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Spotlight: Keeping His Skills Sharp

About a year ago, Joey Parker sat in a work meeting with a question on his mind. The health care organization he worked for as a network engineer had recently outsourced its help desk operations. So Parker asked his boss if there would be more outsourcing. He was surprised by the response:  “Keep your skills up.”spotlight-pic

Parker didn’t need to be told twice. Instead of worrying about his job security, he sprang to action. He decided to improve his networking knowledge by pursuing Cisco CCNP certification.

He’d previously earned his CCNA and CCNA Security by studying with textbooks and live training. But this time, he wanted a training method that was a better fit for his learning style, and that was more budget friendly. He found what he was looking for with CBT Nuggets, which he heard about from a coworker.

Parker said what impressed him the most about CBT Nuggets training was how easily it applied to real-world situations. He also appreciates that the training is in-depth and thoroughly explains not only how things work, but also why they might not work.

“(CBT Nuggets) training was deeper than any other basic computer training I used before,” he said. “The instructors were actually human with a sense of humor. It wasn’t so dry like some other products.”

While Parker studied, he also worked with a headhunter to explore job opportunities. But after several interviews, he found himself discouraged. A common theme kept emerging: he didn’t have the required skills—yet.

Parker got the break he needed when he interviewed for a job with a local television station. Instead of focusing on his technical skills, the discussion was based around his potential.

“They liked what they saw,” Parker said. “They didn’t care about what I didn’t have. They said, ‘we’ll expose you to those things.’”

That was welcome news to Parker, who said he felt limited at his old job. He wanted to learn and work with new technologies, and felt he’d get more opportunities to do that at the news station. It also didn’t hurt that he’d always had an interest in the television industry.

Parker eventually earned his CCNP certification this past February. And in July, he became the network systems administrator for KWTV-News 9. He loves the job, especially because as it’s a smaller organization than his prior company, he’s constantly learning. In fact, to meet the demands of his new role, Parker is working on earning another certification, Cisco CCNA Voice, which he hopes to get by the end of the year. Then he plans to earn CCNA Data Center certification in spring 2015!

I knew I’d get exposure to servers and technologies that I didn’t have before,” Parker said. “Here, I get exposed to a little of everything. For me, it was all about opportunities.”


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