“Faces of the Journey” is a series that highlights individuals in the network engineering community. The journey is the path we take through our careers, and it can be very different for each of us. While the destination is important, it’s all about the journey!
Eugene Byers Jr, also known as Rize2Grind, was born in Brooklyn, NY and currently lives in Queens. Eugene is a tech support analyst for a nonprofit healthcare organization. For many years, he thought his career goal was to become an executive in the music industry, starting his own management company and music label. For a while, he did manage a few local artists in the gospel music industry. While he enjoyed learning how to manage artists and concerts, it didn’t end up being Eugene’s destination career. Before his current role, Eugene found himself playing with ROMs on his Samsung device, tinkering with computers, and becoming the family tech support guy. Over time, he built relationships with members of the IT staff and eventually an opportunity opened up within the department. Knowing he did not yet have the relevant experience, he took a shot and applied. Eugene was told that they really needed someone with desktop support and server experience. While he knew that was going to be the answer, it still hit hard. A few years later, while still in his original role, the company lost some contracts and was going to need to reduce staff. Without even knowing that he was at risk of losing his existing job, he was told by the head of IT that he was going to be transferred into the department as a computer operator! Eugene took this opportunity and made the decision to continue to grow himself and his career. He began studying for the CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications. While doing that, he started seeing YouTube videos from people such as Network Chuck, Jeremy Cioara, Du’An Lightfoot, and Hank Preston. From there, his interest in networking skyrocketed. Eugene’s goal is to become a hybrid network engineer who inspires others to go after their dreams, no matter the career choice or age.
Alright Eugene, We’ve Got Some Questions
What advice do you have for aspiring IT professionals? Get at least two to three people in your corner who know you well, that will cheer you on, hold you up when you fall and tell you the real deal when you need a reality check. At work, talk to your IT coworkers. Let them know you want to learn more about IT. Ask them what they do, how they got started. Just strike up a conversation and let them know you want to transition to the IT department. You will gain valuable information that will help you along your IT journey. Join the tech community on Twitter and network, ask more questions. Subscribe to the AONE podcast and join the Discord.
What is something you enjoy to do outside of work? I enjoy working out and running Spartan Races. I hope to complete my 1st Trifecta in the 2021 season. We shall see.
How do you manage your work/life balance? It’s a moment by moment thing. I don’t think I manage well at all. Discipline has to be extremely high to knock out a new/current project, or study session and then also have that same energy when I am engaged with my wife and kids. It’s a constant battle that you have to prepare for daily.
When learning something new, what methods work best for you? I have figured out that watching a video on the topic and then labbing it up is what makes it stick for me. Hands on repetition in a lab is a great teacher.
What motivates you on a daily basis? My faith in God to become a better man to my wife, kids, family and to the community. I have purpose on this earth and I would be doing a disservice to just be mediocre daily and not strive to be the best person I can be to everyone I come in contact with.
In all honesty, I could have just written “Rize2Grind” at the beginning of this article and called it good. Eugene, with his passion to excel at everything he does, writes his own story every day. All you need to do is scroll through his Twitter profile and you’ll be ready to take on whatever life throws at you. He teaches us how important it is to make connections with people. I love that Eugene doesn’t keep his passion to himself. He uses it as a tool to motivate others, and as someone who follows his Twitter feed, I’m here to tell you it works. I don’t post a lot on Twitter at the moment, but I’ve found that from time to time, I’ve become Eugene’s hype man in the back of the room throwing my hands up, pacing back and forth, retweeting and liking his posts. In all seriousness, this was a fun article to write because Eugene is living proof that if you set your mind to something you can accomplish your goals.