Standing out, moving up.

I grew up in Barnesville, OH just a few miles from St. Clairsville. I attended Belmont Career Center instead of traditional high school because I liked the hands-on technical aspect. After I graduated, I worked a variety of jobs, but I always had my eye toward a career in IT (information technology). In 2016, I finally made the leap.  After passing the CompTIA A+ certification exams in June of that year, I enrolled in the Cisco Networking Academy for the fall semester at Belmont College.

I had a great experience at Belmont. As a non-traditional student working full-time, I was very fortunate to be able to take most of my classes at night. Without that flexibility, going back to school wouldn’t have been possible. My instructors at the Cisco Academy were excellent. They helped me learn the fundamentals of networking as I gained the critical hands-on experience in the lab that I needed to prepare for the Cisco Certified Network Associate exam.

In the spring of 2018, I was honored to be named Networker of the Year at Belmont College for 2017-18. I started an internship with the WVU Wheeling Hospital network team, putting my training to work in the real world. I’ve been with the hospital for over six years now. I perform a broad range of tasks to help maintain the WVU Medicine network. I’m now studying for the Cisco Certified Network Professional exam, which I plan to take later this year.

My advice to anyone considering a career in networking is to look into the program at Belmont College. Once you’re there, be curious. Study beyond the course requirements. Set up your own virtual labs with a program like Packet Tracer. Use your access to the instructors and lab equipment to master the fundamentals. A career in networking can be challenging and fast-paced with lots of on-the-job learning, but it’s very rewarding.