People of Zero To Engineer: Chris Evans

Education has always been the primary avenue I’ve chosen to progress my career. Shortly after earning my associate’s degree, I started working as a Business Analyst making $29k/year for Assurant. Budgets and data analysis came easy to me, but after 7 years I just couldn’t stay in the same place anymore. I had to change careers and start looking for other exciting opportunities where I could
learn and grow.

I’ve always been fond of IT, but didn’t have a way to break into the industry. So I left my $48k/year salary at Assurant and enrolled as a full-time student in the computer science program at Bowling Green State. Then the financial crisis hit in 2008 and my time at Bowling Green was cut short. I never finished my degree because I couldn’t renew my student loans. Day by day my financial situation got worse and I needed to do something quick.

Fortunately for me, a friend from Bowling Green landed me a job at a start-up he worked for called Consumer Choice Marketing. In terms of compensation, Consumer Choice was stingy, but times were tough and $35k/year salary was better than being unemployed. What I wasn’t expecting was my friend leaving the company so fast, which forced me into his open position as an IT Manager.

With no prior IT experience, I was suddenly responsible for the entire IT department. A majority of my troubleshooting techniques involved unplugging/plugging cables or calling external consultants for help. Things went surprisingly well until we upgraded our old Linksys to a new Cisco 2901 industrial router. I obviously had no clue when it came to setting up the router so I called a consultant again.

I closely watched the consultant configure the router and I was hooked. Without even knowing what I was looking for I started diligently researching networking programs. I had no plan on how to go about the networking career path, but I knew I wanted to do what the consultant was doing. After watching tons of online videos and buying expensive learning materials for certs, I knew I was lost. Turning to education this time around seemed like a bad idea, until I came across the Zero to Engineer program.

Zero to Engineer gave me an in-depth look at the entire IT industry and how to navigate it. For the first time in my life I had clarity and the vision needed to break into the IT industry. Timing was perfect too because Consumer Choice began letting multiple people go and I knew it was time to move on myself.

After completing the program, I landed an interview with the Toledo Public School District for a Network Admin position. Terry mentored me throughout the entire interview process and I was offered the job with a $57k/year salary. I’ve been in the role for a couple years now and manage the entire network infrastructure for the school district. I’m making a very comfortable salary of $69k/year now and it wouldn’t have been possible without the knowledge and mentorship I received throughout the Zero to Engineer program. I hope to level up as a Systems Engineer in the near future and become a consultant for the businesses in my local community.

Zero to Engineer gives students the training and experience that no one gives in tech education. It exposes students to every aspect of networking and equips them with the knowledge and tools necessary to break into the IT field.