ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ Insights into Tech, Data, and Life ʕᵔᴥᵔʔ

Thriving Through Tech: My Per Scholas Journey


After graduating college, I was ecstatic that I would likely never have to sit for another exam. Yeah, I know. Life is one big test, but it’s the ambiguity, the vicissitudes and the novelties that at least animates it and lends it excitement!

I had an exchange on the Black Cloud Geek’s Facebook page about breaking into cybersecurity. I’ve always possessed an interest in computers and I was racking my brain trying to figure out a plausible track into the field.

One aspect of the IT and hardware tinkering community that I’ve come to appreciate is the realistic advice that they offer about breaking into Information Technology. They dismantled any notion that there was a fast track into cybersecurity that would take less than a year and a half to two years. That’s something that I needed to hear as it was a leveled contrast to the over-optimistic timelines of uninformed influencers and paid bootcamp hawkers that Youtube’s algorithm felt the need to inundate me with.

What I gathered through a few Zoom conversations and discord chats is that studying for tech certifications would help in accelerating my tech career, and a good program that would assist me with those certs would be Per Scholas.


A massive advantage of Per Scholas over similar programs is that it’s free and they pay for your certifications, which for me would be CompTIA’s A+. Another benefit of the program is the active Alumni community and post graduation resources that graduated students have access to. I think in the mad rush to upskill for a career change, pivoters neglect the efficacy of a vibrant online community that is able to guide and direct them to desirable outcomes.


While I wasn’t enthused about more classes and more exams, I have to acknowledge that Per Scholas was able to make the process of attending online classes enjoyable. The schedule was M-F, 10 am to 5pm. Breaks are sprinkled in liberally and we’re provided an hour for lunch. The length of lecture was typically between 1-2 hours and the expectation is that while we’re not attending lecture, we should be completing assignments and studying for our certification.

The body responsible for creating the certification is CompTIA and they’re a separate organization from Per Scholas. Typically, each certification requires the test taker to sit for and pass one exam, but the A+ is split up into 2 cores, which means those seeking the coveted title of “A+ Certified” have to take 2 exams. The logic for splitting the A+ into 2 tests stems from the fact the material is very broad in scope.


While I don’t enjoy tests, I’m a decent test taker. CompTIA’s exams are mostly composed of multiple choice questions and I felt well prepared to sit for them due to the excellent instruction provided by my instructors, Charles and Claudia. I was able to pass both cores on my first attempt, with a good balance of time remaining for each.

Every Thursday our class also had a professional development day where a career coach would prepare us for interviews and would assist us with revamping our resumes. Tanisha was our class’ coach and I’m grateful for the insights she provided for us to break into tech. For a few of the sessions, our Technical Recruiters would also step in and provide direction.

That’s right, we’re also assigned a technical recruiter. Mike is my recruiter and he’s been instrumental in providing me guidance and direction, especially in regards to the inevitable gauntlet of technical interviews that await me.


Per Scholas gives you access to a strong curriculum, a great community, excellent instructors and a direct pathway to a job after graduation. You’re probably thinking “There must be a catch, right?”. No, the only catch is that the expectations for students are high. Students need to maintain a strong attendance record and a certain grade to remain in the program. With careful planning and persistent effort, the program is very manageable and the majority of my class did graduate.

At times, it did feel like a grind, particularly the weeks before my A+ was scheduled. I had to balance lecture, assignments, quizzes, meetings, and obligations from work(I did hold down a job while attending the program). What I did to relieve stress was to complete personal projects that would reinforce many of the concepts we learned in class. What I enjoyed most about these projects is that I was able to explore my budding interest in video editing. I would document how I would complete the project through a video recording, and then I’d spruce it up using video editing tools. My current obsession is with the raspberry pi and I’ve already completed a project with it, which I hope you’ll check out, here.


To continue to manage the grind, I also sought out other communities to engage with and acquire direction from. By stumbling around through Discord a bit, I discovered Professor Roger Whyte's Cyber Lounge and was instantly absorbed by the energy of everyone who attended the Thursday Night Career lab with Gina King. For those interested in Cyber Security, I emphatically suggest attending the career lab and also reaching out to Professor Roger himself.


Because the program is fully remote, our class was very diverse in terms of geography, background and skill level. The benefit of this is that we were exposed to a vibrant array of perspectives and experience that excited our cohort. While I believe that I do possess technical literacy, there were several instances where I was stumped and had to rely on the more experienced members of class(thanks Marcus and Brandon) to persist through a problem or concept.

Before I knew it graduation day had arrived and I was selected to represent the class by giving a speech. I was also presented the Core Value award, which I was ecstatic to accept!

I’m very grateful to my fellow students, the per scholas staff, and my family. Thank you all very much!

Now, time to find a job, and obtain more certs! Stay tuned!

For anyone Interested in tech, I highly suggest applying to Per Scholas! I enjoyed the experience immensely and am confident that you will too!

#Cybersec #IT Learning #Infosec #tech