CompTIA classes gave data center IT manager a boost ‣ Laurel Ridge Community College
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CompTIA classes gave data center IT manager a boost

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Drayke Gibson is hoping to take additional CompTIA classes at Laurel Ridge.

Growing up, Drayke Gibson loved messing with computers, so working as an IT manager at the Middletown Data Center seemed like the perfect fit for him.

“I think I was 5 when my mom was going to Phoenix University, and she had one of those old box computers,” he said. “She gave it to me. I would open it up and take the RAM out, put it back in, and see if it still worked. That kind of piqued my interest.”

Gibson also enjoyed computer gaming and started making websites for game servers.

“I learned that while coding came kind of easy to me, I wasn’t a fan of it,” he said. “But networking has always been kind of interesting.”

After graduating from Warren County High School in 2013, Gibson enrolled in Laurel Ridge, earning his associate degree in general education in 2016. He had started working in construction in 2014 and decided to stay in that field for a while, although he didn’t see that as a permanent career for himself. Meanwhile, he was married with a young son.

Then, Gibson hit a stumbling block.

“Late 2018, I was separated and just at home sulking, didn’t enjoy my job, and I just needed a big change,” he said.

The change he needed was a series of CompTIA classes being offered by Laurel Ridge Community College Workforce Solutions. He took the first CompTIA A+ classes the college began offering in 2019. Now, Gibson is certified in CompTIA Fundamentals, CompTIA A+ and CompTIA Network+. Two-thirds of his tuition costs were covered by FastForward funding.

“I’ve had three different instructors for the IT classes, and they’ve all been fantastic,” said Gibson. “I’ve loved every class that I’ve taken. The crew at my first IT job, none of them had any certifications when I joined. Those certifications just put me so far above all of them from the beginning.”

He said he led the department in ticket completions and customer satisfaction for most of his time there. Gibson said his interview was just after he passed his Network+ test.

“Those classes definitely helped quite a bit,” explained Gibson, who has also taken CompTIA Security+ and CompTIA Project+.

He has been at his current job since 2021. Gibson noted that data centers are dedicated to having IT equipment, and what type of equipment that is depends on the data center and customers’ goals. The Middletown Data Center is a colocation for various companies who lease space, power, and security for their own equipment.

Gibson said he was hired because, due to his IT training, he had the ability to make changes to configuration files in a production environment. He said he also enjoys the management side of his job. Gibson hopes to continue his IT educational training with other classes, such as CompTIA Server+, CompTIA Cloud+, and ITIL Fundamentals.

“There’s a whole bunch of certifications that I would like to take,” said Gibson, adding he frequently checks the college’s catalogs to see what is being offered.

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Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.