by Blake Meador
Last July, my husband Rod took me out to grab a quick bite and maybe swing by Crosstown Concourse to check out a tech nonprofit he’d recently read about. That little outing changed us in some great ways, and the effects keep getting better.
After dinner (and rescuing two amazing kitties, Gracie and Quince – but that’s another story), we almost passed on the nonprofit, since we were running a couple minutes late. Luckily, we decided to be the “late kids” anyway. Most important decision of the year that I almost messed up.
That was the first time I stepped into Tech901, and soon after I was grabbing my backpack and heading to classes there twice a day, four days a week. In IT Foundations I was learning to troubleshoot computer hardware, configure routers, create virtual machines and install operating systems.
In my second class, IT Project, we focused on the best practices for Project Management – effective communication, managing resources and stakeholders, monitoring schedule and budgets, and maintaining project documentation and scope.
Tech901 doesn’t stop at preparing students for the exam. Classes include “soft skills” sessions for interviewing and even offer one-on-one resume advice for each student to maximize their success. At Tech901, you aren’t just a student, you’re part of the family and you can feel it every time you walk in the door.
The IT Foundations class is the starting point for nearly every student and offers the potential to earn two professional IT Certifications – CompTIA IT Fundamentals and CompTIA A+. Robert Half International, a leading IT recruiting firm, lists the CompTIA A+ one of its “Highly Valued” Tech Certifications in their 2019 Salary Guide. See the guide at roberthalf.com/salary- guide/technology.
The need for skilled IT professionals is growing like crazy here in Memphis, and companies like FedEx, St. Jude and ServiceMaster are struggling to hire locally. In 2015, business and community leaders created Tech901 to provide corporate quality training custom-fit to address needs by removing common obstacles many students face – money, time and location. Classes range from $100 to $250 plus deeply discounted exam fees – even better discounts if you keep those grades up!
Often, university and vocational training simply aren’t options for folks who are already working full time, supporting a family and looking for a way to make a career move. Tech901 found that 91% of employers prefer job candidates with industry- recognized certifications and set up 8- to 14-week courses that prepare students for certification exams that can be taken at a reduced cost in Tech901’s own Pearson Vue- authorized testing center. The courses are offered both day and evening, so working adults can manage jobs, family, and the rest of life while completing their certification. Tech901 currently offers IT Foundations, IT Project, IT Networking, IT Security, Code 1.0: Introduction to Computer Science, and Web Programming. Classes fill up quickly, so be sure to check the schedule and availability soon.
I was nervous that first day, but I quickly knew I was right at home in Memphis. Tech901 represents many races, ages, genders, sexualities, and learning styles. Incoming students don’t have to be tech-savvy. Tech901 requires applicants to complete the Compass Assessment which tests for English and math skills at roughly a 10th-grade level. If you can turn on a computer (or even learn how to) you are good to go!
As I’m writing these last sentences, it’s just after 5am, and I’m heading back to Tech901 in a couple hours to take the last of my exams, the Project+ Certification. Next time you see me, ask how it went!
All this has got to be expensive, right? Another CompTIA A+ prep course in Memphis runs 5 days, has a virtual instructor and costs $2495 plus $440 for exam fees. Before you can take this course, you must pass the CompTIA
IT Fundamentals Certification – that’s another 3-day virtual course and will cost you another $1495 + $220 for the exam. Total: $4650 for 8 days of virtual instruction.
What about Tech901? The IT Foundations class is $100. That’s 12 weeks, 4 days a week, 3 hours a day with a real instructor, real classmates. That’s TWO Certifications – CompTIA IT Fundamentals and CompTIA A+. There is
NO testing fee for the IT Fundamentals test, and only $200 total fees for the A+ tests. But it gets even better – study hard, do well and you can get those tests for half-price or even completely free!