Featured Students – Enoc Torres

IT Professional, Enoc, Combines Cybersecurity Certifications and Coding Skills to Accelerate His Career

Enoc Torres

Job Title: Senior Business Systems Analyst

Company: Milvets Systems Technology, Inc.

CIAT Program: Associate of Applied Science Degree in Computer Information Systems, 2021

Previous Education: Community College of the Air Force

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Enoc Torres, a graduate from CIAT’s Associate Degree in Computer Information Systems, didn’t stop his momentum when he graduated – he continued his education path with a secondary Certificate in Software Development and discovered that adding more, complementary skills to his resume was the key to help him reach his future career goals.

Enoc is the epitome of a lifelong learner who continues to push himself to new heights, where others remain complacent with a piece of paper and degree letters after their name. He took full advantage of the industry certifications offered through his degree program and successfully stacked his resume with seven challenging certifications: CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, Linux+, MTA Windows 10, CISSP, and CASP+.

This well-rounded set of certifications mirrors Enoc’s IT career building and technical skill building philosophy – showcasing a wide range of knowledge and skillsets helps transform an average IT professional into an expert.

“If you don’t have a strong foundation or a well-rounded set of technical skills, you can be decent…but you’ll never be great.”

After trying out another college, Enoc found a home at CIAT and fit in well with the growing and enthusiastic community of technology professionals. He felt challenged, but not overwhelmed with the 5-week class schedule, which doesn’t give him time to lose interest or feel stagnant in his learning path.

“I’ll just jump in… I decided to start at the bottom. That’s the best place I can get the most experience to really hone in on the skills that I had learned and use them on a day-to-day basis.”

Building technical skills through military service:

Starting out in the Air Force, Enoc built a strong foundation of technical skills working in helpdesk and system administration roles and fell in love with the IT field. His rigorous military experience included an intensive four-month training program with 10-hour days covering operating systems, networking, computer administration and more.

When Enoc was ready to transition to the civilian sector he realized that the transition from his military service to civilian sector was more challenging than expected. While the skills he learned on the service translated to his next job, some of the confidential systems that he worked on, he couldn’t share on his resume, which made communicating his experience challenging.

A successful transition from military to civilian life:

After his first set of CompTIA certifications earned at CIAT, Enoc successfully landed his first IT contract position through a CIAT partner, Tek Systems. This gave him the foot in the door that he needed to showcase a new set of experience on his resume after his military service.

Within six months of working through his Associate’s Degree in Computer Information Systems, he landed a job as a Senior Business Systems Analyst for Milvets Systems Technology, an IT professional services company specializing in serving customer at federal government and contractor sites around the nation.

How combining his IT and coding skills helps Enoc accelerate his career path:

His role at Milvets Systems Technology combines the IT skills he learned through his CIS Associate’s Degree program and the coding stills he learned through his Certificate in Software Development. His most recent project has him working on front-end web and SharePoint development using his HTML, CSS, JavaScript skills, which connects directly to in his in-class experience.

The project-based curriculum and hands-on technical training helped boost Enoc’s confidence early on and helped him feel connected to his instructors and classmates.

“It’s pretty cool having one of your lectures from my class immediately helped me with one of my job projects.”

Enoc earns an impressive stack of industry certifications:

Starting with the highest in-demand certifications for new IT professionals, the CompTIA Stackable Core (CompTIA A+, Network+ and Security), helped setup Enoc for success when applying for jobs. Enoc’s company, MilVets Systems is a certified CompTIA Authorized partner and relies on the qualifications of employees to demonstrate competence with technical skills needed to serve their customers.

Enoc’s ultimate goal is to position himself for a specialized career in cybersecurity. He’s on his way and has already achieved his first biggest milestone with the successful completion of CISSP and CASP+, two advanced level cybersecurity certifications.

Completing his degree while balancing a newborn, a new job, new skills, AND a global pandemic:

When Enoc enrolled in on campus classes, he took the trolley every night and commuted over an hour each class day to surround himself in an environment that supported his learning style.  When the pandemic hit, he didn’t get deterred – he knew he had a goal in front of him.

He practiced different strategies to keep himself focused, such as proactively scheduling his class and study time throughout the week, instead of leaving his schedule to chance.

In the middle of his program Enoc welcomed a newborn baby into his family. While the bundle of joy may have delayed a certification or two (understandably), having the right support system at home to keep him motivated and on track with his course schedule has been crucial to his success.

Swapping commute time for family time gave Enoc the flexibility he needed fulfil both goals – be a present father and continue with his education.

“Having the right support system is incredible…I couldn’t be more thankful.”

Enoc’s advice on getting certified and building a new career:

Taking the extra steps to prepare for industry certification exams often requires extra work outside of class time. After every class lecture session, Enoc spent an extra hour reviewing the chapters and practice questions in the book to keep the material fresh in his mind and challenge himself to make sure he was absorbing the material.

“The wording on the exams can be tricky – they do it on purpose to throw you off. There are often multiple correct answers [available] but learning how to identify the best answer is the key.”

The skills that Enoc has learned through his military service and his technical training programs at CIAT have shaped him into the successful IT professional he is today, with a growth-mindset, ready to tackle new problems that come his way. He prides himself on being detail oriented and staying open minded that there can be multiple options and ways to solve a problem.

He has learned the art of compiling and analyzing multiple resources at his disposal to troubleshoot technical problems, and to not being scared to research paths.

Summary – Tips any student can walk away with:

  • Get your foot in the door early: Many students transitioning from other career fields or from prior military experience can rely on their unique background to build a compelling personal pitch to an employer. Take any opportunity you can when you’re first starting out (contract positions, volunteer positions, part-time positions, etc.) to build up your resume, while you’re in school. Don’t wait until you graduate. The combination of real-world working experience, certifications, and demonstrable skills help you beat out your competition.
  • Get skilled and certified while earning your degree – Traditional degrees can be fine for those who are exploring multiple fields or trying to decide what you want to do in life. But if you’ve already decided on launching an IT career, accelerate your path to make sure that hands-on learning and certification preparation are an integrated part of your learning experience, or else you’ll spend twice the time while pursuing your career goal.
  • Surround yourself with positive influences: Deciding to invest your time and energy in accomplishing your personal or career goal takes an immense amount of effort. Give yourself the gift of future success by surrounding yourself with like-minded, growth-oriented individuals that will challenge and support you when times get tough.

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