Launching IT careers with Microsoft Certified Fundamentals: Xenia Santana

NPower, a U.S.-based non-profit, is dedicated to creating pathways for military veterans and young adults from underserved communities to pursue technology-related careers. Operating in nine states, they provide comprehensive IT training, job placement, and educational resources. This includes their Information Technology Support Services (ITSS) program that enrolls 200 candidates annually. By offering Microsoft Certified Fundamentals certifications, trainees build their AI, cloud computing, and machine learning skills and credentials.

NPower’s mission and programming embodies the power of certification and showcases how it can shape futures, strengthen careers, and create a spirit of lifelong learning. We recently sat down with one of their trainees, Xenia Santana, to discuss how the NPower program and earning Microsoft Certified Fundamentals certifications helped her discover hidden soft skills and inspired her to pursue a career in cloud computing.

Xenia, tell us more about yourself and your background.

My name is Xenia Santana, and I currently reside in Rosamond, CA. Prior to my recent IT training and certifications, my professional career was rooted in the customer service industry. I successfully completed training and an internship to become a Medical Assistant and had recently worked remotely as an Enrollment Specialist for TimeDoc Inc.

What goals and passions led you to pursue certification?

In December 2023, I obtained the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) certification through NPower’s ITSS program. Since becoming certified, my goals and passion for technology have grown. Being a mother of three and a military spouse facing deployment made the certification process challenging, but it also taught me better ways to handle multitasking and time management. The experience revealed hidden soft skills in problem-solving, adaptability, and confidence, crucial during late study times when I was preparing for the exam.

How did completing the Azure Certificate influence your career aspirations in technology?

Completing the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) certification opened my eyes to new career possibilities. I decided to pursue a career in cloud computing. Understanding how cloud computing works, the types of cloud services, and how data can be stored has impacted my knowledge and curiosity, motivating me to continue learning and become an expert in this field. I now hope to enroll in NPower’s Spring cloud computing course to earn additional industry-recognized certifications and further my understanding of the field.

What advice would you give to someone considering becoming certified in Microsoft Certified Fundamentals?

The Microsoft Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) certification is a great start to understanding the basics of the cloud and can lead to many more opportunities. It is an ideal starting point for someone with minimal knowledge in IT. To those interested in getting certified, I would say leverage the curriculum available to you. Certiport and Microsoft offer a variety of ways to prepare for the exam, and for visual learners like me, their videos guide you through perfect and easy examples to understand everything needed to successfully complete the certification.

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