By Christopher Wallace, Development Associate
In 2003 Aundre Bethel was working at a warehouse. He wanted to work in IT and was looking for a career change, so he started his search back in his hometown – Washington, DC.
The barriers that stood between Aundre and his career in IT would have been overpowering for most. But not for him.
Aundre’s first barrier? He had no computer skills.
When Aundre arrived in DC, he took basic computer classes, gaining enough knowledge of Microsoft Office to test into working for temp agencies. Over the next 10 years, he continued to work, building up his computer and office technology skills.
In 2013 Aundre still had his sights on a career in IT. He’d gained a plethora of skills and firsthand knowledge, but faced another barrier when trouble hit.
Through Project Empowerment, Aundre secured employment with the DC Government in 2014 as an administrative assistant. Then he heard about Byte Back.
In January 2015 Aundre enrolled in the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) course at Byte Back. He didn’t know how the course would be, just that he was focused and driven to succeed, thinking to himself, “I can do this.”
Contrary to what Aundre expected, he wasn’t “thrown into a class.” Byte Back was a personal experience.
Beginning with MTA, he got all of the information he would need, down to the minute detail. “There was a lot of reading and a lot of testing,” but it built up Aundre’s knowledge regarding hardware and hard skills, software and soft skills.
Everything was different at Byte Back. There was direction. There were more tools. There were people helping him along the way.
His teacher was quick to share programs and study tools that would be crucial to Aundre achieving a goal he’d been working towards for 10 years: passing his CompTIA A+ certification test.
In the summer of 2015, Aundre succeeded and earned his certification. It took hard work and dedication, but who said hard work is a drag? In Aundre’s words, “we had a lot of fun.”
It might have taken 10 years, but when Aundre focuses on a goal, he has no plans of failing.
Aundre’s quick to rave about another key to his success at Byte Back – the career services support team. The team helped him “focus on his career goals,” both for today and the future. Aundre also received help with “resume writing, getting interview clothes, and helpful job leads.”
The support team also got Aundre involved with Streetwise Partners, a mentoring program Byte Back partners with which was crucial to his success. He’d known what he wanted to do and now he also knew how to market himself.
With a determined focus, Aundre has remained employed with the DC Government as a “jack of all trades” administrative assistant. Thanks to the skills he built at Byte Back, he makes the job his own.
When there are technical issues, Aundre solves them. When there are IT issues, Aundre works on them. And when there are offsite troubleshooting issues, Aundre manages them.