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Home » Resources » Episode 1: Hello, World! Meet The IT Job Coach Podcast: Tech Resumes, Interviews, Cover Letters, and Job Search Support

Episode 1: Hello, World! Meet The IT Job Coach Podcast: Tech Resumes, Interviews, Cover Letters, and Job Search Support

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Embarking on a career in the IT industry can be both exciting and challenging. With rapid advancements in technology, the landscape is constantly evolving, requiring professionals to stay updated and adapt. In this article, we delve into the insights shared by Frank DeMaio, the host of the IT Job Coach podcast, who has over two decades of experience in the field. Join us as we explore Frank’s journey, his invaluable advice, and how he is empowering individuals to succeed in their IT careers.

Frank DeMaio’s IT Journey: Frank’s passion for technology started with a 386 computer and Windows 3.1, igniting a curiosity that would shape his career. Through perseverance and dedication, he overcame challenges, leveraged opportunities, and carved a path in the IT industry. Frank’s story is a testament to the potential for growth and success within the field, regardless of one’s starting point.

The Importance of Mentoring: One of the key takeaways from Frank’s career is the significance of mentoring. Early on, he recognized the value of assisting others and embraced the role of a mentor. From providing guidance on resume building to conducting mock interviews, Frank’s commitment to helping others succeed has been instrumental. In fact, he established a mock interview group in a previous workplace, ensuring that individuals could conquer interview anxiety and excel in their career progression. By paying it forward, Frank emphasizes the power of knowledge sharing and collaboration within the IT community.

Insights for IT Professionals: Frank’s extensive experience has given him unique insights into the IT industry. He highlights the need for continuous learning and adaptability in a rapidly changing landscape. According to him, staying relevant in the field requires embracing new technologies, actively seeking professional development opportunities, and cultivating a growth mindset.

Moreover, Frank stresses the importance of networking within the IT community. Attending industry events, participating in online forums, and connecting with like-minded professionals can open doors to new opportunities, mentorship, and knowledge exchange.

Career Advancement Strategies: For those seeking to advance their IT careers, Frank offers practical strategies. First and foremost, he emphasizes the importance of setting clear goals and developing a roadmap for success. By defining one’s aspirations and identifying the necessary skills and experiences, individuals can take targeted steps towards achieving their objectives.

Frank also highlights the value of building a strong personal brand. With fierce competition in the job market, it is essential to establish oneself as a thought leader and expert in a specific area. Sharing knowledge through blog posts, speaking engagements, and contributing to open-source projects can significantly enhance one’s professional profile.

The IT Job Coach Podcast: The IT Job Coach podcast, hosted by Frank DeMaio, serves as a valuable resource for anyone navigating the IT employment landscape. With each episode, Frank shares practical advice, real-world experiences, and expert insights to guide individuals in their IT careers. Whether you are a recent graduate, a career changer, or someone looking to bounce back after a job loss, this podcast equips you with the necessary tools to thrive.

Conclusion: As the IT industry continues to evolve, it is crucial to have mentors and guides who can provide invaluable insights and support. Frank DeMaio’s journey in the IT field and his dedication to helping others through the IT Job Coach podcast make him a trusted resource. By embracing the power of mentoring, continuous learning, and strategic career planning, individuals can navigate the IT career landscape with confidence. So, tune in to the IT Job Coach podcast and let Frank empower you to reach new heights in your IT career.

Episode Transcript

Welcome to The IT Job Coach, your go-to source for it, career advice and guidance. Whether you’re just entering the workforce, seeking to make a career pivot, or you have recently experienced job loss. This podcast is here to support you. Now here is your host, Frank DeMaio.

Hey everyone, and welcome to the first episode of the IT Job Coach podcast. My name is Frank DeMaio and this podcast is all about it. Career help for recent grads, folks who are pivoting in their career to it, and also those who lost their job, uh, recently and are looking to bounce back From this episode, I’m gonna talk about my background and where I’ve been in my career in it.

And kind of telling the story about how I got into helping folks with their IT career. So my IT career started over 20 years ago. I’ve been working with computers way back when I was in high school. Um, at the time, technology was, is not what it is today. My first computer that my parents bought me and I thought was the most amazing computer and I’m it’s gonna, was gonna last me a lifetime is was a 3 86 computer with 40 megahertz and 120 megabyte hard drive.

And I had a three and a half inch floppy drive and a five and a quarter inch floppy drive. And I just thought it was the most amazing thing. And back then we used Windows 3.1 and DOS prompts, command prompts to do commands and that kind of thing. And it was really cool. And I, I loved it quite a bit. I didn’t know a lot about computers at the time and so, but I wanted to, and I had this drive to learn more.

And back then we didn’t have things like YouTube or um, or. Platforms to be able to teach us how to do those things. Um, back then it was basically dial up in AOL and 2,400 bod modems. So what I did is, When I went to school, I started to look for people who were into computers and new computers, and I made friends with them and I, they taught me a lot.

And back then we used to, you know, when you get an application, if it was really big and you had to do an install, it might be on like six or more floppy disks and you’d have to put them in sequence and load them into your computer and store them on there. And so, That kind of got me started with computers.

B. Prior to that I had like a radio shack, T R S A D computer, um, that basically I just played games on. It actually had a cassette deck next to it and you could put like games in there and play. It looked like a cassette player. So that was, um, a lot of fun and interesting at the time. So, fast forward. To I, you know, graduated from college with a, a degree in business management and I was working at the family pizzeria and a friend of mine who was a delivery driver at the pizzeria as well, was really into computers and was going to school for computers and was bettering himself.

W studying to take the CCNA back then and doing all these things. And he actually got a job in a large financial institution. And after a while he messaged me and by messaging back then I meant he called me and he said, Hey Frank, there’s a position open. Would you be interested in interviewing? And I said, absolutely.

I would love to. So I go for the interview and I remember during the interview I really. Realized how little I knew about computers, even though I always used computers and people always came to me with their problems with computers. I didn’t know a lot of really it, so during the interview there was a lot of terminology being thrown around and I remember thinking, geez, they’re talking about switches.

I thought that was a thing on the wall that turned the lights on, and it turns out that wasn’t the case. So I didn’t actually get the job, but, The interview went really well and I was honest with them, and the people were great, and I felt good about the interview even though I didn’t get the position.

And so I continued to work at the pizzeria and after. A little while I got a call from this financial institution. They said, Frank, we have a temporary position open. It’d be like a nine month contract. Would you be interested in coming to work for us? And I jumped at it and thought, great, I’ll get all this experience.

I, I’m absolutely there. So they connected me with their recruiting company. I got onboarded there. I started working there. And they paired me up with this person overnight. And they said to me when I first started, listen, This is a very difficult person to work with. There’s not a lot of people in this company they get along with.

Um, but they’re brilliant and they’re smart. And if you pay attention, you’re gonna learn a lot. And I said, no problem, let’s do it. And the one piece of advice they gave me, and it’s something that I’ve. Taken with me my entire career is they said to me, don’t ask the same question twice. So I had my notebook and everything he explained to me and taught me.

I wrote down and I had notes and notes and every single thing, I just had it all written down if this, do this and you know, built all these process documents for myself. And I did that for nine months and it was great and I learned a lot and I think I was really excelling at the position and I left and went back to.

Uh, working more hours at the pizzeria and I also got a job for a large concrete company being like a systems person and I started to work for them and my boss at the time, great guy, brilliant guy with . Concrete knew everything there was to know about concrete, and then also was self-taught in computers and was just amazing and taught me so much.

He just was just there and just taught me a ton of things about computers and how to manage them and on all kinds of things, and it was really great. And I don’t know if you’ve ever supported. Computers in a concrete company, but basically what happens is if there’s so much dust and debris everywhere, you have to take these computers and you have to dust them off all the time.

In fact, I used to bring them down to the garage with the air compressor and blow out the computers all the time. And it would just be clouds and clouds of smoke. So, um, which was, which was an interesting position. As I was doing that, I also got another job at a package handling company, and I was loading trucks for them at night.

So I had two jobs. I would get up wicked early in the morning, like 3 30, 4 o’clock. I would go to this job at the concrete company working on computers that I’d get out, I’d run over to my other job, I’d load trucks, and then I’d wash trucks. Until, you know, nine o’clock at night, then I’d come home, go to sleep, and do it all over again.

And I did this for about a year, almost a year. And then this financial institution called me back and said, Frank, we have a permanent spot open. We want you to come and work for us. And I jumped at the chance it allowed me to not have to work two jobs anymore and, you know, not have to have, you know, 15, 16 hour days.

Um, Which was really helpful, and so I went to work for them and. It was a great experience. I started off in the network operations center. Same position that I had when I was working there temporarily. I worked there not too long after that, they promoted me to a team lead. I, um, worked my way up to a shift manager.

I remember, um, when the shift manager position. Opened up and they had people applying for it. I remember walking into the interview and it was in this big boardroom and there was 10 people, managers and vice presidents in there, and they were just firing question after question after question to me, and I was very intimidated at first.

And actually it was after my night shift, so I had my interview after working 12 hours overnight, but it must have went well because I got the job. And I was a shift manager at the, for a shift manager position. I was overseeing network systems servers, right? We were monitoring all those systems. We were monitoring the mainframe overnight, and jobs and all those kinds of things, and anything major that would happen with our systems overnight.

My role was also to act as a recovery manager or as an incident manager, and I would help to manage those issues, call the right people, get them on a conference call. All those great fun things that we do in it. And so after doing nights for six years, it started to take its toll on me. And I started to look for a position during the day and I reached out to this manager who I thought was a really great person.

I saw the way they handled themselves in meetings and I wanted to work for them. And I asked them, do you have any positions open on your team? And he said, yes. And. It was a problem manager position. Then I went to work for him as a problem manager on days, and it was great. I loved being a problem manager, and so problem manager in it.

You have, right when, when things break, it’s an incident. And then once you get the incident fixed afterwards, there’s problem management where you’re trying to figure out why did that break? How do we stop that from ever breaking again? Uh, how can we put monitoring on it so we can make sure that we know about it faster next time?

That kind of thing. And so, I did that for quite a long time. Uh, I was put on this big project where we were trying to figure out some issues with some of our major applications with the performance of them, and there were ISS end user issues with them, that kind of thing. And during that time, we started to evaluate different tools to be able to help us do that.

And at the end of that, We were able to fix all the issues, but we had all of these new applications and we need to figure out how we could leverage them and use them. And so they asked me to start this team of people to manage these new tools that we had. And it was really cool when things would break, we would get on a call and say, Hey.

You know, these tools would help us figure out what the problem was and we’d say, oh, you have a long running query here. Or, um, there’s just a, for some reason it looks like this load balancer is down because you know, all of the traffic is over here, and that kind of thing. So it really helped. To, um, support those applications and support, support the systems.

And I did that for a number of years. And then I was asked by someone I used to work with way back in the network operations center to come and help them back at the network operation they had just taken over the entire team. They asked me to come and help them kind of get it straightened out. It had fallen off and I went there and.

Was helping them with strategy and getting things back on track. Um, we did a lot of cool things. We surveyed all of the team and figured out what the biggest pain points were and we started to solve them and it was a really great experience. It was a lot of fun. I did that for about a year, and then they asked me to take on this capacity management team and.

What happened there is that that imposition and team was eliminated after a little while and they offered me three other positions in the company and they also offered me a severance package that where I could just move on to another company. And I remember those feelings at that time. And so I wound up actually, funny story, as the person who got me the job at.

This financial institution reached out to me and they’re still there. They’re still at this financial institution. They said, Frank, I heard what happened. I wanna help you. Do you, would you mind if I passed your resume along to some of these other companies who I’ve been working with? And I said, no, that would be terrific.

Thank you so much. And so he did that. And I got called in for an interview and I interviewed with some vice presidents and the CTO and all of these, you know, executives and they really liked me and they were. Basically they offered me the job and on the last day where I had to tell my current company am I.

Staying and taking one of these three positions, or am I leaving and taking my severance? I left and I said, this is a sign. You know, I, maybe there’s, it’s meant for me to move on to a different organization. And I did, and I gave my, I told them, I, you know, this was my last day and I, I moved on to this other company and.

It was cool because I went from working in internal IT to now working for a managed services company and this managed services company. You know, we managed, uh, multiple customers, big customers. My team grew to, you know, 250 people worldwide with help desks and desktop support technicians and engineers, and all of these great people.

And it was just a terrific opportunity. I learned so much and it was really great. You know, as I’ve moved on from there, I’m now back into internal IT in a different industry than I was originally. Um, and I’m learning so much and that’s what I love about it, is that you can continue to learn. So many great things in your career, you know, and there’s just so many different aspects of it.

You can be in all kinds of different roles and different, have different perspectives on it and, and different industries. It’s just a really fun and exciting career. Now, how do I get from. You know, over 20 years in an IT career to helping people with resumes and interviewing and that kind of thing. And so along the way, my entire career, I’ve always mentored people in helping them find new jobs.

And honestly, I think I owe it to my friend who started me off in my career. In the fact that I always felt like I had to pay it forward because of how you always helped me and had my back. And so along the way, you know, I’ve mentored people in their career. I’ve helped people with resumes. I’m always very aware of when people lose their jobs because I remember what I felt like, and I always go out of my way to help them, either with helping them with their resume or helping them with.

Mock interviews and that kind of thing. And actually, when I was at the financial institution, I started a mock interview group and basically what it was was a group of people. I wrote all these processes and procedures about how we would do it and. It was for folks in the company who wanted to move on to other positions, but were afraid of like the interview and that kind of thing.

We would help them with it. We would bring them into, you know, a room and do mock interview with them and help them prepare for the interview. We would also help them with their resume too, and so this way they could. Move on to bigger and better positions within the company. Now, it wasn’t for people who were looking for positions outside of the company.

They had to have applied for a position internally and we were helping them in, in progressing their career. And that was really fulfilling and a lot of fun and it was really terrific and we helped a lot of people with that. Also along the way, you know, I’ve written resumes. I actually. Have written hundreds of resumes for people.

I have interviewed hundreds of people for all the different positions that I’ve had open along my career. I’ve always interviewed tons and tons of people. I’ve been on a ton of interviews myself, and along the way I just really embraced it and really liked it. And what. Happened was one day I woke up and I realized, you know, there’s a lot of people that go through job loss and a lot of people that need help with their career and people who feel like they don’t have the support they need, you know, when they maybe lose their job unexpectedly.

When I lost my job, I had all my friends rally around me and helped me get through it. They helped me with my resume and they did all these things for me as well. And a lot of people don’t have that. So I wrote a book, um, it’s called Lost to Boss, and it basically interviews people who have lost their job, how they felt about it, how they bounce back from it.

I kind of tell my story about what happened, and that’s what really kind of culminated me into making this. Transition I’ll say from someone who just works in it, to someone who helps others work in it. And so that’s my story. Thank you so much for tuning into this first episode. Check out the next episode and let’s get that career help going.

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