“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!
Teneyia Wilson is a Network Engineer originally from Denver, Colorado, who recently found herself back home. In 2004, Teneyia and her family moved away from Colorado. Being part of a military family, she and her family have lived in many cities in the last sixteen years. Teneyia currently holds two network engineering positions (yes, you read that correctly, two), one of which as a Network Engineer III with the ISP, Spectrum. If you thought that holding two network engineering positions was impressive, get this, IT/network engineering is not Teneyia’s first profession. Before getting into IT professionally, she ran a personal training studio from 2012 to 2019, while also managing a retail store with GNC. Teneyia has been fascinated with technology since middle school and knew then that she wanted a degree in IT, but took a different path for a while. Then, in 2018, she decided to quit her retail job to become a Network Engineer. She went to Barnes and Noble to purchase the CompTIA Network+ book and the Cisco CCNA 200-125 book set. At that time she was not working, so she spent five to eight hours a day reading, taking notes, and watching videos to catch up on the technology that she had missed out on over that nine year window. Teneyia found quickly that getting certifications made sense to her to be able to break into IT so that she could build experience and grow on a technical level (but she has not stopped the certification study by any means). After achieving both the Network+ and CCNA certifications, Teneyia got a help desk position at a managed service provider (MSP). A year later, she earned the CCNP Routing and Switching certification, and accepted a position as a Network Administrator with DXC Technology. In August of 2020, Teneyia moved back to Colorado and is now a Network Engineer with a 911 dispatch center and Spectrum. Teneyia’s fascination with technology started early in life by taking apart a Nintendo NES, computers, and phones to see how they worked. Teneyia is always striving to be a great engineer, who is highly skilled at troubleshooting and design, while helping others along the way. She is currently studying for the CCIE certification and will one day become a Principal Engineer or Solutions Architect.
Alright Teneyia, We’ve Got Some Questions
What did you want to be when you “grew up”? A multi-business owner. I had plans/ideas for restaurants and clothing lines. I use to love cooking and making clothes. I created a whole clothing line/brand between 2003-2009.
What advice do you have for aspiring IT professionals? Like anything else, don’t rush the process. Take your time to fully understand the technologies. Know how and when to use them. Ignore the imposter syndrome, no one knows everything. Take risks and never stop learning.
What is something you enjoy to do outside of work? Outside of work, I love lifting weights and competing in bodybuilding competitions. I also have a project car. I’m not in the car scene as much as I was when I was living in Los Angeles but still love fixing up and cruising in my 350z.
How do you manage your work/life balance? When studying for certs and/or training for a bodybuilding show, I create weekly schedules and stick to them. I schedule work, family time, errands, study, gym, everything. I prioritize most important to least and try not to deviate. In the off season and when I’m not preparing for a cert exam, work stays between 9am-5pm. I completely shut off computers and work thoughts to spend time doing what my family wants to do.
When learning something new, what methods work best for you? When learning something new, I like to get the information in multiple ways. I read books, watch videos, ask questions to people who have experience and get as many hands-on hours as I can. Even when I don’t have access to get hands-on practice, I find alternate ways to “do” the things I’m learning. For example, I write out or type in notepad configurations over and over when I don’t have access to physical equipment or an emulator. When I didn’t have real people to practice leading fitness classes, I setup my video camera and lead the workout like it was a gym full of people.
“Discipline is more important than motivation!” This is the current pinned tweet on Teneyia’s Twitter profile. I guess I’ve always kind of thought that finding motivation or “the want” to do or accomplish something was the most important thing. Well, as Teneyia has shown, that’s only part of it. I’ve now shifted my thinking that motivation is really just the beginning. To achieve something that is important to you, discipline is the real secret sauce here. If you can find a way to stay consistent on your path, you will get there. Teneyia’s journey is great example of this. She decided to shift into IT just three years ago and what she has accomplished since then is really incredible. Teneyia does not keep her passion to herself, by working to help others along the way. Although she has already accomplished so much, this is really just the beginning for Teneyia and I predict that there are big things to come in the future. Check out Teneyia’s episode on the AONE podcast. One thing that I learned from that episode that I have already put in to practice is to give myself just five seconds to be scared or overwhelmed in a situation. After that five seconds, you put it behind you and focus. I have a feeling that will stick with me for a long time.