People of Zero To Engineer: Marcus Mapes

Growing up, I had no IT education at all, but I did have some friends that were computer enthusiasts that showed me some things, and that’s what initially got me interested in IT in the first place. They could put together computers and fix so many problems, and even though we were just kids in middle school, they could already do all these cool things, and I couldn’t and want to be able to.

This got me interested, but I actually didn’t take any steps towards it until just shy of a year ago. I was in the Marine Core, but was on a Navy ship for that deployment, and have been in the Marine Core for coming up 5 years now, and my contract is just ending now. I read a very old book, and was just going on my second deployment and figured that I could pick up a bunch of ebooks and learn something when I had downtime on the ship, and downloaded ‘Introduction to Networking, how the internet works’ by Charles R Severance, and it talks about old school thick-net, thin-net stuff and token ring and found it cool, now I actually know how data goes from your screen and goes across the world to someone else’s computer. I started reading more into it and got genuinely interested, and I decided when I got back from deployment, that I would look into pursuing an education.

I started doing college online at American Intercontinental University to get a Degree in a Bachelors in Science and Information Technology with the specialization in Networking, and got in, which was surprising because when I was in high school, I didn’t do very good and barely got enough credits to graduate. Their online program was pretty good and very easy, with 6 classes, two of them being IT related, and I had got a 4.0 GPA for the first time in my life, and nailed all those classes with straight As. I didn’t get too far because I found NexGenT and figured it was probably going to teach me a lot more than what college would; which turned out to be absolutely true.

I was just scrolling down through Facebook and saw an advert from NexGenT and it said Network+ course only $10, checked it out and did almost all of it. I was looking into what else NexGenT offered, and they had all these success stories about people that had either never went to college and did the program and ended up being successful. Some of them did go to college and racked up a lot of debt and went through the program and claimed that they learned more than they ever learned in college. It’s like they get down to the stuff that you will actually be doing, and that’s the juicy stuff that I want to learn.

Even through the Marine Corps, learning my job, they put you through schools to learn how to do it, but realistically you don’t really learn it until you are actually get there, and it’s almost a waste of time. When I started reading those stories, I was like you know what, maybe this is something. Looking forward, this can maybe teach me something very practical, and maybe I will be able to get a job out of it way sooner and be able to actually start my career, and since I was in the military, I was able to get half off, and decided to give it a shot, and it was definitely worth it as I landed a job while only in phase 2 of the program.

My job position is called Netops Lead Mid, and it is at a contracting company called Avening Tech, and they work under the main contractor Perspecta, which is the leading contract company that serves as the IT for the Marine Corps, and NexGenT is the major factor that got me this position.

It was very circumstantial how I was able to land a job. The western regional manager for Perspecta happened to be in the second day I was shadowing employees there, and I had just helped their team fix a network issue, and they saw that I actually knew some of the command line and knew what to look for. And, there were different questions that we were asking each other, and they seemed to get the understanding that I had a general idea of what was going on and that I knew what I was doing. The supervisors here had referred me to this regional manager since he was there that day, so he pulled me aside and offered me a job. But that wouldn’t have happened had I not got this knowledge from NexGenT. I could have tried to do it without NexGenT, but you can’t trust the information online, and you have to look at multiple places to get all of the information. With NexGenT, they have everything there and easy to follow, and knew exactly how to teach it from zero to engineer level.

I would like to be a senior network engineer and move up and I am looking to do ICND2 and then CCNP right after, and would definitely recommend the Full Stack Program. The group coaching makes all the difference, and really helps you to understand things by asking questions and get fast responses from subject matter experts, and it’s dummy proof.