“Do it! I have classmates and teachers [from TLG IT Careers] that I communicate with to this day. The network of jobs, knowledge, and resources will never be matched anywhere else.” Travis Taylor, a former Army small arms repairman and recent TLG IT Careers Network Development Engineer (NDE) IT Pre-Apprentice graduate motivates anyone who is debating on if they should join the program.
We are ecstatic to hear that Travis had such a wonderful experience with our program. In fact, we were told that he found out about the program through receiving a raving referral from another outstanding graduate, Jamie Vinciguerra. Who, Travis mentioned, provided him with excellent guidance throughout the process of entering the program and with his learning throughout the program.
Travis had spent about 8 years in logistics and maintenance and felt that he had a glass ceiling holding him back that he knew he wanted to push through. During his research, he discovered that IT was where he saw both fast logistics and critical thinking come together. “In my head I saw networking as the ‘Google maps’ of how information moved around the world. From that simple concept, I have sprung into tech and never looked back,” he said.
Travis had a fear of failure from the start. He never performed well in academics and was worried. He had to get out of his own way before he jumped all in. But, with sheer determination, Travis clearly excelled. Before he even completed his certifications and graduated, he had a job offer to work as a Data Center Technician at Amazon Web Services (AWS). Now, he works as a System Engineer contractor at LinkedIn and after 4 months there is already a team lead!
“The road sure has not been as straight and narrow as other graduates. But tenacity will get you there.” Travis said.
Read our interview with Travis below for all of the details on his path into tech and what his plans are for the future.
Did you know which route/direction you wanted to go in before starting (software vs. network)?
I knew I didn’t want to code and wanted to learn how data traveled. As funny as that first thought was, I am now dabbling in python as the modern networker in many ways as a coder.
What was the biggest challenge for you during the program?
The biggest challenge is burnout, in my experience. If you don’t let yourself have study breaks every 45 min to an hour, the mind starts wearing quickly due to the volume of information being taken in. My approach was to begin digesting information in 20-minute intervals. If I did not understand the content, I stayed there for the evening until I figured it out.
What did you enjoy the most during the program?
Cliff Jones must be one of the best teachers I ever met. His charisma and network knowledge are second to none. He took the first 4 weeks of scary tech and made it a clubhouse of learning. It was nice to meet someone on my first course who I could learn and appreciate for the long classes.
If you had one piece of advice for someone newly entering this program, what would it be?
Be ready to stumble, I struggled with my exams too. Don’t let the fear of failure decide your options. Many of my fellow students performed amazingly and were slotted for apprenticeships. I took a different route and went to AWS data centers. I love it and regret nothing.
What did the job search process and timeline look like for you?
My first job was easy, Karise slotted me for AWS data centers. I love data centers and I have been troubleshooting the network layers from companies like AWS to now LinkedIn in my first year on the job.
Is there anything that you would have done differently on your path to tech?
Paying attention to Python more would be my first step. Although many networkers don’t need to be amazing scripters, it will set you ahead of your competition.
What are you doing now? (Work, furthering education, etc.)
Now I am a contractor at LinkedIn. I worked my way up to team lead in 4 months. I recently passed Sec+ with a TLG pilot course at Syracuse University. See, the opportunity keeps rolling through with TLG friends!
Is there anything surprising to you about working in tech that you didn’t expect? If so, what?
My first surprise is how diverse the workplace onboarding can be. At AWS everything is automated and laid out to a militant level. At LinkedIn they expect you to use your skills to set your VM up, connect to jump hosts and be able to research servers on your own. Two different flavors to the monster that is data center work.
What’s in your future? Future goals, etc?
Currently, I am studying for my CCNA and learning python as I have time. Balancing my children’s needs and tech never ends. But I can say as a networker, team lead, and father – you won’t find a more satisfying and rewarding career. The balance is hard, but the learning, purpose, and people will keep me in tech for years to come.
Thank you for your kind words, Travis. We are thrilled to have such an amazing advocate of our program! You have accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. You should be so proud of yourself. We definitely are! Best of luck in studying for your CCNA and the never ending battle of balancing the delicate line of work and family. With your determination and dedication you’ll do great things.
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!