CIAT Resource Library

Featured Students – Devin Rambali

Devin lands a position that asked for 3-5 years of experience after graduating, and only 6 months of experience

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Devin Rambali

Job Title: IT Tech

CIAT Program: Associate of Applied Science Degree in Computer Information Systems, 2022

Previous Education: Some prior college course completed

Transcript:

Hi. My name is Devon Rambali. I am a graduate of the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Computer Information Systems Program.

What is your title and a little bit about the company you are working for?

So I am the IT tech at an ethanol plant As an I.T. Tech onsite at the company I work for has multiple ethanol plant and soybean plants that they own. And I am the only tech at the one plant and my basic day is just making sure everybody’s obviously able to navigate the network without any problems, just the basic stuff of, you know, fixing printers and whatever issues anybody comes up with that has to do with something that plugs in to work.

00:01:03:07 

I’m also in charge of the instrumentation side of it, so I go out with like a computer that I can connect into different pressure indicators and stuff like that. And I make sure that the different pressure or flow indicators are working correctly or showing the correct measurements for our control systems.

What motivated you to start a career in IT?

What motivated me was so I was prior Navy and just obviously always having issues with I had no knowledge of IT whatsoever.

00:01:43:02

I honestly, I hated technology. I grew up homeschooled, so a lot of our stuff was in hand. So I just always like hated the idea of trying to go technology and it’d be like it’d be so much easier just you know, write it in hand or do it pass somebody’s paperwork instead of sending an email. I don’t even know how to map a printer.

“What motivated me was so I was prior Navy and just obviously always having issues with I had no knowledge of IT whatsoever.”

So when I was getting closer to the end talking with people on our ship, they always talked about how, you know, when they get out, they’re going to have really good paying jobs and stuff. And then I started thinking about it how, you know, I grew up also like ranching and stuff, and I didn’t want to do a hard labor intensive job for the rest of my life.

00:02:28:14 

And I just realized that technology is obviously where everything’s going so I figured getting into it would be a good job to go with. And my brother had experience and he built his own computer and so I kind of talked him into coming to school with me. And so we both got the Associate’s degree together.

What was your growth and transition into the IT field like?

I started in San Diego there, and obviously COVID was a big ordeal. So me and my brother both he had moved out there and we didn’t really get any opportunity to come to school and to be in-person. And we realized we both had started getting our certifications done. I currently hold I have an ATF plus network plus and security plus, and those were like the main ones that I really want to get under my belt that way.

You know, obviously those you can get in pretty easily having those. So by the time I gotten those, we still haven’t been in school and I didn’t necessarily want to start working out there because we’d planned to move back to Nebraska, where I’m at now. And so we both had decided maybe it’d be better to move back and be around home and try and get a job here already to where we can start getting on the job experience as well as continuing our school. So we both got a job working for a local company where they do help desk for businesses, small businesses, and just get all their information and remote desktop support for schools and small business. When I was doing that as kind of their onsite technician.

So I did a lot of going to the schools and fixing all their their help desk requests and set it – I set up a program for the school that way it allowed them to monitor their students computer access and what they were, you know, looking at and stuff. So that was like my starting job that led to where I’m at now.

00:04:55:11 

You’ve earned your ITF+, Net+, Sec+ certifications through your program – what was it like preparing for those exams?

So the classes that were for ITF+, Net+ and Security+ did a really good job of making sure you understood what was necessary for getting your certification. And obviously all of it is necessary information, but they try to do their best to tailor what information they’re giving you to be applied to that because obviously the search is just it’s going to ask random questions if they know of a question that’s going to be on there, they’ll you know, a lot of times they’ll say, okay, make sure you remember this.

They do overall all the classes, everything super well. And then after that, it’s up to you as a student to put forth the time to studying to get your certification because obviously you’re moving on to the next class. So you are once you get to that point where you’re ready to you want to take this cert, you’re already working on another class.

00:06:07:01 

So you have to definitely prioritize studying or continuing to get your – because the school gives you practice tests to use to get further prepare you for what to expect on the exams. And they are amazing tools that they really helped me and I, I probably studied for an hour at least to 2 hours every day just to keep it in my head what I was trying to do until I was ready for it.

“They do overall all the classes, everything super well. And then after that, it’s up to you as a student to put forth the time to studying to get your certification because obviously you’re moving on to the next class.”

ITF+ I honestly can’t remember. I believe I took it twice the first time I barely missed it and then about three weeks later, I took it again and passed, I think. For Network+, I came out of the gate just studying really hard and I took it two weeks after finishing the class and I failed that. I basically did the practice test again, just continually getting it down, did it again.

And two weeks later and I failed again and then continue to study, did it two weeks later and I passed it. I definitely jumped. I feel like I jumped the gun on that one because I just wanted to get it done and get it over with. And then it kind of sent me to feeling like I was never going to pass it So then when I went and did Security+, I gave myself a good month of studying and then when I went and took it, I passed it my first try, which a lot of people from talking, they said Security+ was the harder one.

00:07:56:01 

So I was just that letting myself really digest it and getting myself a good amount of time to study and it paid off and they’ve come in really handy. Just I mean, once you get into a job after the fact, it depends on what job you get. Like, my job is a lot more network side than security side.

And originally I wanted to – I thought security side was the cool part. Or the more interesting part. But we recently went through a event where I’m like, I don’t want anything to do with security.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to face this past year (school or personal)?

So about a month ago, my plant – well it wasn’t even the plant. It was the whole company as a whole got hit with ransomware, and I believe I was the one.

I got a phone call about 1:30 the morning from somebody asking saying they lost control of their stuff and need me to, you know, log on and get it all fixed for him. And then they I was like, “Yeah, I can do that.” And then he’s like, “Oh, and I also got this note,” and I’m like, “What?”

00:09:06:09 

And they started to read it to me, and I was just like, I’m still half asleep. And I’m like, “Can you read that again?” And because I knew it was ransomware, but it’s kind of like I thought it was illusion. And he read it again. I was like, Okay, I need to make a phone call and called my I.T. director and woke him up.

And then that led to working basically at the plant for about 12 to 15 hours every single day, just working through that whole issue because I went, I basically woke up at 1:30 and was at work or left at two to go into the plant and just trying to maneuver how you, I guess, get rid of or fix a ransomware, which even I never expected within my first year of.

I honestly I never thought it would happen but once in the first year of just even still being in school and just being working of having to go through that event where I learned a lot and super fast. But that just goes to show how much I truly remembered or learned from the school, and the school and my experiences up and to the point where I haven’t even reached a year on the job like working.

00:10:30:14 

And I could just see how, how the like putting in the work and it coming to fruition to where I, I wasn’t nervous going through it. Like as soon as somebody told me to do something I went and did it and after the fact I thought about I’m like, oh my gosh, if I was back at right the first second or the first day of school and then thinking to now where I’ve had to deal with something like that, I would not know what to do at all.

“But that just goes to show how much I truly remembered or learned from the school, and the school and my experiences up and to the point where I haven’t even reached a year on the job…”

And it’s just thinking back like there’s a lot that I even wasn’t even a part of that. Now I wish I was just so I could understand it more because there’s people that have been in the business for 15, 20 years and they said, “You know, I’ve never had to do this before.” And then there is another guy who’s gone through it three times who was there, you know, helping me and then me being able to do it as fast as I was able to.

It’s just, it’s kind of, it feels crazy to me. Like I don’t even the people I was working with are saying, “Hey, you did a really good job.” Whereas at the time I was like, honestly not thinking I was doing that great. But then you think of how much – how many people don’t even overcome a ransomware attack? And to know that we did, it’s I know it’s pretty crazy in my opinion I guess.

00:11:54:14 

Did your experience at CIAT give you a foundation to help you decide which path of IT to go down?

Definitely. Me and my brother went for the Associate’s degree. We wanted to be more security-focused so I still had, you know, ITF+, which was basic hardware, network+. I got to learn the network side and Security+ you know, Intro to Security. And then I had my CCNA class, which I would still like to get my CCNA, cert.

I’m trying not to stress out over my certs now that I’m in a decent job and stuff and I know I can still get it until like more life kind of slows down a bit, but just knowing I have the ability to get it still. But then it went back, so I had the CCNA and then it went into more security classes.

So I had the basic networking that, you know, any job really requires if you want to go the network side and the same with the security side. For my Bachelor’s program, I’m trying to go more down the networking side just because that’s where my job is now and I’d like to keep building the knowledge in that side more since I’m actually in that job.

00:13:13:05 

So that’s why I kind of rotated from security to my Bachelor’s being more focused on networking.

What was your overall experience like at CIAT?

I think CIAT really helped me get my foot in the door because I mean, I’m very personable, like I can talk to people really well, but I I wouldn’t even have anything to do with technology if it wasn’t for the school.

“I think CIAT really helped me get my foot in the door because I mean, I’m very personable, like I can talk to people really well, but I I wouldn’t even have anything to do with technology if it wasn’t for the school.”

I hate school. I have never wanted – I wanted to go to be a chiropractor at one point and then I realized how much school it was and I was like, “okay, I’m not doing this.” I’d rather go, you know, work on a ranch for the rest of my life, than be in school that long. But the fact because obviously a lot of schools are are set up to where you have all these gen ed courses and courses that really have nothing to do with anything you are trying to do.

00:14:17:14 

Yes. CIAT requires the, you know, certain ones, but it’s not like you have to do trigonometry or something. It’s just basic gen courses that really aren’t that hard to get. And for my Associates, I had all mine already done. So I got to just do IT courses the whole time. And it’s actually I was actually interested in it because it’s literally everything that it had to do with what I wanted to know.

“So I got to just do IT courses the whole time. And it’s actually I was actually interested in it because it’s literally everything that it had to do with what I wanted to know.”

So that made it super nice and like I said, if it was set up in any other way where I had to do random courses, I probably would have quit because it just I feel like it’s I have too much of the mindset of, “Okay, this is not what I want, so it seems pointless to me. So I’m gonna just got to just go and do what I want.”

00:15:11:10 

So the fact that the school is set up that way, it was easy for me. I didn’t hate it at all. And it’s tailored so you can have a job and still do it and be successful.

What is one piece of advice for new students  who want to build a career in tech?

One thing that I would give as advice to anybody who is wanting to go to school and be successful in IT is don’t don’t put off taking the first like ITF+ or A+ or Network+ and Security+. Don’t don’t push it too far. I would suggest getting it done as soon as possible. Because with you – like my brother for example, he he waited on us. He still hasn’t got his Security+ and now he’s in a time crunch to get it done because he’s finished his degree if you do it right away when he had it and the you know, the tip of your brain, you know, it’s in your head.

00:16:23:06 

Get it done. It’s going to – it’s not easy. It’s definitely hard to be learning something else and then trying to study for some, you know, what you’ve already learned. And it’s it’s not easy but I’m so much I’m super grateful that I did it when I did because it just – if you push it off too far, it just makes it even harder because you’re trying to remember stuff that, you know, especially if you get a job you’re not thinking about you’re thinking about things that pertain to work not that what’s on the the exam.

And – I knew a lot of people who kept pushing it off and I honestly sometimes you wonder if they will even be able to go back and get on because it just makes studying so much harder when you let it get that far away. Do the hard do the hard stuff now so it’s easier later. It wasn’t easy by any means, but I definitely think it was… it wasn’t easy, but it’s easier than waiting.

“Do the hard do the hard stuff now so it’s easier later. It wasn’t easy by any means, but I definitely think it was… it wasn’t easy, but it’s easier than waiting.”

Summary – Tips Any Student Can Walk Away With:

Every student’s career journey is unique. Here are a few key takeaways of what you can learn from Devin – whether you’re just starting out, coming back to the workforce after a break, making a career change, or advancing in your current position.

  • Anyone can learn – even if you have no experience in IT, or can barely turn on a computer – Dylan was homeschooled and had virtually no exposure to technology – but that didn’t stop him. He made up his mind he wanted a promising career and went for it. Moral of the story: don’t let lack of experience hold you back – if you have the drive and willingness to learn, you’d be surprised what you can do.
  • You don’t have to go it alone – In Devin’s unique experience, he had a brother attend the same program alongside him. Although this may not be possible for everyone, it helps to reach out to others for support – whether they are friends, family, or fellow classmates – look for folks who may provide mentorship opportunities, study sessions, or online forums to help answer your questions and keep you motivated.
  • Take advantage of CIAT’s unlimited certification policy – We invest in our students’ success. One of the many ways we do this is through our unique unlimited certification exam attempt policy. We are so confident on your ability to transition into the workforce with the hard-earned certifications on your resume, that we’ll stop at nothing to help you succeed. Students spend thousands of dollars out of their own pocket taking and retaking exams. Many will quit after the first attempt or procrastinate and never take their first attempt at all too afraid to fail.
  • Don’t wait to get certified – It’s often difficult to take your certification exam weeks or months after your classes, whether you’re invested in another class or on the job. CIAT classes are tailored specifically to prepare you for these exams. Take advantage of practice tests and CIAT’s unlimited exam policy – even if you don’t believe you’re 100% prepared, taking the practice tests or even the real exam soon after you complete your coursework will really help that information stick and give you the confidence you need to pass!

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