samantha-dupuyBroward College student Samantha Dupuy is currently wrapping up an apprenticeship as an IT Support Specialist. She previously worked in both higher education and the K-12 school system. In this guest interview, she provides insight on how she transitioned from education to IT through the Broward College apprenticeship program, and advice for other students considering an apprentice or pre-apprenticeship program.

What inspires you with the career and goals you have for yourself?

I aim to be a better version of the person I was yesterday. I always strive to be someone that my family can be proud of. My desire for self-actualization drives me, and the person I know I can be inspires me to push forward.

What is it that draws you to technology?

I love how dynamic technology is. It is constantly evolving in ways that shape how we interact with the world. Just think about all the inventions that have been created within the past 10 years. Looking at how far we’ve come and knowing that there’s still much to do, it’s amazing! Integrating myself within the field allows me to keep myself current and be a part of these changes.

What are the difficulties you have with studying? How do you work around those difficulties? What are your success strategies?

Studying has always been something that comes easy to me. I have my background to thank for that. I worked in education for about seven years, the majority of which was in higher education as a supervisor for Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Teaching and Learning. In a sense, I consider myself a professional student. Teaching and learning has been integrated into my daily routine.

In the case where someone expresses difficulty with studying, here are some steps to creating a study plan:

First, understand yourself as a student. How do you learn? You can look up a learning strategies quiz to gain a better understanding of your learning style.

Next, know your personal constraints. These are the things that would pose a challenge to your learning. For example, if you work a full-time schedule, in addition to a part-time job, you are limited in the amount of time you have to study. Create a study schedule that best accommodates your lifestyle. Make it realistic and honest. If you are not available on weekends, break your study time into chunks that can be done during the week.

Stay consistent! This is not to mean that your study plan won’t change, but do your best to stick to your schedule as much as possible.

What are your goals?

My short-term goal was to complete the pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship program to gain the skills needed to become a viable candidate for an IT position. As of this post, I have earned the following CompTIA certifications: A+, Network+, Security+, Cloud+, and Project+. I am also certified in Essential Soft Skills. Nearing the end of my apprenticeship provided me with one year of IT experience that I can use to navigate the industry. My long-term goals are shaped by my progress. For now, I will continue moving forward on this path I have carved for myself.

How did you approach your apprenticeship? What did you do to make that happen?

I treated my apprenticeship experience as I would a full-time professional job. Which meant that I carried myself with class and treated everyone with dignity and respect. I also prioritized learning as much as I could and took each opportunity to ask questions from my team. Any opportunities to shadow people in different areas of IT, I took them! I also volunteered for projects that assisted in departmental goals.

How do you feel about your experiences in the apprenticeship so far?

My apprenticeship experience has been quite interesting. So much has happened in a short period of time which provides me insight into the field. I find it to be an excellent opportunity for personal and professional growth. I have been able to acquire valuable skills and knowledge that will undoubtedly serve me well in my future career. Working alongside experienced professionals has been a rewarding experience, and I am grateful for the chance to contribute to the team's efforts. Overall, I am optimistic about the remainder of my apprenticeship and excited to continue learning and developing my skills.

What are some of the things you have done during the apprenticeship, and some work-related things you enjoy doing at the company?

During my apprenticeship, I have had the opportunity to perform a variety of tasks such as configuring software, managing user accounts, and troubleshooting technical issues. While all these tasks are essential to the role, what I have enjoyed most is interacting with my fellow apprentices. Collaborating with them has made the job more engaging and has allowed me to gain a better understanding of different approaches to problem-solving. I also find it satisfying to be part of a team that is dedicated to developing their own skills as IT professionals to help others. I enjoyed seeing them grow in the role as I have.

What would you say are the benefits of an apprenticeship?

The main benefit is the opportunity to learn while you are working within the company. It is a combination of applying theoretical knowledge to practice and gaining the experience needed to navigate the industry. IT apprenticeships are also a great way to get a feel for the role prior to fully committing to the career path.

Where do you anticipate your professional career taking you?

From my current progress, I would say the next step would be to secure a role in either system administrator or network administration. Both roles would allow me to further my skills in networking which serves as the backbone of many IT career paths. Once I reach that step, I’ll have a clearer image as to what the next phase will be.

If you were to speak to other students about this program, what would you tell them?

I would tell them that this is an amazing opportunity for people looking to transition into IT, especially for those who have little to no experience in the field. Both the pre-apprenticeship and the apprenticeship programs provide you with the tools needed to prepare for industry certifications. These certifications come from CompTIA, which are recognized and often recommended for entry-level IT positions. Take advantage of the fact that you are receiving study programs, boot camps, courses, and exam vouchers that are thousands of dollars in value for free. Seriously! Create your study plan, utilize your resources, ask for help when you need it, and get certified!

Are you interested in pursuing a pre-apprenticeship program? Broward College offers certificate programs for Information Technology Specialist and Network Support Technician. Learn more about Broward College’s pre-apprenticeship options here.