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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Online IT program helps techie prepare for dream career

October 19, 2015
Online Information Technology Student Josh Lute and his Family
Josh and his family temporarily sacrifice comfort for a better future in the IT world.

Online Information Technology student Josh Lute had a very practical interpretation of “follow your bliss” when it came to making his career choice.

“I was driving a truck and training drivers for the last 8-9 years and could make $50-100k a year,” says Josh, who never intended for that position to be his life-long pursuit. “They treat you like you’re a dime a dozen, and I hated it because that’s not who I am. I’m an IT dork, and this (IT) program validates who I am to the world,” says the 30-year-old techie.

It was Josh’s wife, Summer, who pushed him to go professional with his love of computers. “Summer knew I wasn’t happy at my job – I was coming home mad all the time – and told me I needed to change my vocation to something I actually liked.” The idea was spot-on, but the timing was going to be difficult.

Summer was struggling with a physical disability and had to leave her banking position. Their 4-year-old daughter, Emily Piper, claimed most of her energy. Still, it seemed the right move for Josh to fulfill his lifelong dream of working in an industry he loved.

“My dad had me working with computers since I was 4-5 years old,” says Josh. “I have always been the go-to for friends and family and earned the name The Magical Tech Fairy,” he laughs. Josh admits to having 7 working computers right now and, counting mother-boards, another 15 in various stages of function lying around.

Josh knew he wanted an accelerated online IT program, and SJVC passed the screening in his research.

California Base Training, a federal program through EDD (Employment Development Department), made it possible for Josh to enroll, and he jumped at it, determined to make the most out of this education opportunity.

“Online classes make it so I can kind of morph the program around life,” says Josh. “The flexibility gives you a large advantage.” But, they don’t call the program “accelerated” casually.

“Even if you have an affinity to do these things, there is a lot of prep work for online (IT) classes,” he says, referring to the extensive reading and research requirements. “You need to actually understand what you’re writing about, because you will lose it real fast if you’re going to just copy and paste answers right out of the book.”

To help this technical information stick, Josh and Andrew – a good friend of his who is also enrolled in the program – have their own study group. “If you want to really know something – not just from your perspective – teach somebody,” says Josh. “Because if you have to make someone else understand it, you had better really know it.” He and Andrew have both benefitted from this exercise.

Josh is now 6 months in and doing well. With a 3.98 GPA, he has made the Dean’s List every module.

“He is dedicated to success, extremely positive and passionate about Information Technology,” says Robert Vasile, IT instructor, who admires Josh’s courage to change direction. “He decided to pursue a career that he loved, rather than stay in one in which he just made a living.”

One of the major advantages of SJVC’s IT program is the preparation students are given to take the industry certification exams that are most recognized for their areas of concentration. Josh recently took his CompTIA Networking+ and CompTIA Security+ exams back-to-back.

“My first shot at it, I didn’t get it,” says Josh. It did not take him long to recover and refocus.  “The best way to study for a test is to get beat at a test. Now you know exactly what is in the test and where you failed. Take it again and you will get it.”

Having been in the IT program trenches for awhile now, Joshua knows the hot spots that help students to make the most of their education…and develop smart positioning for those top-notch jobs.

“Make sure you understand the concept on those pages you’re reading,” he cautions. “You need to be a self-motivated person, and it still takes an amazing amount of dedication.”

He also recommends volunteer work in the IT field. “Volunteer some IT time to validate your skill set. That experience will be helpful when it’s time to actually get a job in the IT field.”

Most important: “Don’t pay attention to all the noise, the naysayers along the way. Pay attention to where you want to be and just stick with it.”

“You’re not a dime a dozen,” he emphasizes. And, neither is Josh. He never was, and now he has proven why.

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