CertStudent is a recurring 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.
Angel Rosario enjoys listening to metal music. He says it makes him feel “empowered and driven.” And those are two appropriate adjectives to describe him.
Angel is a young man in a hurry and likely the holder of more IT certifications than any high school student we’ve featured. Since fall of 2012 he’s racked up 11 certs: CompTIA’s Network+, Security+ and Linux+; LPIC-1; SUSE Linux 11 CLA; CCNA: Routing and Switching; TestOut’s PC Pro, Network Pro and Security Pro; Windows Client Pro, and Windows Server Pro: Install and Configure. (Whew!)
He is also currently finishing up his Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Windows Server 2012, and later this year will begin studying for the CCNA Security cert.
If you’re still not impressed, Angel is just 19 years old! Normally, you might expect the holder of so many certs to be at least 25 or 30, but no, he’s just a bright young man who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to work for it. Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Angel is the older of two brothers. His mother works in financing and his father in construction, and he says they taught him to “work hard and go for the things I want.” (All that and he's even figured out the old Batman versus Superman conundrum. Keep reading to find out how he breaks it down.)
Angel’s road to IT certification began at Oliver Wendell Holmes High School in San Antonio, TX. As a freshman, he attended Business Careers, a magnet-school on the Holmes campus that specialized in finance, business and IT courses. Angel’s goal was to work in the IT field, but he felt he wasn’t getting the type of education that would enable him to break in. “I was just getting basic computer stuff that I already knew,” he says. “So after my freshman year, I transferred to my home high school, Taft High.”
His change of venue didn’t last long however. At the end of his sophomore year, a friend back at Business Careers told him about a couple of instructors who were doing a great job helping students obtain professional IT certifications. Persuaded to transfer back to Business Careers for his junior year, Angel wholeheartedly jumped into the IT program and worked closely with instructors Johnny Carrera and Juan Guerrero, who he credits with helping him “secure my future in the IT field.”
Most certification students start by earning PC Pro or A+. Angel’s first certification was CompTIA’s Network+, because it was the focus of his first course in the program. Explaining why he didn’t just earn A+ at the same time Angel said, “I was simultaneously studying for Security+, Linux+, and TestOut’s PC Pro and Network Pro certifications. I just didn’t have the time to integrate studies for the A+ cert.”
While studying for IT certification exams requires hard work and dedication, it also helps to have good study materials. Angel utilized TestOut’s LabSim tool to help him prepare, and speaks highly of TestOut's courseware. “Motivation and determination are great,” he says, “but you also need hands-on materials. I really liked the simulations, they let me show what I can actually do. They helped me get a step ahead in the IT field.”
Angel also offers praise for the CompTIA exams, explaining that they “aren’t vendor specific — just simple networking techniques accompanied by a broad spectrum of networking.”
Carrera describes Angel during his time at Holmes as being "an outstanding student and an incredible young man; very focused on his future. He really understands his goal to get into the IT industry — everything he does is towards that goal.
“Angel threw himself into his IT studies. He was very self-motivated. He even asked us to buy some TestOut software to help him train. He attained every cert we offered and even added some that we didn’t. He’s a great kid and I see a real bright future for him.”
It was during his junior year at Holmes that Angel realized the industry value of certifications. “I noticed that many companies required candidates to possess one or more certs to prove they possess the skills to effectively do the job.”
Although still in his teens, Angel already has experience teaching IT to others. For the past couple of summers he has worked as an instructor at Northwest Vista College and the University of Texas at San Antonio, teaching elementary and junior high STEM students about an array of topics including cybersecurity, cryptology, network security and the basic fundamentals of building and maintaining networks.
Angel enjoyed teaching and says he is most proud of having been able to “efficiently and effectively teach my students the importance of cybersecurity so that they understand and appreciate it.”
Angel is presently majoring in Network Administration at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio. His career goals are to become “a network administrator or server administrator. Though, one day I’d like to be an IT instructor teaching about the Windows Server 2012 Operating System, or whichever version is in demand at the time.”
Angel’s hobbies include “listening to underground metal, particularly from Finland and Sweden, and studying for IT certifications.” His favorite activities are “playing video games on the Xbox One, hanging out with friends, and researching new metal bands. My favorite metal band is Omnium Gatherum from Finland.”
He said his favorite movie is the The Expendables and that he enjoys “TV programs that have deep plots, like the Blacklist and Hannibal.” When asked which fictional character he would most like to be, Angel declared, “Batman, because he is at his peak physically and mentally, and he could take down Superman in a fight — provided he has kryptonite on hand.” There you have it folks: Batman versus Superman in a nutshell.
Angel also enjoys spending time with Snoopy, his four year old Jack Chi (a Jack Russell and Chihuahua mixed breed), and says he enjoys vacationing in Houston and Austin. And though even the many music festivals in Texas probably don't appear to program it — yet — Angel will be first on the scene should there ever be a Euro-metal showcase at, say, South by Southwest. Until then, he said, he'll happily get his fix by “attending any underground metal bands from Europe that come to Texas.”