This Student Landed a One-of-a-Kind Apprenticeship That Jump Started His IT Career

Chris Alarid jumped on the opportunity to participate in the New Mexico Information Technology Apprenticeship Program back in 2020 and has quickly moved through the ranks thanks to the hands-on training and experience
November 16, 2023

Chris Alarid thought he’d found the perfect spot when he landed an ITS service desk job at Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) and became an assistant football coach at Cibola High School. 

“I was excited to be in a position where I had the best of both worlds, but I also knew I needed to keep pushing forward,” he says. 

As a first step toward that growth, Chris applied to be part of the New Mexico Information Technology Apprenticeship Program (NMITAP) in order to expand his knowledge on the rapidly growing field of cybersecurity. 

During his paid apprenticeship through NMITAP, Chris earned a cybersecurity certification from Deep Dive and completed his apprenticeship as an eSports instructor at APS. This unique position at Cibola High School allowed him to apply his cybersecurity expertise to his students' activities on the APS network.

"As an eSports instructor, I had to prioritize network security because my students were playing video games on the school network," he says. "The knowledge I was learning in my classes directly influenced how I kept the school network secure, all while ensuring my students could compete and have fun. It was a truly invaluable experience."

From there, Chris transferred to the APS Title 1 Office where he is currently working as the department's only IT field technician. In this role, Chris now provides technical support for 14 schools and the Title 1 office staff.

Going forward, Chris is excited to continue his professional growth in the IT industry and aims to stay at APS as part of the ITS team while continuing his coaching role. He also wants to encourage other IT professionals to take advantage of professional development opportunities, especially apprenticeships.

"If you're interested in NMITAP, my biggest piece of advice is to just sign up and trust the process," Chris says. "You can never stop learning, especially in this field, because technology changes daily. Doing something like this apprenticeship program will open your eyes to so much, and I promise you won't regret it."