Tre Malik, a 2016 graduate of North Tech’s Cisco Networking Academy, has some serious goals. While other recent high school grads are still determining their major, this young man is designing a future that will ensure he earns a six-figure salary by the time he is 25…and he’s already halfway there.
When Malik graduated from North Tech’s program, he had earned his Cisco Certified Entry Level Network Technician Certification (CCENT). This certification opens doors as it validates all of the skills required for entry-level network support including installation and operation of small branch networks and network security. Companies are heavily dependent of network support, meaning professions requiring this knowledge are growing at a faster than average rate and median salaries continue to climb.
Malik was able to secure his first job immediately after graduation with Interface Security Systems where he assisted companies like Dollar General and Sally Beauty Supply with their network maintenance and security. Within months, he moved into a position with Charter Communications as an Associate Network Operations Engineer. His current duties involve monitoring network alarms and escalating them up to other engineers for resolution. Already earning $50,000 a year, Malik works a 40 hour work week, enjoys full benefits including dental, vision, and health insurance, paid sick leave, and a matching 401K program (which he is contributing to regularly). In June, he purchased his first home – another goal he had set for himself to reach by age 30 and can already cross off his list.
Next steps for Malik include earning his Cisco Certified Network Associate Certification (CCNA), which he will be able to do through tuition assistance from Charter. He is considering college courses as well, but feels no urgency to pursue a degree anytime soon. He’s enjoying his work and successes and remains focused on continuing to improve his skills as a networker.
Students in Mr. Elkins Cisco Networking Academy were treated to inspiring presentations from Malik this week. Addressing juniors, Malik focused on motivating them and helping them see the advantages to sticking with a career focused in network administration. For seniors, he emphasized his best advice for ensuring their own success. “They know the structure, now it’s time for them to get disciplined,” he said. He shared information about how and where to apply for jobs and how to get hired. Finally, he stressed how critical it is for students to apply themselves at earn their CCENT. He spent hours each day preparing for the exam throughout his senior year and encouraged students to not cram prior to the exam, but to keep a consistent study plan in place. He also said good planning includes giving yourself time before exam day to relax. “The night before the exam, I was playing X-Box,” he said, “I knew that I was ready, I knew the material, I just needed to get calm.” Malik passed his exam on his first attempt, which is exceptional.
While not every student who enters the Cisco program is interested in beginning a career right after graduation, the prospects for all students who apply themselves are extensive. For those students who choose to follow Tre Malik’s advice and example, the potential for success is monumental.
To learn more about the Cisco Networking Program at North Tech, click here: http://northtechnical.org/programs/.