CertStudent: Overcoming failure by sticking to his certification guns

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 CertStudent  is a regular feature that profiles students of all ages who are pursuing certification at schools, in training programs, and on their own time (and own dime). Know an interesting  CertStudent ? Share the details with us at editor (at) certmag (dot) com.

There isn’t a whole lot to do in the small town of Hillside, N.J., so Nii Bruce-Vanderpuije and his friends have to create their own fun most of the time. “If working hard is an interesting hobby, then put a check in that box,” says Nii, a recent graduate of PC Age, a regional computer training school with four locations in New Jersey. This energetic hard worker is doing everything he can to make his life in IT a successful one.

Nii Bruce-Vanderpuije grabbed 5 certs by age 16.At a younger age, Nii wasn’t that interested in IT, or in computers for that matter. With an abundance of tech talent, however, and the encouragement of his parents, Nii eventually decided to pursue IT as a profession. So far, he has not regretted it one bit.

While at PC Age, Nii worked on an Internetwork Engineering certificate project. It was a project that entailed the deployment of a Windows 7 workstation, replacement and installation of RAM, and more. This project enabled Nii to learn everything from hardware to networking, providing a basic foundation for everything Nii learned at PC Age. His favorite part was working with a group of students to set up a mini-network. It was a great opportunity to play around with a real-world scenario, which made it a lot of fun.

When Nii took his first A+ cert exam, he passed the second part of the test on his first attempt. The first part of the test, on the other hand, stumped him not once, but twice. “I was ready to quit and throw the IT career down the drain,” Nii said. “I guess I wouldn’t be talking to you right now if I (had) just quit.” Nii was determined, buckled down and rebounded. He has now, at age 18, earned the A+, Security+, MCTS: Windows 7 Configuration, CCENT, CCNA and PC Pro certs. And he’s just getting started.

Nii plans on getting as many certifications as he can. “There’s no ‘limit-per-person’ on certifications,” Nii says. “I’ll probably get 20 more certs.”

Now that he has graduated from PC Age, Nii plans to grab every IT opportunity he can in order to decide what position suits him best. With a lot of different job roles to choose from, it may be a while before Nii finds his niche and settles in. His energy and excitement, however, are sure to pay off. Achieving certifications hasn’t always been easy for him. So far, however, jumping into the IT world is one of the best decisions Nii has ever made.

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Haylee Vallejo


Haylee Vallejo is a graduate of BYU-Idaho.

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