Lighting a Fire Under a New Career

By Karen Stinneford

Isiah Rafos was training to be a firefighter for the U.S. Air Force when his plans went up in flames. 

After he fell and severely broke his leg during a belaying exercise, Isiah was laid up for weeks recovering. The Air Force’s firefighter training program was offered just twice a year, and his superiors weren’t interested in paying Rafos to wait around for the next session. So, they offered him a choice: Pick another career path or take a medical discharge. 

“And the alternatives were not good,” he said. “I took the discharge.”

Traveling back home, Isiah saw his city’s skyline framed with tall office buildings. 

“I said to myself that one day I’d like to work in one of those big office buildings,” he said. “But honestly, I thought I would end up as a cook in a restaurant.”


Taking an alternative career route

While searching help wanted ads online, Isiah found one for IT-Ready Technical Support and applied. Technology was something he had grown up with and was comfortable working with.

“I grew up with computers,” he said. “My father was a big computer guy; he showed me how to break them apart and put them back together.” 

Still, he didn’t consider information technology as a potential career because he assumed he needed a college degree in computer science. IT-Ready Technical Support demonstrated otherwise. 

“It was the first day of the program when I realized, ‘This is the real deal,’” Isiah said. “I thought, ‘This is an actual, serious class,’ and I went on to learn everything there is to know about computers.”


Learning everything he can 

Isiah graduated from the program in June 2018 with his CompTIA A+ certification in hand. He’s now employed at DiscoveryReady as an IT analyst in the hosting department.

DiscoveryReady was founded in 2005 by a group of experienced attorneys to improve e-discovery for litigation and regulatory matters, and in the process, raise quality and lower costs. By driving efficiencies and streamlining processes, DiscoveryReady is creating new solutions for information management in legal discovery for dozens of Fortune 500 companies. 

Isiah said IT-Ready Technical Support’s intense focus on professional deportment served him well for his new role. 

“It’s a professional atmosphere here, just like it was in class,” he said. “From being properly dressed to the manner in which you carry yourself and speak for yourself — all of that helped prepare me for the work I’m doing now.” 

With long-term career interests in cybersecurity analysis or video game development, Isiah said that for now, he is focusing on learning everything he can.

“These are the first steps I need on the path to my dream,” he said. 

Plus, there’s one more thing: Isiah now works in one of those high-rise cityscape buildings he passed on his drive home from the Air Force.  


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