My name is Alana, I live in North Hollywood, and Calbright’s IT Support program gave me the opportunity I needed to get the job I always wanted.

I moved from Hawaii to California before I could complete my bachelor’s degree, and, unfortunately, I didn’t have the financial resources to re-enroll and finish after my move.  When I got here, I worked short-term contract positions that didn’t offer consistency or job security – I couldn’t get a job that offered stability because I didn’t have a credential – and was struggling to get by. 

I wanted to go into IT because it’s a good field to start in.  It pays well, and there are lots of ways you can grow and expand your career. But even though I had experience working in a research lab, I couldn’t get hired in the field. Calbright was free, I could enroll immediately, and I could do it quickly, so I signed up to get my IT certification.

It was stressful at times because of the pandemic, but Calbright provided a lot of personal and academic support.  They check in, they talk to you, and their counselors helped me find resources for things like rent relief. Having access to that sort of support made my journey with Calbright very seamless. It was easy to get through because I knew that there were people out there that I could talk to and get real help from.

I breezed through the coursework in about six months. I took the first Comp TIAA exam, and I passed, and started to look for a job, and I ended up landing one! I got a job with a company that is a managed service provider for IT. We work with clients, and any time they have an issue they will call us for support or submit a ticket, and we provide them a solution.

It’s great. I work remotely from home unless I need to go on-site for hardware support, it’s extremely flexible. I’m not micromanaged, there’s a lot of independence in this job, and I really like that.  There’s also a lot of opportunity for growth. This job is everything I’d hoped for, and more.

I still had my second CompTIA exam waiting, and after a couple of months I took the test, but hadn’t yet found a way to study that worked for me. I knew the material, and was doing well at my new job, but the test was challenging. I got closer each time I took it, and worked directly with Calbright’s IT faculty who helped with the material, and once I found the right combination of study skills, I passed my second exam and received my full certification. As soon as I did that, my company gave me a raise!  

In total, it took me about eight months from when I started Calbright, to finding a new job and getting my first raise.  

I’m really happy with my experience at Calbright, and if someone is considering enrolling, I would definitely say go for it. Calbright offers so much support, it’s extremely helpful. It even offers support in ways that you probably didn’t even know you needed.

Since it’s self-paced and online, you have to be accountable for yourself and time management. The advice I’d give is: don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, and even if you don’t need it, just reaching out to all the services that are provided by Calbright is a really good step. They’ll help you figure out the way to study remotely that works for you, and you will get there.

Doing the work and getting your certificate is definitely worth it. It will accelerate your career. I’ve seen it happen for me.