“If I had a program like ACCELERATE when I was in my 20s
I’d already be living my dream. I’d be in some big corp. working on
computers, doing what I love doing. I want others
to have this same opportunity.” — Joshua Pauda
A graduate of McNeil High School (2005) in Austin, Texas, Joshua Pauda knew from the age of six that he wanted to get into computers when a friend of his mother’s brought over a computer and gave him an old hard drive to take apart. Recalling that experience, he says, “I always knew I wanted to do something with computers”. Most of my schooling has had to do with IT. It is what I wanted to get into since I got that hard drive to take apart.
Josh remembers that his high school class was the first to pilot an engineering academy. “We were one of the first schools to have engineering as part of the curriculum.” Each year there was a core focus on some kind of engineering like digital, electronic, mechanical, etc. We learned about different components of electronics: capacitors, diodes, resistors, and conductors. Later McNeil HS taught Autocad. “The engineering academy program was to train us to become some type of engineer,” he recalls.
Ever since High School Josh wanted to play with computers…all day! He just didn’t know if he wanted to go to college, go to a trade school, or be a baker. Some of his first jobs pulled him away from his goal of being in IT and managing computer systems.
Joshua applied to Circuit City and was trained as a home theater consultant. Later, he was placed on their “Firedog Squad”. He got to work more closely with computers, home theaters, and other digital stuff. “It was all basic on-the-job training! Basically I was watching someone else fix things and taking notes,” said Josh. “It was eye opening experience because I realized I could do more than I thought possible and I didn’t know where the future would take me,” he said.
College isn’t preparing a young student for tomorrows jobs.
“I want to continue learning and this certification will give me the ability to get me to my destination,” commented Josh. “I didn’t realize how much I still didn’t know until I started taking the ACCELERATE IT program.” There were other techs where I have worked on a higher pay grade than me asking me how to do something technical…which is crazy,” he says. If anything “these classes have taught me how much I’m worth”…. It’s not what I thought it was, Josh recalls. My instructor, Kevin Lemiux, isn’t just teaching us book knowledge but life lessons, what we should be doing with this knowledge, career advice, business advice, etc. He tells us, “don’t try to undersell your services because you’re worth more than that”. When it comes to furthering your career you have to put yourself first.