BICSI Insider

Insider 5_6

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ORGANIZATION q Page 8 I'm 30 years old with a 5-year-old daughter and work for Ozarks Technical Community College in the Network Hardware division of the IT department. Working in the ICT industry is one of the best decisions I have made for my career path. I learned this by stepping outside my comfort zone and trying something new. My first experience outside of school was the 2015 SkillsUSA competition, which inspired me to look for new opportunities to improve my skills. A part-time job opportunity as a Network Hardware Technician was my first venture into the ICT world and pushed the boundaries of what I had previously done. I decided to dig in and give the position my all, which happily turned into a full-time job just a few months later. The job presented many challenges and opportunities to test my skills as I worked to improve them. I took this newfound knowledge and participated in the 2016 SkillsUSA competition. Working my way to third place nationally was a great joy and an experience I won't soon forget. I then decided to complete the BICSI Installer 1 ® training and earn my INST1 ® certificate, another pivotal moment in my ICT career development that would help shape what was to come. With 2 ½ years of ICT work experience under my belt, I decided to test my skills once more. I applied for and was grateful to be awarded the Women in BICSI 2018 Cabling Skills Challenge Sponsorship. The competition was a grueling three-day event that pushed me to perform. Needless to say, I was thrilled to earn second place in the INST1 category. It was a great accomplishment professionally and an extremely personal victory as that time in my life was especially difficult. As many can attest to, there's never a dull moment in the ICT industry or in life. While I was preparing and participating in the competition, I had several projects going on at work and I was also struggling with health challenges. Come to find out I was competing with a dying gallbladder, which was removed just a week after competition! I didn't let it get to me though. I am glad I continued with the competition and did my best even though my nerves were going crazy! It was a rewarding experience and I appreciate all the support from the Women in BICSI group. My BICSI training combined with lessons learned from completing a flight center retrofitting project at work, replacing our older distribution switches, and many new construction projects, has helped me grow in the ICT industry. What started as a part-time job has now become an ever-evolving opportunity for me to push myself out of my comfort zone into an industry that I feel passionate about. With a strong background of on-the-job application and understanding of technical knowledge, I now teach cabling classes. I was nervous at first, of course, but I had plenty of support to keep More than Words from Women in BICSI The Rewards of Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone by Ashley Smith, INST1 (continued on page 9)

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