Launching IT careers with Microsoft Certified Fundamentals: Thomas Groff

NPower, a U.S.-based non-profit, is dedicated to creating pathways for military veterans and young adults from underserved communities to pursue technology-related careers. Operating in nine states, they provide comprehensive IT training, job placement, and educational resources. This includes their Information Technology Support Services (ITSS) program that enrolls 200 candidates annually. By offering Microsoft Certified Fundamentals certifications, trainees build their AI, cloud computing, and machine learning skills and credentials.

NPower’s mission and programming embodies the power of certification and showcases how it can shape futures, strengthen careers, and create a spirit of lifelong learning. We recently sat down with one of their trainees, Thomas Groff, to discuss how the NPower program and earning Microsoft Certified Fundamentals certifications have helped him strengthen his portfolio for prospective employers.

Thomas, tell us about yourself and your professional background.

My name is Thomas Groff, and I am living in San Diego, California. Before enrolling in NPower’s ITSS program, I spent 10 years in the copier industry. I served in the Marine Corps, focusing on troubleshooting and repairing electronics. My background includes hardware and software skills, and specifically, the last three years were dedicated to a Help Desk role, providing technical support and working closely with IT support providers for mutual clients.

What Microsoft Certified Fundamentals certification did you earn, and what made you decide to pursue certifications?

I recently certified in Microsoft Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) and Microsoft 365 Fundamentals (MS-900). My initial motivation was to complete the NPower program and pass the training. However, my vision expanded beyond the training, and I realized the importance of showcasing relevant industry certifications to prospective employers. If I wanted to pursue a dedicated career in IT, I needed verification of my skills.

How has earning the certification impacted your knowledge and skills in your field?

The certifications have cemented and improved my understanding of cloud computing, not just in theory but practical application. Understanding mobile device management (MDM) and how it can be effectively applied to support employees and protect company data has been valuable. In my current role, I use my understanding of MDM and cloud computing every day. I can effectively use tools provided to perform my current job duties. Additionally, I now see myself in a role enhancing security posture and availability for end-users. NPower has been supportive throughout my certification process, and their Professional Development Team is helping me in my resume development and job search skills.

My Microsoft Certified Fundamentals certification helped me understand how these products can seamlessly integrate and complement each other. What a valuable collaborative foundation for my team, and any team that administers IT. It fosters effective communication among team members, streamlines problem-solving, and creates informed decisions in configuring, managing, and troubleshooting in diverse IT environments.

Interested in learning more about Microsoft Certified Fundamentals certification? Visit