People of Zero To Engineer: Chris Mendez

Being completely immersed and productive perfectly sums up my college learning experience. I attended the University of Phoenix and graduated with a B.S. in IT and Software engineering. 90% of my time was spent doing online coursework, while the other 10% was used trying to understand the previous 90%. While I enjoyed it, I wish I would have spent more time gaining hands-on experience.

I applied to numerous jobs after graduating and realized how important hands-on experience was compared to the school I went to or the degree I earned. It’s ironic how every employer wants hands-on experience but none are willing to give it to you. The only job I was offered was as a help-desk tech at a local IT company, which got acquired and resulted in my swift lay-off. After many desktop support and helpdesk roles I saw NexGenT’s Zero To Engineer ad on Instagram and realized that I could be doing so much more with my career.

I enrolled into Zero to Engineer because of Terry’s message to “invest in your career and education”. That
message really resonated with me and I believed in it because he had done all this before and was extremely successful.

Zero to Engineer gave me a million times more than what I expected, and the experience was beyond phenomenal. Before ZTE I didn’t even know that switches and routers had command lines. The FSNA project was a beast in itself and I remember re-watching every video in the module.

ZTE gave me the motivation and confidence to go the extra mile at work. Senior management took notice and I was asked to collaborate and work on many new projects. The tools, protocols, and skills I learned in ZTE became the foundation I needed to complete most of those projects. If I only knew about the networking world earlier I would have joined Zero to Engineer sooner.

I recently accepted a new job offer and am currently working on a broad range of networks in a government office as a Network Administrator for the City of Santa Ana. This new job gave me a 50% pay-bump and I can’t thank the Zero to Engineer program enough for helping me achieve this milestone.

My ultimate career goal is to become a senior engineer and with Terry and his team at my side, I know I’ll achieve my goal in no time.


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