Are you stuck in a dead end job? Not making the money you want to make? There is a way out. Throughout this series I’m going to take you step-by-step through the process of finding a job in a career that you will love, how to get that job, and how to make the most money possible in that field.
If you’re just finding out about this career series, you can check out the other posts in the series here:
Welcome to part 1 of a brand new series on careers!
Throughout this series I’m going to take you step-by-step through the process of finding a job in a career that you will love, how to get that job, and how to make the most money possible in that field.
Are you stuck in a dead end job? Not making the money you want to make? There is a way out.
I’ve been in this position before. I’ve struggled in my career too.
I wanted to start the series by telling you my career story. I went from $10.50 an hour to $37.50 an hour just by taking the right steps.
I hope my story will inspire you to take the next step in your career!
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MY CAREER STORY
Not long after graduating high school, my first real post high school job was as a Computer Operator for a local credit union. Basically, I backed up the servers and ran some manual tasks on them. No experience was really necessary.
I started out at a whopping $10.50 an hour or $21,840 per year and worked second shift. It was a good job for me because I was pretty savvy with computers at home and I could go to school during the day. I liked it.
A few years later, I decided I wanted to take it to the next level and step up the ladder at work a bit.
I discovered there was an opening for a first shift IT Help Desk position coming up within the next 6 months or so at work. This is the job where you take calls for computer problems and fix them. This role would give me a pay raise and give me normal first shift hours.
It required an Associate degree and luckily I had just finished the associate program in business at the University of Cincinnati.
It also required a certification called the A+ certification. This was a test you take to prove that you have the necessary knowledge to do help desk work.
I immediately got a study guide for the A+ and began studying for the test. This was like an 800 page book I would be tested on. It was a pain, but I just ready every day and took the practice tests until I had a solid understanding of everything in the guide.
After about 3 months I was ready to take the test. I scheduled my test time and went down to the testing center to take it.
I applied for the job and got it. It gave me nice little boost in salary at the time to $16.00 an hour or $33,280 per year. I was thrilled and happy to be taking the next step in my working career.
THE GREAT RECESSION CHANGED EVERYTHING
While I was working on the help desk I began to realize that I really had a passion for personal finances, investing, and business. So much so that I changed my major in college to Accounting & Finance.
I was working in IT during the day and going to college at night for Accounting & Finance. While I still enjoyed working in IT, I felt I wanted to move my career towards business instead.
I kept grinding away at college and finally graduated at the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
I thought this was it, I was going to move into an entirely new field. Well… It didn’t quite go that way.
Instead I graduated into the worst recession in many years. It’s now known as the Great Recession.
Thanks Wall Street… sigh
I created a resume and sent it out to every job post I could find.. Crickets.
Nothing. I was getting no response. I couldn’t find a job and even worse was the fact that the company I was working at could’ve cared less about my degree.
I got a pat on the back and a congratulations but no increase in pay or responsibility.
To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I was devastated. I spent years obtaining the Bachelor’s degree and it felt useless.
I tried for months to get a job in the financial industry but got nowhere.
Jobs were limited. I had no interning experience in the financial industry, so I had no experience that was relevant to hiring managers.
I had to really think about where I was going to go next in my career. I felt like I was having a quarter life crisis!
THE IT SECURITY CAREER CHANGE
Everything changed when an IT Security Auditor came to the credit union to audit our ability to protect the company from hackers.
It was an exciting career choice to me and I was interested.
After doing a little research I found that the IT Security field was booming and it paid pretty good as well. I began to really dig into the field and decided that was the route I wanted to go.
It wasn’t an easy field to get started in but I was determined. I found that most IT Security jobs required a Bachelor’s degree, which I now had. They also required a certification called the CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional). This certification wasn’t too easy to get..
It required 5 years of experience and you had to pass a large test to obtain it. I wasn’t deterred though. I ordered the study guide and it was a 1200 page monster!
I made a plan to read so many pages a day and got started reading it.
I ended up reading this book nearly every day for the next year. It took 2 read throughs, plus lots of notes and practice tests.
Meanwhile, while I was reading the book, I asked for security related responsibilities at my job to help fill in some of the issues the security auditor found. They agreed and this began the clock on my required 5 years of experience working with security.
Once I finished the book about a year later, I scheduled a time to take the test and did it. 250 questions later I had passed. I was thrilled!
I reported my results back to my company and finally got a raise and switched roles to focus on IT Security for the credit union.
Along with the role change came a nice pay increase to $25.96 per hour or $54,000 per year.
I embraced the role and begin to build up my experience in security.
After a few more years I had completed my required security experience and officially received my CISSP certification!
It took a lot of time and patience, but all that work had paid off.
I brought my certificate to my boss at the time and was again promoted to be even more responsible for the company's security. Along with my promotion came a raise to $30.28 and hour or $63,000 per year.
It was a huge change and proved to me that hard work and education paid off.
TIME FOR A COMPANY CHANGE
I continued to work in this role and enjoyed it.
The only problem was that it was a small company and I had hit a ceiling of where I could go in that company for the time being, so I made the hard decision to begin looking at other larger companies.
I made sure all of my online information like LinkedIn was current and clean. I created a clean and updated resume and I began to search for a new company with a Security Analyst position available.
I found 2 local companies that I liked and the positions looked like a good fit. I applied to both. Within a day I had 2 phone interviews scheduled.
Those went well and I continued on with the interview process until I had 2 final interviews. I received an offer from 1 of the companies and I accepted!
This position offered a lot of upside movement and allowed me to focus in one area of security to specialize even further.
Along with the new position came a pay raise to $37.50 an hour or $78,000 per year.
I believe my story proves that you can achieve anything you want in your career with focus, hard work, education, and time. If I can do it, you can do it too and I’m going to show you how.
Throughout this series I’m going to take you step-by-step through the process of finding a job in a career you will love, how to get that job, and how to make the most money possible in that field.
See you again soon in part 2!
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