Career Switch: Caretaker to IT Pro

By Amy Eernisse-Liang

Christina Maxwell is finding adventure and pleasant surprises along her career change to IT. For years before she entered the IT-Ready program created by Creating IT Futures and is now part of the CompTIA Tech Career Academy, she was interested in an IT career. Similar to other students who participate in the program, she had no idea how to enter the IT workforce until she stumbled upon a local job board posting for IT-Ready in 2018.

She always had wanted to help people. When Christina was in high school, she aspired to be a social worker or maybe a nurse. She started working as an in-home support provider for Multnomah County in Oregon and truly loved the work she did. She worked in this field for 12 years before stumbling upon her next career adventure. After one of her clients died, she decided to rethink her next steps. As much as she loved caretaking and helping people, she was feeling a bit burned out due to the low wages and the emotionally taxing nature of her work.


Feeling burnt out but looking for a new career adventure

When Christina first saw the ad for the program, she was on unemployment and had no idea how this certification could bridge employment gaps and get her a foothold into the industry, despite her long-time interest in the IT field. Although she didn’t know what to expect, she had nothing to lose. She applied to the program during the summer, was accepted, and a few years later, her life has changed drastically both professionally and personally.

Christina whizzed through the program and passed her certification exams with flying colors. She was quickly hired for a contract position with Sage Software, a multi-national accounting software company. After proving herself with the company, she was brought-on full-time and currently works as a software support associate.

In two years of very hard work, Christina has almost doubled her income while becoming the go-to person for supporting difficult software issues as she works with multiple modules of Sage’s software.  Within this role, Christina has learned a lot about herself, including a realization that she has a great knack for team building – something she didn’t even know she had in her.


IT-Ready training stays with you on the job

When asked about the impact IT-Ready has had on Christina, she says, “I mean, I could write a novel about the ways in which IT-Ready prepared me for the work I'm doing. Even today I will encounter something I haven't done before, I'll remember the instructor talking about it, and it will all click into place. Not only from a technical perspective, but I also gained a lot of confidence as a person from this program. I thought something was impossible, unreachable for me, and now here I am doing it.”

Christina also commented on the IT industry in light of COVID-19 and some lessons that have truly impacted her as an IT professional in this pandemic. She is constantly reminded of a quote by Grace Murray Hopper that her IT-Ready instructor shared with the class: “The most damaging phrase in language is ‘we've always done it this way.’” Christina used this quote to emphasize the importance of the ever-evolving nature of everything and that those who are adventurous and curious really have an amazing opportunity to thrive in the IT industry.

Christina is truly thriving in the industry, and this is just the beginning of Christina’s IT adventure. Perhaps, Christina will build and maintain cloud environments or manage the IT for a small business 10 years from now; she’s still discovering what role might best suit her. One thing is for sure, she will continue to evolve and grow personally and professionally within this ever-changing and dynamic industry.


IT job and salary pave way to greater personal satisfaction

Christina’s leap into the industry has not only positively impacted her life professionally, but profoundly in a personal way. For the first time in 15 years, she was able to purchase a car of her own. She loves going on outdoor adventures and having a car has afforded her the ability to wander the wilderness whenever she pleases with her favorite pal, Snoops, her pup.

However, meeting her fiancé soon after she began her new job at Sage Software is probably the most surprising of all the ways Christina’s IT adventure impacted her life personally, as she reiterated her gratitude for the IT-Ready program, “It changed my life so monumentally.”


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