How Amie launched a new career in IT during COVID-19

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How Amie launched a new career in IT during COVID-19

We’d like to introduce you to Amie Hanbury. In the story she shares below, Amie describes how COVID-19 caused her to reevaluate her career, and how learning on Coursera gave her both the confidence and the skills to pursue a new opportunity. With the support of her family, and driven by a desire to make a positive difference in the world, she overcame her self-doubts and landed a fulfilling new role in a new field.

My name is Amie Hanbury, and I am a Field Service Technician at Core Technologies Inc. in Virginia. Prior to enrolling in the Google IT Support Professional Certificate, I had taken a few classes at my local community college. After I got married and had kids, between family and work, I didn’t feel like I had time for classes anymore. For most of my life, I was either in the Marine Corps or working for my local Police Department as a dispatcher. However, for the two years before I enrolled in the certificate program, I was working in a retail position. It was close to my home, and the hours were somewhat better than the long hours and mandatory overtime that were required in my previous positions, giving me more time with my small children. However, I was unhappy and felt unfulfilled by my retail job. I have a strong desire to make a difference, which retail just didn’t provide.  

I found out about the Google IT Support Professional Certificate and enrolled with the hope of gaining a better understanding of the IT field and getting an entry-level position within IT. I started taking the classes for an hour or two after work and spending more time on the program during the weekends. Sometimes I’d go to work at my retail job, have a crummy day, and then buckle down to my classes at night (this was before COVID-19). When the COVID-19 pandemic started, my store was closed to the public. I still had to go to work, but there was nothing to do. This gave me the time to think about what I wanted to do with my life, and I got motivated to go after my dreams. I started bringing my computer in so I could work on my classes.  Instead of spending 1-2 hours a night learning, I was working on them for 8 hours a day. I would save the tests that required a virtual machine (Qwiklabs) until I got home, and complete them then. I was knocking out courses left and right.

I had just finished my System Administration and IT Infrastructure services course when my husband found some job postings that he thought I would like, and that I could qualify for. I applied to what is now my new role, and within 10 minutes, I got a phone interview. The initial phone screen included a few IT questions where they wanted  to understand how I would fit on the team, and how much I would need to learn. 

During this call, my interviewer was talking with the Program Director, saying how excited she was about me and how I knew a lot more than others they had interviewed. He asked if I’d be willing to do a web interview right then. I obviously wasn’t prepared for an interview. I was dressed down, wearing no makeup, and had no time to get myself mentally prepared! However, I agreed. I was excited. The web interview went well, but at the time, I felt like I blew it. Between nervousness and not being prepared, I second-guessed a lot of my answers. However, within about 30 minutes, I received an offer letter. The whole thing, from submitting the application to receiving the offer letter, took about 1-2 hours.  Everyone at the company said that this was the quickest an offer had been extended to a candidate, and they were excited to have me on the team. 

“If it wasn’t for this program, I would not have felt confident enough to even apply.”

This program has provided me with many skills that I use at my current job. Learning how to apply permissions, re-imaging Operating Systems, and basic networking is a big part of what I do. This course gave me more than just basic knowledge. While there is still a lot to know and learn, it gave me enough to understand things that seemed so foreign prior to enrolling. Had it not been for this class, I would not have known some of the terminologies.

One of my biggest obstacles during this time was my own insecurity. I’m 38 years old, and I found myself doubting whether or not I was young enough to start over, or smart enough to retain all the information. Fortunately, my support system was amazing. My biggest cheerleader was my husband. He helps me strive to be better every day.  I believe a support system is very important.  I know it seems cliché to say, but if you don’t have the support of family or friends, it will drain you quickly.  

Some of the information presented in the course was pretty technical, and I sometimes felt overwhelmed.  Networking was my weakest topic. There were days that I had to step back and take a break.  My husband would ask me what was wrong, and I would reply, “I don’t know, maybe I made a mistake, this seems so over my head.” He would remind me why I was doing this—to make things better for the family, and to find a career that was more fulfilling. 

My advice to others would be to remember why you are doing this certificate program, and to keep going! You are not alone in the process.