This feature first appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Certification Magazine. Click here to get your own print or digital copy.
The word "escalator" was coined by Charles Seeberger in 1899, based on the Latin noun scalae, which means a "flight of steps." Seeberger said his new word was meant to describe a "means of traversing from" one location to another.
An escalator is an appropriate symbol for Carolina Cardenas Guzman, a smiling, inquisitive and energetic 22-year-old from Colombia. She works for Estilo Ingenieria (Estilo), a "vertical transport" company in Bogota. Estilo manufactures and installs two of our modern world's most crucial infrastructure pieces — escalators and elevators — and Guzman enjoys working with them. "What I love most about my job is that I get to use the electronic and mechanical knowledge I'm acquiring," she said.
Three years ago, Guzman began working for Estilo as an intern. Her work ethic, friendly nature and positive attitude soon led to full-time employment as an electronic service technician. Her job is repairing and installing electronic cards and other equipment that keep those important "people movers" moving. "I like electronics because it develops my ability to apply technology to solve practical problems of everyday life," she said. "I feel comfortable and motivated in my career because it is what I love to do."
Guzman is currently in the last semester of a degree in electronics at the Corporación Unificada Nacional de Educación Superior (CUN) in Bogota. Earlier this year she was part of a student group that traveled to the United States as guests of TestOut Corporation (TestOut) in Pleasant Grove, Utah.
As part of TestOut's International University Week, the CUN students toured local IT businesses and universities. While in Utah, Guzman was able to see the advantages of IT training and certification. She quickly realized that an international IT certification was away to change her perspective on life. The visit, she said, "opened my eyes to the fact that the world has better things to offer."
As part of her degree requirements, Guzman recently earned the Network Pro and Switching Pro certifications offered by TestOut. She achieved the highest scores of her CUN student group on both certification exams. Guzman speaks fondly of her education and training. "CUN delivers high-quality education and trains people of integrity," she said. "I also like how CUN highlights the value and importance of women in society and in IT."
Two 'lovely ladies' and two dogs
Guzman affectionately describes her home life as living with "two lovely ladies," her mother, Elena Cardenas, who works as a tailor making uniforms for the Colombian Military, and her older sister, Sandra, who graduated in 2011 with a degree in business administration from the Military University Nueva Granada.
Guzman admires her mother for her "entrepreneurial spirit, her strength and for tirelessly working to always give us a better future." She looks up to her sister, who is also her best friend, for "her ability to relate to people."
The household includes two dogs, Yeiko and Lana, and a cat named Simon. Guzman has a soft spot for animals — she took in Yeiko and Simon when their original owners could no longer care for them. One day on a bike ride she found Lana, frightened and hiding between two garbage cans. She tried unsuccessfully to coax Lana out, but eventually decided to leave. Lana recognized a good opportunity, however, and began jumping up and down and licking Guzman's face.
"I just could not leave her there, so she became part of my family," she said. "I love animals, they certainly are the best company. I love the way they show me love and loyalty."
Working full-time, completing her degree and earning two IT certifications leaves little time for Guzman to relax. She enjoys sports and participates daily as a way to "keep my mind clear, maintain energy, feel healthier and generate a positive attitude to face life."
From her grandfather, Guzman inherited a love of bicycle riding. "It was his only means of transportation," she said. She frequently rides her bike to work, and rides for several hours every Sunday. She also enjoys jogging and regularly heads out on 10-kilometer runs.
Born to be wild
Guzman has a daring side as well. She rides a motorcycle, a Yamaha YBR 125. "At first I had a hard time getting used to it because it is a little tall and heavy, but I love its sporty style," she said. Originally she was scared to ride because of the poor condition of the roads and the reckless drivers. Now she enjoys the speed and saving time going places. "I love my bike and enjoy the power and freedom I feel when riding it," she said.
During down time, Guzman is an avid reader of adventure and science fiction novels. Her favorite is Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne. She is captivated by Verne's creativity and imagination. "The book infects me with its madness," she declares with a big smile.
Guzman also loves the sea and sand. Beaches are her favorite vacation spot, having enjoyed some of the best in Cartagena, San Andres Island and Miami, Fla. "I love the peace, tranquility, grandeur and beauty reflected in beaches," she said. "Anywhere I can see the sea and sand is good."
Future career goals for Guzman include more travel to the United States, learning to speak English fluently, completing additional IT certifications in networking and telecommunications and "earning some Cisco certifications as they are universally recognized as the Industry standard for design and network support."
As a lover of nature and animals, Guzman's favorite fictional character is, not surprisingly, Disney's Pocahontas, because of her "free and independent spirit, her courage, nobility, kindness and spirituality," she said. "And because she is a beautiful princess."
In a world increasingly filled with pessimism Guzman is a positive individual. For her, life is all about perspective and being able to adapt to circumstances. "Everything is possible if we change our regular way of seeing life, if we see things with a different perspective," she said. "And when we do things with passion."
Guzman's favorite quote is from Albert Einstein, "If you want different results, do not do the same things." Although the IT industry has traditionally been dominated by men — recent studies report that women make up less than 15 percent of IT pros — as a pioneering woman Guzman isn't afraid of change or of trying new things. Just like the escalators and elevators she knows so well, she is using IT certification as a "means of traversing" to a brighter future filled with opportunity and rewards.