Joseph Marchis is a senior security engineer at Lurie’s Children’s Hospital in Chicago. His team is tasked with network security and supporting compliance due to increasing regulations around HIPAA. He credits hard work and consistency – values that his immigrant parents instilled in him from an early age – to his success, and he adds that earning CompTIA Network+ was a game changer for his career.
The Perks of a Tech Job
Growing up as a child of immigrants, Marchis is no stranger to hard work. Working in the construction industry, he quickly learned how showing up every day, getting the job done and working with his hands put money in his pocket. But he wanted something more. An avid gamer with an admiration for Indiana Jones, Marchis saw technology as a career opportunity, and he jumped right in.
“I saw the opportunities that IT provided,” he said.
A work-life balance, the prospect of remote work and the sheer number of available jobs were just a few of the reasons that Marchis was attracted to the tech industry. And so he channeled his focus on a career in network administration. But how would he get there? Marchis knew he wanted to be successful without incurring a lot of debt.
“School is good, but financial freedom meant there had to be another way,” he said. “CompTIA provided that for me.”
The Benefits of Certification
Marchis turned to CompTIA Network+ for the knowledge he knew he needed to gain. Earning the CompTIA Network+ certification validates the technical skills needed to securely establish, maintain and troubleshoot the essential networks that businesses rely on.
“You get to understand what a data center is. You get to understand how to troubleshoot certain problems. You get to understand an array of different threat actors that are out there. You can take that and start to understand what’s at risk for the corporation,” he said.
Compared to other IT certifications, Marchis says CompTIA Network+ does a better job teaching subnetting. “You’d be surprised how many people don’t really understand certain troubleshooting or subnetting questions,” he said. “CompTIA Network+ helped me hone my skills as a network engineer and security practitioner to really be the go-to person when troubleshooting issues arise.”
Two years into his networking career – and after obtaining CompTIA Network+ – Marchis says he could see the puzzle pieces fit together as he put his skills to use during day-to-day operations.
“I apply the values that my parents taught me to teach my team, train them and show them that hard work actually does pay off and that they can grow from a junior to senior level – like I did,” Marchis said.
The Responsibilities and Rewards
Now, as a senior security engineer, Marchis says his day consists of both operational and project work.
“I have to make sure to maintain the business operations while also being able to further help the infrastructure of the hospital by making sure that projects are completed in a timely manner,” he said. “Tech infrastructure is very important to the hospital because we want to grow to be scalable, and that’s really important when architecting and designing the network.”
Working in a hospital environment presents its own set of challenges around personally identifiable information (PII) and sensitive data, which is highly regulated.
“A lot of what I do focuses on network and security and supporting the constant growing regulations and compliance around HIPAA,” Marchis said.
But in the technology world, overcoming challenges is part of the job, and often one of the most satisfying elements for IT pros like Marchis. Recently, he was able to support a new HR system that the hospital implemented.
“It forced me to move the timetable of a hardware refresh for a firewall, which was being throttled and maxing out at capacity,” he said. “It was highly visible with a lot of people on the call, and it went through without a hitch.”
The projects he works on, in combination with the people he works with, help to make his job rewarding. But everybody’s common goal is helping the children that are patients at the hospital – and according to Marchis, that’s a mission that makes his job even more gratifying.
“My work is very fulfilling because I get to work with amazing coworkers – not just on the network and security team, but beyond. I know that I’ve made an impact for the doctors and then also the parents who are getting the best medical care possible for their child. I get to make that happen as well,” he said.
The Commitment to Lifelong Learning
Part of Marchis’ role is to vet new candidates. He says it’s important to distinguish between those who took the time to certify and those who also have experience. That hands-on background speaks volumes when it comes to network and IT infrastructure job roles.
“A candidate with certification(s) shows me that they have the drive and that they set a time to be disciplined in their studies, and do what others haven’t,” Marchis said. “Having a certification proves that you're willing to go above and beyond someone who doesn't have a certification, and that sometimes is the cutting block between those who get hired and those who don't get hired.”
And the best part of working in technology is that you’re always learning – and it’s not just about upskilling your technical know-how.
“The biggest things I’ve learned from working in technology are that you really have to be a kind person, always understand other people's experiences and share your experiences as well,” he said. “When you do that, you’ll have a community of positive people that stand behind you.”
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