This article is part of an ongoing series to highlight and promote the technician career — demonstrating to kids, parents, and teachers how becoming a technician is a rewarding career path that can be lucrative and open the door to many opportunities within the industry.
Name: Darrias R.
Location: Littleton, CO
Job Title: Apprentice Technician
Industry Experience: 3 Years
Technician Spotlight: Darrias R.
How did you get started in the automotive industry?
I actually went to school and got an associates degree in Audio Engineering and Music Production. I started to really get tired of sitting behind a desk. I decided to throw my hat in the ring, and I started working at Firestone. I started with beginner jobs, including brakes and tires. From there, I progressed and worked for Chevy briefly. I was at Chevy for about a year, and then started at the shop I’m at as an apprentice. I realized I wanted to get into this industry a little after college. I wanted to be doing something more hands-on. I got into the industry not having too much experience, and just did simple things like oil changes and tire rotations. From there, I tried to learn as much as I could.
What is your favorite part of being a technician?
I’d probably say coming into work every day and knowing I’m not going to get bored. It’s something different to do and look at everyday. Whether it’s a simple diagnostic of something I’m familiar with or something I’m not familiar with. I know I can always go to my corkers and say, “Hey, I’m not too familiar with this, would you mind taking a look at it with me?” I’m continuously learning and growing everyday. I’m looking forward to learning more in-depth diagnostics for engine work. I haven’t gotten too much into that, but definitely can see myself getting more involved in the future.
What’s the best advice you can give someone looking to enter the industry?
Don’t be afraid to go out there and try different things. There are a lot of different directions you can go in this industry—whether it be specific specialties like transmission work or even just vehicle specific specialties. Don’t be afraid to try different projects, and learn as much as you can.
What has being a technician taught you the most?/ What skills has your career given you?
I’d say patience. It’s definitely a virtue in this industry. You can’t get too far ahead of yourself. You have to just keep with it and try not to get too frustrated too easily.
What do you wish more people, especially high schools, knew about the profession?
Coming from the perspective of someone who went to college originally, I’d say don’t be afraid to get into a trade right out of high school. College is great, but there are a lot of other ways to go about finding a career. This is an ever-growing industry. You need to progress as the industry progresses, and do as much as you can to learn.
If you knew a kid that wanted to go into the industry, but his/her parents or teachers were telling them to go into a four-year college, what would you want to tell the parents?
Personally, I believe it is totally up to the individual whether they want to pursue a college degree or enter a trade program. Don’t be afraid to get out there and give it a whirl. I went to college for Audio Engineering and found out it wasn’t for me. Even having a degree, it’s never too late to change the path you’re going down. I don’t think anyone should ever shy away from going to trade school or getting into a trade. I think parents and teachers pressure you to go to college. It feels somewhat frowned upon not going to college, and I don’t think it necessarily should.
Does your shop have a mentorship program?
When I first started as an apprentice, I was working in between two technicians. I tried to do my best and learn as much as I could. When I need someone to step in, they would be happy to do so. If I have questions, they don’t hesitate to help me. I really have no issues asking anybody for help, and the open door policy is a really great way to go about it.