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Army Vet Continues to Learn & Grow in the Field of IT

Kevin Kraft spent over 23 years serving our nation in the US Army. In the Army, he served as an Information Technology Specialist and gained an extensive background in IT. After retiring in November 2020, Kevin started college at South Seattle College and worked as a Maintenance Supervisor at an apartment complex in Renton, Washington. He graduated with his Associate of Arts in Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services in 2022. At the year’s end, he learned about TLG IT Careers Network Development Engineer IT Pre-Apprenticeship Program through the Army Transition Assistance Program (TAP) and joined the first cohort of 2023.

It was an easy choice for Kevin because he felt it was only natural to continue down the IT path with all of his prior experience in the Army. He already knew he preferred network (versus software) engineering. With a confident and grounded outlook, he set aside three months to dedicate to the program, which paid off! 

Once he completed the NDE IT Pre-Apprenticeship, he encountered an intense job search. He was offered a position as a Network Engineer with SMX just a month after completing the program. Now, Kevin continues to learn and grow as he works towards completing his Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Computer Science from the City University of Seattle.

Continue reading our interview with him below to learn more about his experience and advice for others.

What was the biggest challenge for you during the program? 

The biggest challenge for me was learning Linux. Linux was something that I had never experienced before.

What did you enjoy the most during the program?

I really enjoyed being around like-minded people again. When I left the military I felt I had lost that sense of camaraderie.

What would you say to someone debating on joining the NDE IT Pre-Apprenticeship?

I would say to them to just take the leap and never look back. TLG can provide a very solid foundation for people who have never had any previous IT experience.

If you had one piece of advice for someone newly entering this program to maximize their experience and career growth, what would it be?

My only advice would be to set the 3 months aside and take the course as seriously as possible. You will need to know what you’re talking about when interviewing.

Is there anything that you would have done differently on your path into tech? If so, what would you have done?

My advice here is to dedicate some time each day to learning something new. It doesn’t have to be big, just learn a small piece of something each day. IT is like a puzzle and every piece is part of something bigger if that makes sense.

You’re now a Network Engineer at SMX, why did you decide on taking a job with this company?

Aside from being the company that offered me the most pay, I also felt like the position at SMX offered me the most room for growth and knowledge. I wanted a job that would posture me for higher levels when the time came.

What do you enjoy the most about your job? 

With this job I am learning equipment that I have never seen or used before.

Is there anything surprising to you about working in tech that you didn’t expect? If so, what?

I guess what has surprised me the most is that as a civilian you must fend for yourself. You have to be accountable for your own knowledge. If you do not take your job seriously there are hundreds of people waiting to have your very job.

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

Right now my short term goals include finishing my BA in Applied Computer Science at CityU of Seattle and then getting a Masters in IT management. Eventually I would like to be a manager in an IT department.

 

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Congratulations, Kevin! Your dedication and perseverance to continually honing your skills and learning more about the IT field is truly inspiring! We’re excited to celebrate your future wins as you graduate from your BA and eventually your Masters! 

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!