At 21, Zechariah Weaver is in a good place. He has a job with benefits that include employer-paid training and travel opportunities, he bought a car and moved out of his childhood home, and hes saving for a down payment on a house.
Hes somewhat amazed at how his career came together, but the College of Southern Maryland student also realizes that without discipline, a passion for his field, and being ready when an opportunity came, his situation could be quite different.
At a young age, Weaver of Drayden developed an interest in computers. Through choices he made in high school, college and as an information technology (IT) professional he cultivated his budding interest into a career. IT is not a static field, and Weaver knows that for continued success he will need to build knowledge and skills through academic credentials and certifications.
I have been interested in computers my whole life. When Im not working on network security at my job or learning about computer systems at CSM, Im tinkering and rebuilding computers at home, Weaver said. “I enjoy being a part of an industry that is constantly changing, constantly evolving. I think that is one of the things that interests me most about a career in this field. You have to work to stay on your toes and to keep up, let alone work to gain a competitive edge.”
Weaver chose to attend classes at the Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center in Leonardtown and as a student at Leonardtown High School he began taking classes through CSMs dual enrollment program. Through his CSM courses, Weaver acquired IT internships in his junior and senior years. When he graduated from high school in 2012, Weaver had 36 college credits from CSM and he decided to continue toward completion of an associate degree rather than transfer elsewhere as a sophomore.
It was a calculated decision that I would work toward an associates and then fine-tune where I wanted to go with computers, said Weaver of earning a degree in business administration in January 2014. He is continuing his studies toward a second degree, in computer science.
His business courses provided a customer service foundation that served him well when he worked for Best Buy in high school, he said. One particular customer service experience made a lasting impact for Weaver and the customer.
I gave the same level of customer service and expertise to each person I worked with, so the interaction didnt stand out to me. [The customer] asked if I could come in for an interview with his employer, Smartronix. When I got there I felt like I had already been hired, Weaver said. This job has opened so many doors for me.
Ziggy [Weaver] is an outstanding young professional on our IT team and a fabulous addition to our team. He joined the company more than one year ago and immediately took advantage of our generous corporate support for training and education. We look forward to working with Ziggy and his passion for information technology and desire for knowledge and career advancement, said Smartronix Program Manager, Telecommunications and Related Communications-Electronics Systems Michael Terry Snavely.
Smartronix, Inc., with headquarters in Hollywood, Maryland, provides expertise in cloud computing, cyber security, health IT, software development, network operations and mission-focused engineering. As a systems administrator, Weaver looks at ways to mitigate network vulnerabilities for clients. He also looks at ways to build his certifications. Since starting with Smartronix more than a year ago, Weaver has added certifications as Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT), Security+ and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) for Security, and for Routing and Switching.
He recently added Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) with training provided by CSMs Corporate Center.
In 2014, Smartronix allocated funds for me to attend a training bootcamp where I earned multiple certifications. The cost of that week-long training in Vienna, Virginia, included travel, hotel and per diem for food. The following year, funding was lined up for me to attend a CEH bootcamp at the same facility when I learned there was CEH training through CSM right here in St. Marys County. It made sense to stay local and save money on travel, said Weaver.
The Ethical Hacker course adds context to what I do now as a systems administrator, and provided insight into the type of job Id like to have in the future, said Weaver.
CSM has provided a highly valuable service to our technical community for many years by making top quality professional development, certification training and test preparation available locally in Southern Maryland. It saves both Smartronix and our employees time and money. Having to travel an hour and a half, or more, to the outskirts of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to acquire the right coursework would serve to stifle the growth of talent in our geography. CSM has found just the right niche, providing key targeted IT education opportunities to professionals in our local community, said Smartronix Executive Vice President for Engineering Solutions, retired Navy Rear Adm. Steve Eastburg.
For information on Computer Science programs at CSM, visit http://www.csmd.edu/BAT/ComputerScience/. For information on professional development and certification programs through the Corporate Center, visit http://www.corporatecenter.csmd.edu/
Certified Ethical Hacker Exam Prep
Through the College of Southern Marylands Corporate Center, information technology (IT) professionals can take training for Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Exam in Southern Maryland. Facilitated by an EC Council Certified Instructor, the intense five-day class provides students with hands-on training and experience in ethical hacking.
Students are immersed in an interactive environment where they learn how to scan, test, hack and secure their own systems. The lab-intensive environment gives each student in-depth knowledge and experience with the current essential security systems. Students will begin by understanding how perimeter defenses work and then be led into scanning and attacking their own networks, no real network is harmed.
Students then learn how intruders escalate privileges and what steps can be taken to secure a system. Also covered is Intrusion Detection, Policy Creation, Social Engineering, DDoS Attacks, Buffer Overflows and Virtual Creation.
The course is 35 hours at a cost of $2,295 per person and includes EC Council curriculum, test voucher and certified instructor.
For information on the CEH training, contact Corporate Center Lead Business Developer Karen OConnor, firstname.lastname@example.org , 240-725-5479; or Corporate Center Senior Business Developer Linda Schleip, email@example.com , 301-934-7548. For information on Corporate Center courses, visit http://www.corporatecenter.csmd.edu/.