Wed, Nov 04, 2015

Graduate Tyrell Takes Alternate Route to Success at Bloomberg through Per Scholas Network Engineer Training Track

For past generations of Americans, the path to a viable career was clear-cut; the equation was simple: college = a good paying job. In today’s world, the straight and narrow path doesn’t exist anymore. Per Scholas graduate Tyrell Robinson has a journey that shows that even the most traditional routes to success don’t pay off like they used to. Success for Tyrell came from thinking outside of the box.

Tyrell grew up in upstate New York and had dreams to go to college to pursue a degree that would help him obtain a career in the tech world. Tyrell says he always loved tech and pursuing a career was natural for him. “I first became interested in tech when saw the movie Hackers. I’ve always been a fan of electronic devices and I love to tinker; so it was only a matter of time before I got into the tech field,” he says.

That came to fruition when he enrolled in Utica College upon graduating high school. After four years of study, he graduated Utica with a degree in Computer Science. He felt like he had made it; he was ready to jump right into the tech field, and shortly after graduating, he moved to New York City to find a job.

At first, Tyrell took IT contract positions to make ends meet. The jobs only lasted short-term and he was constantly worried about his stability. After three different contract positions, Tyrell still couldn’t find a permanent position. He was frustrated; money was tight.

“I have a degree,” he says. “I did everything right. Why can’t I find a job?”

Finally, Tyrell secured a permanent position at G2 Investment Group, a financial services firm, as Technical Admin Support. He worked there for a year and a half steadily. He felt he was finally doing what he always wanted to do.

Then he was laid off.

Times got tough after that. His job searches were fruitless and to top it off, he had bills to pay including expensive student loans from his undergraduate degree.

“The biggest struggle I had to overcome was accepting that having a college degree would not guarantee me full time employment,” Tyrell says.

During his time of unemployment, a friend recommended that he take a look at Per Scholas, a nonprofit tech school in the Bronx. He found out that because of his background, he could enroll in the Network Engineer course which provides CompTIA’s Network+ and Cisco CCNA certification through Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC).

He went for it. And, he says, it was the hardest 18 weeks of his life.

While studying full time for the rigorous 4 and a half month course, Tyrell’s unemployment ran out. This left him without any money to pay rent, his loans, or any other bills, and without any time to get a part time job. He was almost evicted and could barely pay for transportation to and from class.

“It was hard,” he says. “I am educated and qualified. I don’t want to be couch surfing.”

Despite the stress going on in his personal life, Tyrell pushed on. He got a lot of support from his Career Coach, Steve Nunez. “I was having some extreme hardships outside of the course and was ready to quit. Steve motivated me to keep pushing and keep my eye on the prize. He reminded me of where I came from prior to Per Scholas and where I said I wanted to be after.”

Tyrell also got some help from Per Scholas, free Metrocards to get to and from class.

After 18 weeks of hell, Tyrell made it. He graduated from the grueling Network Engineer course with his Net+ and CCNA certifications and hit the pavement looking for work.

A few months passed and Tyrell got a call from Steve who recommended him for a job at Bloomberg. “I was like, ‘Wow, Bloomberg?’ I wanted this job so badly. Bloomberg is one of the best in the business.”

He was super nervous for the interview. He not only wanted the job, but needed it. He stayed calm by remembering everything he learned in the Career Development portion of the Per Scholas course: how to present yourself, communicate, and interview professionally.

“If I hadn’t found Per Scholas I wouldn’t have the confidence and ability to articulate my IT skill set and educational background,” he says.

After an intense interview, he eagerly followed up a few days later. He was informed that he had in fact gotten the job.

“I was so excited and happy to be working at the Bloomberg. It was a dream come true,” Tyrell says.

Now he’s been at Bloomberg as an Information Systems Tech for about a year. And, so far so good. He loves the work culture and the opportunity that the company provides for a viable, long-term career.

“Everyone at Bloomberg is so open minded and friendly. I love my job,” he says. “My story is a true testament of how Per Scholas is changing lives.”

Student Profiles