A Daughter, a Determined Dad & a Future in Tech
By Yvette Scorse, Communications Associate
Adults rarely go back to school because they have to. They register, show up, and succeed because they are motivated by something, or someone.
In Behrooz Bakhtiary’s case, his motivation is his 7-year-old daughter Therela. He wants to be able to provide better for her financially, to give her the world, and to make sure she gets the special care she needs as she fights leukemia. That’s why Behrooz began the A+ Certification Program at Byte Back – for his daughter.
The Struggle for Education
When Behrooz was in high school in the mid-1990s, he was interested in computers and troubleshooting, but he says, “I didn’t pursue it because I didn’t know where or how.” Later, he started college as an English major but dropped out. He’s worked in security and concierge jobs since moving to Washington, DC about 10 years ago, but when contracts are lost, he’s out of a job.
When his daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, he found himself in a “tumultuous situation.” He simply doesn’t have enough money to support himself and take care of his daughter, he says. “I was at a point in my life that something had to change,” Behrooz says.
A Change Is Gonna Come
Since the moment he went to an open house for information about Byte Back’s A+ Certification Program, Behrooz was “hooked” – determined to study, determined to earn his certification, and determined to build a better life for himself and his daughter. He says, “I was able to see it – that my future was going to be different, that I wasn’t going to be a concierge who wasn’t able to provide, not able to feed myself.”
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop
Since Behrooz started class in June, he’s faced challenges that would cause some people to give up. His daughter spent her seventh birthday at Disney World, thanks to Make-A-Wish, but got pneumonia there and spent a week in an Orlando hospital. Behrooz was back in DC, distraught and worried, but he still went to class. Therela recovered and spent the next weekend with her dad. He lights up when talking about hanging out with his daughter, even if their time spent together is at doctor’s appointments.
Therela is now in full remission! As Behooz shares this information, he smiles, the love and relief visible on his face.
Behrooz stays with friends, although many nights he doesn’t get to sleep at all, working from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. He then heads straight to the Byte Back IT Academy for his 9 a.m. A+ class. The paycheck he earns as a concierge goes almost entirely to child support, he says. Therela lives most of the time with her mother.
Even when he doesn’t get to sleep, Behrooz still doesn’t miss class. “Failure’s just not an option for me,” he says.
The Key to Winning
Despite so many obstacles, Behrooz is one of the best students in the demanding A+ class. He’s known as the one who “makes it look easy” because he studies hard. In fact, he was the first one in the class to pass the 801 exam, the first in the series of two exams that will lead to his A+ certification.
He brings flashcards with him wherever he goes – on the train, during down time at work – and stays as late as possible at Byte Back after class. “It’s that type of dedication and hard work” that Behrooz knows will bring him success. “I just have to apply myself – that’s the key to winning in this situation.”
He plans to take the second exam, 802, by early October. With the help of Byte Back’s career services team, the experience he’s had at an internship with Byte Back’s First Time Technology program, and his hard work, he’s hoping to enter the IT industry soon. “I have confidence in the program I’m in – they’re preparing me.” And his education won’t stop there – next he plans to study for his Security + certification on his own to expand his opportunities even more.
“Beyond Her Wildest Imagination”
Behrooz continues on with an impressive level of hope and drive, fueled by the determination to wow his daughter Therela. “I want to provide at a level that’s beyond her wildest imagination,” he says.
Update: November 2015
Since this story was published in early September, Behrooz passed his final exam, earning his CompTIA A+ Certification!
He also interviewed for jobs and, in an email to some of the staff at Byte Back announced, “Yes, all that hard work has paid off.” Behrooz accepted a job offer with Phoenix International as a PC technician with help desk support.
“I’m just too excited,” Behrooz said, “I really can’t thank Byte Back enough.”
He still plans to go on to earn his certifications in Networking+ and Security+, motivated, as always, by his little inspiration – Therela.
Please consider donating to support Byte Back’s work with Behrooz and hundreds of other students. Your donation will help put tech within reach, change lives, and empower students to achieve their dreams!