2019 Computer Service Technician / Network Installer
Systems Admin at Manufacturers Resource Group

“Being a Systems Administrator at MRG gives me the ability to touch every aspect of IT. Two-and-a-half years after graduating, I have moved up in responsibility and pay, and have made good progress towards my goal of advancing into a management position in IT. For students entering the workforce today, the IT industry offers so many openings at all levels of experience. The key is always to have a goal of where you want to go.”

Daphnee Alerte
I could have continued to work in business and made a good living.

I have over 19 years of management experience in business, sales and in transportation. For more than 10 years, I’ve owned and run an interior design and event planning business. In event planning, you work 7-days a week; you don’t even have weekends free.  I wanted a more balanced work and family life, so that I could give more time to my daughters.

Returning to a corporate management position seemed a step backwards.

I hadn’t worked in the corporate world for 10 years. I was concerned that some employers prefer candidates who have been working for a company—not for themselves.

Then I broke my leg; it was a ‘wake-up call’.

What if something happened to me? An injury could mean 4-6 months in rehabilitation. I needed to change the way I was working.

If I were to go into a new career, I wanted it to be in technology.

I’ve always been interested in technology. My daughter goes to robot fairs–and puts together robots. This has become a shared passion—we love building robots together.

Daphnee posing for photo in classroom
It’s not easy to return to school; if you are motivated, it can take you into your future.

Computer and networking technology has so many branches. You can work in pretty much any industry—in help desk, networking and security positions. And it’s fun!

After researching a lot of schools, I chose MTTI.

I wanted a cost-effective, accelerated program that would prepare me to start a job and a career. Because of my business management experience, I would like to advance to a management position in technology, within 2-3 years.

I enjoyed every part of the Computer & Networking program—none of it was boring.

We learned to set up active directories, network and troubleshoot. Key to the program’s success is having lab every day. Some days I didn’t think I understood the new material in the classroom. When we went into the lab, I felt back on track.

MTTI has great teachers, who make learning fun.

Boris, my primary instructor, is patient and pays attention to every student. Both Ken, who cross-trained us in cabling, and Boris, cared about having us understand what we were doing—and why. My classmates were a fun group; everyone focused on the learning process; we helped one another study for the weekly tests and prepare to take the A+ Certification.

The key to learning is to research what you don’t understand.

You aren’t just going to be given every answer.  When you research by googling, you find out you are not the only person asking that question—it’s happened to someone before. You grow from troubleshooting and you learn from your mistakes.  When you figure out why something happened, and then find the solution, it feels very rewarding.

Most challenging about returning to school was balancing life and study.

The program requires dedication and good time management to keep up with the work. Sometimes I felt over-challenged by going to school while managing my own design and event planning business. I would sometimes lose some sleep while studying. I knew it was important to be in class; I always came to school.

While searching for internships and jobs, I experienced some self-doubts.

I questioned myself:  ‘Will I lose all of the time I’ve invested by not getting a job?’ I sent out more than 150 resumes. When people started calling, I recognized that I did have something they wanted.

Later, I wondered if I had been too hardline during interviews in negotiating salary.

What if I had talked myself out of positions? When out of 12 candidates,  I was the only one called back for a second position, I became excited.  Employers apparently valued the combination of my new technology skills and my business management experience.

From day one of the program, I wanted to intern with the State of Rhode Island.

MTTI prepares you to work anywhere, at large or small companies. By training hands-on I gained confidence. By the time internship began, I wasn’t worried—I knew no matter what, I would be ok. It was a privilege to be accepted for internship with the State.

An MTTI graduate who works for the State of RI, trained me.

Robert Pelletier, Technical Support Manager for the Division of Information Technology, wanted me to learn; he exposed me to everything.  I was able to touch on almost every aspect of tech support and of helping end users—in this case, the State employees.

I learned to use the ticketing system that ensures service requests are completed.

I imaged computers and set up stations with all of the software to get them ready for users. After that I deployed them. Working in this way, you can change a whole department or building in a shorter time than if you set up each computer, one by one.

I also answered calls from State employees.

The IT Division services almost 500 employees at multiple locations, including Warwick, Providence, Wakefield, Pawtucket, Woonsocket and Cranston. I traveled to those offices. When visiting other locations, I appreciated how important it is to be friendly, respectful and to listen to the employee who has the issue—before coming up with a solution. The client is the one who is experiencing the issue.

My business management experience helped me sympathize with the State employee.

Having been both a manager of someone, and also an employee and a customer, I understood the client’s needs and perspective. Once the client feels you are really listening and that you are respecting him and his space—it will go well. Demonstrating that you know what you are doing inspires the client’s confidence.

Internship with the State of RI bridged me from being a student to being ready for employment.

After internship, I was hired at CVS. I will work in a Tier 1 Help Desk Technical Support position, communicating with CVS stores. As I train for the new position, I’m continuing to learn. At home, friends and family are also calling me—I’m the go-to person for setting up printers and troubleshooting their issues. 

MTTI has been a great experience—the school is very professional, but feels like a big family.

I didn’t expect that it would be so friendly—everyone has a big smile. The instructors care about what you need to enter the industry. If you are going to be successful in IT, recognize that there will always be new technology—you will always have to keep learning. When you complete the Computer & Networking program, you have learned how to learn, so you can keep current with changing technology.

Technology is evolving—not just in years, but in months.

There is a need for technical support at all levels—not only for experienced people. Some companies are willing to hire new graduates and shape them as Techs. Other companies want you to be ‘ready-to-go’ without needing a lot of supervision; MTTI’s program is strong—it prepares you well enough to do that.