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Online Training Provides A Boost For Chicago I.T. Professional

The I.T. field has become increasingly popular in recent years due to the many advancements in technology. Whether it's the ever-popular electronic handheld devices, or the technology-driven systems used by companies, there are numerous positions available for those looking to get into I.T. Although there are some fields that don't put much emphasis on education, the I.T. field puts heavy emphasis on it and keeping up to speed with emerging technologies and technological systems.

Many people are turning to staffing companies in order to help with the stresses that can come during the job hunt. Patrick Gagnon, a 35-year-old I.T. professional, chose this route to help him find his current I.T. position, but emphasizes his education as key to his overall success.

I.T. Contractor Patrick Gagnon (photo courtesy of Patrick Gagnon)
I.T. Contractor Patrick Gagnon (photo courtesy of Patrick Gagnon)

What is your current role within the I.T. industry?

"I'm an I.T. contractor. I obtained my current I.T. position through Digital Staffing, a staffing company located in Chicago. Digital Staffing helps those in the I.T. field to find temporary and long-term positions. Through Digital Staffing, I have been on assignment at John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago. I have been at MacArthur Foundation since July of 2012 and work as a special project I.T. contractor. I have been involved in numerous positions working as an I.T. consultant through small businesses. The duties have included helpdesk, networking and MS Office training."

What sort of education is needed to successfully do your job?  

"I was a theatre/communications major at Northwestern University (Magna Cum Laude), where I took a few computer science classes. I began pursuing I.T. certifications and education independently about 18 months ago and gained the CompTIA A+ certification in January 2012. This is what helped to get me in the door with MacArthur Foundation."

How did you go about getting educated? Do you believe education plays a vital role in landing a great job in I.T.?

"Chicago-based company TrainSignal offers online computer training. TrainSignal has massively increased my exposure to numerous technologies and concepts that relate directly or indirectly to my duties -- networking, security, database administration, SQL Server, SharePoint, virtualization, etc. My colleagues and supervisors are very aware that my skills are growing. They are utilizing those new skill sets and have a continually positive perception of my value. Online training is allowing me to affordably be exposed to general and specific technologies. For someone trying to ramp up a second career at the age of 35, I have seen and continue to see online education as vital."

Sara Lugardo is a professional writer out of Chicago, Illinois. She has a Bachelor's in Communication and is currently working on her Master's. Her work can be found on

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