Recently, Clever Ducks became involved with SLO Partners, the organization behind Ticket to Tech in San Luis Obispo. Ticket to Tech is an apprenticeship program with a goal to create a career path and not just a job in the world of IT. Through this program, every graduating class brings about 30 tech “apprentices” into the technology workforce in San Luis Obispo.

Spencer is a graduate of the first Ticket to Tech class in San Luis Obispo. We met Spencer early on in his Ticket to Tech career, and are now fortunate to have him at “the pond” as an apprentice, and wanted to get to know him a little better.

When did you fall in love with IT?

I’ve been interested in computers since the age of 12. My grandpa gave me one of his old desktops and the process of taking it apart, rebuilding it, and setting it up was fascinating to me. It wasn’t until the Ticket to Tech program, however, that I really understood that this could be a career option for me. After getting a glimpse at the art of subnetting, or learning about the way Hashing works in cyber security, I felt like I needed to learn more.

How did you hear about the Ticket to Tech program?

I heard about the Ticket to Tech program through my High school principal Paul Piette, who is run the schooling side of the Grizzly Youth Academy. Dan Weeks had asked Paul to suggest a former cadet who was good with computers to take part in the program. Paul recommended me and contacted me with the information on how to apply.

What was your experience in the program?

I was very surprising to me how quickly we were learning the information. We went through three certifications in 14 weeks, which was not a very easy task. It helps to have an instructor as incredible and familiar with the material as Blair to help us understand the textbooks. It’s also great to be in a room with 24 other likeminded people talking about the things that interest you. I feel like I made a few friends in the program that I will have for a long time.

Clever Ducks was top of your list to work for, why was that?

When Peter Kardel gave his presentation to the class the first time, I very much admired his fun personality. It was clear he was passionate about his business and furthermore, he cared about his employees. The way he spoke about Clever Ducks made me want to be a part of it, and I feel very fortunate to have been given this opportunity.

How has your time at Clever Ducks been?

Absolutely fantastic. Every day I come into work, I feel excited for what is to come. Every ticket is like a puzzle, and once resolved, it’s a very satisfying feeling. I enjoy working with everyone in the office and love the geeky humor In the atmosphere.

With this experience, what advice would you give someone trying to get their foot in the IT world?

The best advice I can give is to stay as up to date as you can. The tech industry is a very quickly changing world, so making sure you have up to date information is critical. Also, some certifications are very easy to get for tech-savvy people, such as the A+, and will give you a leg up on those who don’t have it.

Your desk has hand-drawn pictures and a Led Zeppelin book…tell us more

I have recently begun to try my hand at sketching. It’s almost therapeutic. The sketch I have on my desk is a wizard wearing a Pancho, in anticipation of the local band “Pancho & the Wizards” next album. As for the Led Zeppelin book, I am a huge fan. I remember the first Zeppelin song I heard (All My Love – In Through the Out Door) and how my mom used to call it “the Popeye song”, as it sounds like he is saying “Olive my love”. Jimmy Page is one of my biggest influences on my own guitar playing, and the way Bonham connects with his drums made me want to take up learning them as well.

We heard you play in a band.

I do! My good friends Marco, Garret, Jake, and I are in a band called “Don Hooch”. We are working on writing some originals, but we have a lot of fun covering bands such as Fuzz, The Frights, Hendrix, Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd. We have played a few gigs around town, and even in front of the San Luis Obispo Trader Joes. We are getting together this Saturday to work on recording a few songs to release a demo.