Bolanle Oladimeji had many long nights and many moments of doubt while participating in ActivateIT’s 15-week network support training program. But she refused to give up.

“If I start a plan, I need to finish it,” explained Bolanle, who goes by Bola. “I would talk to myself in the mirror and tell myself not to quit.”

Turns out there were a lot of people counting on Bola – friends who thought the program sounded too good to be true or too difficult to conquer. They wanted Bola to test the waters. If she could succeed, then they maybe they could gain the confidence to apply.

So Bola persevered. She drew support from her fellow students; asked instructors for help and dedicated countless hours to tackling the coursework. She now has CompTIA, A+ and Google IT certifications and is interviewing for network administrator positions.

Bola has wanted to work in technology since earning an associate degree in mass communication in her native Nigeria. She spent the first several years of her career as a graphic designer, but after moving to the United States two years ago, she switched gears and became a caregiver to both adults battling dementia as well as children with developmental disabilities.

The idea of working in IT, particularly cybersecurity,  however, still gnawed at her.

Last year, she began searching for information on career training online and stumbled upon CrossPurpose, a nonprofit Activate partner. After taking one of the organization’s assessments, she was referred to ActivateIT and the rest is history.

Bola says the program, which includes 100 hours in professional development, career and life skills coaching, not only equipped her with in-demand IT skills, but also helped her come out of her shell and gain more confidence.

Bola is now focused on gaining real-world networking support experience and hopes to eventually return to ActivateIT for cybersecurity training.

“I have succeeded beyond my expectations,” she said.