Years ago when Dave Babczak was laid off from his job as a lab technician with General Public Utilities, he decided to go back to school. He wasn't sure for what, but he said he wanted to do things – work with people and help people.
Fast forward about 12 years and that is exactly what Dave is doing as the manager of the Reading Health System's Technology Help Desk. Dave oversees 19 analysts that serve as the first-level support for all IT issues on a 24-hours-a-day/7-days-a-week basis.
"When I lost my job, and my wife and I were deciding which way to go, little did I know then that IT was a perfect place for me," said Dave, who has been with the Reading Health System since 2002.
"I talk to people all day long, provide customer service to over 10,000 users and am helping people on a daily basis. Many folks do not like dealing with people all day long but I really do enjoy what I'm doing," he added.
Dave, a native of Berks County and graduate of the former Mount Penn High School (now Antietam), earned an associate degree in Computer Networking from RACC in 2001. "I chose RACC based on the courses they had to offer, the growing reputation during that time period, and the comfort level I felt with the school's commitment to the community and folks like me who were older, laid off and looking to start a new career," he said. "I never felt out of place there or in over my head. Everyone was treated equally regardless of age, education, race and background."
Dave always liked working with computers, especially MS Office products, but had his concerns about being a first-time college student at the age of 44.
"I remember the MS Office and programming classes," he said. "The classes were well done, the instructors were positive, encouraging to students who never attended college before. Once I began, my classes at RACC, I was convinced I was going down the right path."
After graduation, Dave started with the Reading Health System as a Help Desk Analyst and then moved to Supervisor one year later before accepting his current position.
Dave gives much credit to RACC and still keeps in touch. "I come into RACC once a year to talk to Janine Tiffany's class about my profession at the Reading Health System."
Dave tells IT students that there are a variety of opportunities in the field and that, like his experience, your first job may not be the perfect job, but there is room to advance.
"Never stop educating yourself whether it is through school, job or life experiences," he said. "Make sure you commit to whatever education opportunities come your way. Never stop networking, talking to people in the field, talking to others in similar positions. You never know what opportunities will arise."