Starting a career in tech can be quite intimidating, especially if you start brand new – without any technical knowledge. But with the increasing dependence upon tech in every industry and nearly every job, becoming familiar with tech is quite the necessity.
Ifedolapo Ogunjuyigbe started off her foray into Cisco Networking Academy, completely brand new. She used the Networking Essentials course to get herself acquainted. Taking that course, really changed her path. She felt that it “does not matter if you are new or know little about computers, they really make sure to lay a foundation.”
Few years later, she is now an Associate Consulting Engineer focusing on wireless tech, working at one of Cisco’s Channel Partners – CDW.
“There will be times in which you fail. That is a part of the process. That lets you know what you need to work on.”
Though it was not a straight path forward for her. She had actually started off her path at a university as a pre-med student, but after a couple of years she felt a disconnect with it and took a year break.
During her year off, she did a lot of soul-searching – trying to understand what she liked versus did not like. It was a very challenging year, since Ifedolapo had to leave her friends, as they continued their path, and move back home.
Once she returned home to Maryland, her parents encouraged her to try out an IT course, simply to get acquainted and pass time, at one of the local trade schools. She realized that though she lost her passion for the pre-med coursework, she felt a connection and excitement to learn more about tech.
Ifedolapo felt it was a pivotal decision for her – “the best decision”.
Ultimately, to pursue her new passion and love for tech, she transferred to a different school so she could get on a pathway for a Computer Science degree. As she pursued her degree and certifications, she took a full-time job to work at a help desk. Though she did not enjoy the experience with the company – she kept the job because it provided valuable work experience.
One of the biggest lessons she learned along the way, through her trial and error, to finding her hidden passion for tech, was to “be resilient and know that your habits really do determine your success”.
“There will be times in which you fail. That is a part of the process. That lets you know what you need to work on. During times of my failure, I made sure to reach out to anyone that I could. Anyone and everyone that could give me advice, that could share knowledge with me, that could reteach a concept to me that I didn’t understand.”
Experiences that Have a Lasting Impact
Her openness to learning, allowed her to really broaden her scope of opportunities.
As Ifedolapo continued her path, she was nominated to be a part of not only one, but two Cisco Live! Dream Team projects (back-to-back years). “The two main resources that really helped me in my career, within the Talent Bridge program, were the Talent Bridge Matching Engine and the Cisco Live Dream Team.”
The first year she attended as a student participant and the second year she served as the Team Captain. In order to be selected as a Team Captain, you must exhibit leadership qualities as well as the ability to bring people together.
“The Cisco Live! Dream Team was an amazing opportunity. I got to collaborate with people just like me. I really got to have hands on experience with technologies that we were learning and even the ones we had never seen before. I got to meet executives and collaborate with different companies. It was just a great experience that allowed me to really open my mind and open my horizon on technology as a whole.”
Through these experiences she was able to foster her love of tech and it only solidified that she could still pursue a career helping others. “Tech is something that you can use in every aspect of life. It is not one-dimensional. I can use it to help anyone.”