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Now he likes to use a sleek MacBook Air, but Isaiah Ram’s first computer was a derelict. His father was doing flooring work and found it at a job site. He brought it back to the house, but couldn’t get it running. “I was bored at home one day,” Isaiah said. “I opened it up to try to fix it and get it working.”
That started Isaiah, a lifelong New Yorker and big brother to three younger siblings, down a technology path that’s held his interest ever since. He loves doing hands-on computer repair and has been sharpening his skills at The Urban Assembly Gateway School for Technology in Manhattan. Computer repair, he said, used to mostly involve a lot of “guessing and checking stuff. Now we know what the different components are and it’s a lot easier to figure things out.”
Isaiah, 16, has a PC Pro certification from TestOut and was hard at work on his A+ from CompTIA when he chatted with CertMag earlier this year. Some of the material for his PC Pro certification was confusing, such as learning the ins and out of Parallel ATA (PATA). “I’m more of a new technology guy,” Isaiah said. “In the PC Pro, you cover Windows Vista and XP. I’m like, ‘What the hell is this?’ I’d never seen it before.”
Like a lot of other schools, UAGST uses students to fix computers. “We do some repairs,” Isaiah said. “If kids in the school need computers to be fixed, they’ll bring them up here.”
When he’s not at school, Isaiah likes playing basketball. He sees himself mostly as a point guard, but doesn’t get too picky about positions: “I just like to play.” Mostly pickup games with his buddies, so he’s in the right part of the world. Isaiah’s favorite NBA player is New York Knicks superstar (and fellow New Yorker) Carmelo Anthony, so he’s probably pleased that the Knicks and Melo just agreed to stay together for five more years. Isaiah watches games on TV, but hasn’t had the chance to see a game at Madison Square Garden yet.
He said that there’s not much more to his life than computers and basketball, but admitted under further questioning that he likes to hang out and “socialize.” And also participate in the occasional teenage rite of passage: At the time that we interviewed him, Isaiah was hoping to ditch his braces after almost three years, and also making plans to attend the school prom.
So he’s mastered computers, basketball and now dancing. With a resume like that, Isaiah seems poised to go far.