’t care much about the technology part are not the right fit. “It’s a little more difficult for us to be comfortable moving forward with someone who is saying, ‘Eh. I’m not doing anything else right now.’ We’re really looking for someone with passion,” Wallace said.

Good applicants are the person their friends and family go to when the TV doesn’t work, when their cell phone has a problem or there’s a new app they don’t know how to use, she said. “They know about technology but maybe they haven’t really fully considered technology as a career.”

There are documented requirements: applicants must be 18 years old and older with a high school diploma or GED (no college) and paperwork that says you can work in the United States. Find out how to apply here.

“It’s not just a technical training program,” Wallace said. “With the IT-Ready Technical Support program within CompTIA Tech, it’s also about job placement assistance for our CompTIA A+ certified graduates. We weave in career services and connect people to employers with the goal of assisting them into the job that’s going to get them started in IT.” 


Success Stories

Graduates of the program are often mid-career, looking for a change. In tech, the path is never clear — people go from shoe sales to sysadmin before your eyes. “Alumni often come out of the woodwork to say, “Hey, I just wanted to let you know I just bought my first house or I just took the family on a vacation and I wouldn’t have been able to do that before,’” Wallace said. “It’s great to hear the successes and just to continue connecting with people.”

“For those people who have the time to dedicate 8 solid weeks during the day to a program like this they can get in and out pretty quickly, get certification and get on the job,” she said.


Overcoming Financial and Confidence Gaps

Even people who meet the requirements of the program can get hung up on a few common challenges: money and confidence. Financial aid may be available related to people’s financial situation and representation within the industry.

“We continue to look at how we can make this financially accessible for people,” Wallace said. “In the past, we’ve been tied to funding streams that dictated how many people we could serve and the qualification for those individuals. With CompTIA Tech, we’re going to be able to cast a wider net.”

As for confidence, remember, everyone is starting from a similar place. “I think one of the ways we address the confidence gap is to let people know you don’t have to have a four-year degree to get into IT,” Wallace said. “You don’t have to be a math genius to get into IT and you can get a good entry-level job in a very short period of time without having a lot of experience.”

CompTIA Tech Career Academy offers mentoring, the ability to continue to build community, a classroom feeling, and academic advisors and instructors available outside of classroom hours.

“We want to continue to support people as best we can within that structure,” Wallace said. 

Classes in other cities will be opening later this year.


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