Elijah Cady is an experienced IT professional and the owner and co-founder of 13 Stars Hot Sauce – a veteran-owned business committed to giving back to its local community.
However, before making it in the business landscape, Elijah began his career by serving his country in the military. After his time in the air force, Elijah transitioned into cyber security, and worked for several organizations including, Netsimco at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, and Sunrun.
Elijah now works as a technical support specialist for a small MSP company. In his role, he provides helpdesk support and monitors the company’s Network Operation Center.
What do you currently do at the Microsoft Service Provider (MSP) company?
We are a small MSP company. I am a project manager and I wear many hats. Being a part of a small technology team, communications is key, and I facilitate open communications at all times. The majority of my management projects consist of building the technological equipment for server racks, such as racks for large solar farms. I am also a support specialist on the helpdesk and for the Field Service Board for technology, as well as monitoring our customers at the Network Operations Center (NOC). I take a proactive approach to managing our customers and resolve issues before they happen.
What was your inspiration to pursue a career in IT?
The reason why I chose a career in IT was so that I could get into the military, and I was good with technology. I was opposed to attending a four-year college program and starting my life in financial debt. My thought was to serve my country, gain the benefits of training for a career, and begin my career debt free. My brother inspired me to go into IT due to the success he had while in service. I learned very quickly that a successful IT career does not require a 4-year college degree. You must put a lot of effort into it, learn and think logically, understand how things communicate in technology, apply them to troubleshooting and develop a step-by-step process to successfully accomplish any project.
There is also a multitude of avenues you can take within the IT industry. I excel at having good communication skills. It is of great benefit, especially if you are in a managerial position working with multiple IT departments.
What are the keys to being productive that you can share?
The key to being productive is having the passion, motivation, and work ethic to complete a project. Creating a plan is important to being productive and successful. A good plan will keep a project from becoming chaotic and taking longer to complete. Having the support of the people to work increases productivity as well.
What is your long-term Career goal?
My long-term career is yet to be determined. The one thing I know for certain is that I don’t want to remain stagnant. I think that it’s important to always keep learning and moving forward.
How do you measure success?
In order to measure success, you have to have a metric in which to measure. I set extremely realistic and reasonable goals to hit which is a little bit outside of the comfort zone of what I think is possible. I also set a completely unrealistic goal. Then I begin reevaluating, over the course of time and come up with a process to get to that goal. I decide if it will be a good quality of life for me once I have a defined set of goals. I define my success each time I reach the pinnacle of each goal.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?
I would say the most valuable lesson that I’ve learned is to look at things from other people’s perspectives. A lot of time is spent troubleshooting problems, communicating between people and groups of people who are also dealing with problems in high stress situations.
Having the ability to do that in the workplace has also transitioned to real life. I’ve learned to take a step back and think for a brief moment. They might have something stressful happening in their life. It puts things into a different perspective and allows me to be patient, understanding and considerate.
What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in the high-tech industry?
The best advice I would give to anyone aspiring to pursue a career in this high-tech industry is that Knowledge is better than college in the IT career field. You can learn by researching and purchasing some cheap equipment and learn, by doing. Experience that equipment. Keep in mind that everybody else has gone through different experiences so take the time to learn from everybody you possibly can, no matter what level they are at. Take the time to listen and keep an open mind especially when it comes to troubleshooting.
How would your colleagues describe you?
I would say my colleagues see me as confident. I think having confidence in your own abilities is vital to long-term success.
What is a piece of technology that helps you the most in your daily routine?
My laptop is the core piece of equipment. I can connect to other pieces of equipment that connect to the internet, such as remote tools that I access.
Who has been your biggest role model, and Why?
My father has been my biggest role model. He has taught me right from wrong. He has dealt with a lot of adversity and has always pushed through, no matter what it was. I have learned a lot from his experiences. He has been my inspiration for growth in my life.
What is one piece of advice you have never forgotten?
The best piece of advice that I’ve ever gotten is when you’re stressed or not seeing 100% clearly, just take five minutes and re-direct your attention elsewhere. Take your mind off of the subject. And in most cases, that will help you either take a step in the right direction towards solving your problem, or it will bring you back to center, emotionally and mentally. A five-minute mental break can make a significant difference.