CompTIA Certs Help IT Pro to Keep Prison Running Securely, Smoothly

by Amy L. Hamblin | Jul 14, 2017

Claudia WeinsteinEight years ago, Claudia Weinstein had to press the restart button on her life. Fleeing an abusive relationship, she left everything behind and started over.

“The first couple of years were very difficult,” Weinstein said. “I started looking for work, and fortunately, someone took a chance on me.”

Weinstein, who always liked computers and was naturally tech-savvy, landed a job with an IT service contractor. Her on-the-job training not only yielded the experience she needed to start her new life, but it also gave her the confidence to later earn her CompTIA A+ certification.

That job experience came in handy when Weinstein qualified for an IT position at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice three years later. As a systems support specialist, Weinstein maintained software and hardware within the prison system. Seeking opportunities to advance her career, she was encouraged to earn CompTIA A+.

“I jumped at the chance to get it,” she said, emphasizing that her employer’s willingness to pay for the certification underscores how highly the state of Texas values its employees. “They expect me to do my job, but they also take good care of me, which makes doing my job easier.”

Weinstein prepared by using KnowledgeNet on-demand courses, which she liked because they were self-paced and offered instructional videos, practice tests, live labs and other hands-on tools to ensure she understood the content.

CompTIA Certification Leads to Promotions

Getting my CompTIA A+ certification helped boost my self-esteem. I dreamed of working in IT, and I did not give up. If I can advance in this field, so can you.

Throughout Weinstein’s preparation, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice rewarded her efforts. She was promoted after completing the coursework and again after she earned CompTIA A+.

“I supervise technicians in high-security prisons, work on servers for an education program in the prison, and support inmate and staff computers,” Weinstein said. “CompTIA A+ gives me a well-rounded background I apply to my job every day.”

Indeed, working for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice entails special processes, security requirements and chains of command unique to the prison system environment. For example, although Weinstein has permission to have the tools she needs to do her job, they must be numbered, labeled and etched. All property and equipment is tagged and tracked carefully.

“Our network is a closed network,” Weinstein said. “Even though I do have internet access, not everybody does, and certain things are not allowed. Everything is monitored by an information security office.”

CompTIA Certification Continues to Deliver Opportunities

Weinstein recently renewed her CompTIA A+ certification and was promoted again. She is now a network specialist who supervises IT operations and technicians throughout the Texas prison system. She also maintains and troubleshoots the door control computer system and server.

“This is a significant job promotion for me,” Weinstein said. “Although CompTIA A+ was not a requirement for my new position, it was a plus because the skills I gained from it helped me meet the job qualifications and interview well.”

Weinstein is currently preparing for CompTIA Network+ certification. Her study has already helped her better understand how prison servers are put together. She may also pursue CompTIA Security+ to continue to supplement her education and experience.

“Getting my CompTIA A+ certification helped boost my self-esteem,” Weinstein said. “I value my certifications — particularly my CompTIA ones — because they have helped me advance in my IT career. I advise people starting out in IT to get certified, and don’t give up on your dream! I dreamed of working in IT, and I did not give up. If I can advance in this field, so can you.”

Which certification will help you achieve your IT dreams? Find out with the CompTIA Career Roadmap.

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