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Esmeralda Cortes uses gap in employment to train for a new IT career

Cybersecurity Program Graduate

Recently let go from her job, Esmeralda Cortes '22 used her gap in employment as an opportunity to invest in herself and scout future opportunities. Cortes reached out to her network and learned about Summit Academy OIC's Cybersecurity training from a friend in Phase II of the program. After researching how to break into IT and exploring the different fields, Cortes enrolled at Summit to train for her new career in cybersecurity.

"As much as I love working with people, retail wasn't paying enough so I could live comfortably. I went into tech. because I wanted to change my career," said Cortes. Being recently unemployed, Cortes said that the no out-of-pocket training cost was another driving factor that compelled her toward Summit.

"I did some college, and I ended up dropping out. Summit is the first schooling after high school that I've done, and it's been a great experience," said Cortes. "I think it's very important to learn the fundamentals so that we can move to other careers. We need those stepping-stones for sure."

Throughout her 20-week training, Cortes found learning about digital forensics and digging through the computer to recover files particularly intriguing. Even though learning some of the material, like network troubleshooting, coding, and reading different computer logs, felt a little overwhelming at times, she always felt supported by her classmates and instructors.

"The teachers are very flexible, and they're open to talking about different options for you. I'm always asking questions during the class so I can keep learning," said Cortes. "If you're in Phase I of the program, there is a Phase II student who can help you in class."

When it came time to brush up on her work readiness skills, Cortes thought she already knew how to build a resume because of her experience working at a staffing agency. However, she learned from the professional development course to tailor her resume and hone her IT skills because she is transitioning to a different entry-level career.

Currently, she works as an Associate Field Support Engineer at Revo Health. She hopes to establish her own home network to secure her family's house. "I have two girls to support, and my husband also works. I'm definitely looking forward to not having to live paycheck to paycheck anymore."

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