Rachel Sokol

It feels like I have a purpose. I have grown and changed so much. I tell people what I do, and they can’t believe me! They’re so impressed! I am proud to be one of the many individuals who are changing the face of tech.

Junior Technical Instructor, Cybersecurity

Per Scholas National Capital Region

Location

Silver Spring, MD

Revitalizing a Professional IT Career

For a long time, Rachel wasn’t sure what her career passions were. She worked a number of jobs in IT, marketing, and social services, yet none proved to be career paths she felt entirely passionate about. For a time, she stayed at home to help care for her family and offered her time, talents, and services to helping family and friends with technical tasks of all kinds- whenever she could. However, Rachel’s sense of unfulfillment deepened and she was eager to find rewarding work that was in line with her personal interests and gave her a sense of job security.

While in between professional positions, working a part-time dry cleaning delivery gig, Rachel learned of Per Scholas from an ad on the back of a bus in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, DC. She decided to look into the professional development course advertised in attempts to revitalize her professional IT career. It couldn’t hurt, she thought. That same evening, Rachel googled Per Scholas National Capital Region and applied to their IT support program. Not only did they offer free technical and career development training, but graduates earned two industry-recognized certifications at no additional cost. What did Rachel have to lose!?

Pursuing a Single Career Path

“The first few weeks felt like a boot camp, and it was definitely a rigorous pace,” commented Rachel. “However, it was the intellectual challenge I was looking for and the support to explore it.” As an introvert, Rachel really appreciated the career development component as it challenged her to step out of her comfort zone and build her professional network.

She received a lot of support from her friends and family during this time. “When people see you trying to better yourself, they try to help out if they can.” Both Rachel and her partner, who was a physician resident at the time, had similar yet busy schedules, which at times made it difficult to coordinate with one another. However, together they learned to find a balance between their work and home lives, from sharing house chores and even deciding on who will get the car which day as they shared one vehicle between them.

Throughout her training, Rachel realized that she could combine her interests in technology and service into a single career. She enjoyed learning and helping others learn and how technology can connect people. Her experience at Per Scholas was so positive, she decided to join the Per Scholas National Capital Region team where she currently works as a Junior Technical Instructor for their Cybersecurity course. Becoming a technical instructor helped Rachel to realize her personal and professional needs in a way she would not have discovered without Per Scholas.

Rachel is proud of the person she has become and looks forward to continuing to help change the face of technology and teaching the next generation of diverse tech professionals.

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