Jersey City program director looks back on two decades in the field
Adeel Rajput has been teaching about computer networking & security for a little over 17 years now, earning an impressive list of certifications along the way. In addition to being a full-time instructor, Rajput is also Branford, Jersey City’s in-house network administrator – a role that requires him to secure and maintain an extremely complex system.
“Network administration is a little like home security,” Rajput explains. “If someone wants to feel safe in their home, they do it by installing a system that will protect the entire estate, as opposed to installing unconnected alarms in every room.”
Because the campus network is constantly changing, Rajput is required to remain up-to-date on anti-virus software, along with a variety of different program languages. Over the years he has become proficient in every Microsoft operating system, prompting Jersey City Campus Director Robert Janicelli to refer to him as a “master” of his craft.
And yet, it wasn’t always this way. As a young man, Adeel Rajput faced a number of challenges. The fact that Rajput has overcome those challenges renders him more sympathetic – determined to help his modern-day career training program students succeed.
Seeing the world through their eyes
Adeel Rajput was a college dropout … only not by choice. Rajput was a straight-A student, but he had a wife and a family to support.
After being forced to withdraw from school, Rajput embarked upon a series of odd jobs, simultaneously working for two or three different employers at a time. After months spent scrounging to make ends meet, Rajput decided there was no way he could maintain that level of exhaustion, long-term.
As a result, Rajput enrolled in a computer networking course at a local career institute, very similar to Branford Hall. He took a job at a gas station, working 70 hours a week. Balancing work, school and family proved difficult, but at the end of a six-month term, Rajput graduated. He used the skills that he had learned to gain a foothold in an industry that was really taking off.
Over the next decade, Rajput’s resume and his earning potential continued to grow. He learned about interconnectivity, firewalls, network access points and priority controls. He watched as the industry shifted from a reactive model to a proactive one (i.e., preventing a system threat as opposed to eradicating one after it occurs). During the mid-to-late nineties, he transitioned into teaching, using his own career training experience to inform his approach to the job.
Giving back in the best way there is
Over the years Rajput has worked with more than a thousand students. Is the paycheck important? Sure. But Rajput insists the actual reward comes from providing computer networking and security students with an opportunity to “change their lives.”
“I have a bad habit; I smoke,” Rajput admits. “And there have been instances where I’ll be smoking out front of the [Branford Hall] building and someone will approach me – someone I don’t even recognize – and he or she will say, ‘Are you Raj? Do you remember me?’ This happens on the street and in the subway … in a lot of places. And in almost every case the student tells me where he’s working and thanks me for what I’ve done. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the most fulfilling part of my job. That’s the most fulfilling part of any job, really.”