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Starting from square one: Navy vet decides it’s time for change

If you are thinking of joining; you already want to leave. What is stopping you?” Navy vet, Daniel Clark, said when we asked him what he would say to someone that is considering the TLG IT Careers’ IT Pre-Apprenticeships.

If you’re anything like Daniel, starting from square one in a new career was one of his biggest fears. He had spent over 7 years serving in the US Navy. Shortly after his time in the military he found himself working as a Heating and Air Conditioning Technician for over 5 years. He had hit a point in his career that he felt he needed not only a career change, but a lifestyle change too. His rich personal life and interests didn’t quite match his work life and he sought out to level up his career.

A friend of his had recently completed the TLG IT Careers’ Network Development Engineer (NDE) IT Pre-Apprenticeship and recommended it to him. So, he decided to look more into it.

Of course, Daniel had his doubts about a new career and was concerned about needing to start all over again at what he thought was an “older age”. He worried about the amount of time that it would take for him to get a job in this new career path too, but he took the dive.

Weeks before graduating from the program, Daniel was already interviewing with companies. He started a new role with Continuant as a Network Operations Center (NOC) Engineer shortly after completing the program. 

We asked Daniel for some insight on what the process was like for him and if there’s anything he would have done differently on his path into tech in the below interview.

Did you know which route/direction you wanted to go in before starting (ie: Network vs. Software)?

I wanted the network side; simply because I know we will always need networking and the need to maintain systems or devices that the software uses, no matter the version.

What was the biggest challenge for you during the program?

Focus- being remote at home with the distraction of home life combined with my idea of I need to get this down and I need to know this; when in reality I need to get down what I can and build off that.

What did you enjoy the most during the program?

New friends and learning what I actually like about the IT side of computers and networking

If you had one piece of advice for someone newly entering this program, what would it be?

Build a team. Understand that soft skills of teamwork are important to your success in the field so practice that during the cohort. Also, don’t be afraid to fail, or ask for help; you will need it and you won’t be weak or thought of differently for asking a question.

Is there anything that you would have done differently on your path to tech?

I would have done it sooner. The fear of office life isn’t actually that bad. If I can do it; you can as well.

Could you explain what the interview process was like for you to find a job?

I had three interviews, my first was with HR and it was more of getting to know me and feel me out and see if I’d be a good fit for the company. My second was with my NOC leadership and there it was still more getting to know me and my goals in this career and really nothing technical just more my understanding of monitoring systems and troubleshooting skills. My third interview was with my head of department and again, it was more of just feeling me out and understanding my mindset. I think nothing technical was asked; but more just getting an idea of where my head is at and seeing if confronted with a problem how would I proceed in the matter.

How has shifting to a career in tech changed your life?

For the better. Mentally and emotionally I feel way better than I ever did in the trades. The people I’ve met and become coworkers/friends with fit the narrative of my life better.

What’s in your future? Future goals, etc?

I will be working towards my ITIL cert and Cisco SIP and getting more comfortable within the NOC. I see myself here for a few years and then moving into something more centered on what I like. Could be here or could be elsewhere. For now my focus is just learning what I can and applying it. Our future is only as good as the groundwork we lay; so I tend to stay in the now. 


Wow, amazing work Daniel! Congratulations on how far you’ve come and we can’t wait to see how far you’ll go!

To learn more about your options with TLG IT Careers, visit our site or schedule a meeting with one of our Educational Consultant to discuss your unique needs and to determine if an IT apprenticeship or IT pre-apprenticeship is right for you!