“When I see a problem, I want to fix it,” explains Alias Lacson. Whether that problem is an old hairdryer, a broken laptop, or a networking error, Alias isn’t someone to settle for a simple fix. “I don’t want to have the word ‘settle’ associated with who I am,” he continues. “I’m ambitious. I’m constantly growing and learning.”

As the oldest of seven siblings, Alias currently resides in San Francisco’s Sunset District, where he spends his spare time taking boxing, kickboxing, and jujitsu classes at a local UFC gym and visiting nearby beaches. “I’m about six blocks away from Ocean Beach and about five blocks away from Golden Gate Park, so I like to go there on my weekends,” he says.

Yet despite his clear motivation and technical proficiency, Alias’s path to Pure wasn’t straightforward. Having grown up in a rough neighborhood in San Jose, CA, Alias wasn’t initially exposed to IT or computers in the context of career opportunities. After dropping out of college and spending two years working an unfulfilling service job, Alias found himself laid off at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I was living with my grandparents, and I didn’t really know where I wanted to go. I was just worrying about the next paycheck and not really thinking far ahead,” he says. It was at this time that a friend recommended he look into the Year Up program—a skills development program and Pure Good Foundation partner that provides technical training and internship placements to disadvantaged students. 

At Year Up, Alias experienced the power of a community that lifts each other up and works toward common goals. “All of my colleagues in Year Up were in the same boat. Everyone had some type of hardship in their life that put them in a situation where they couldn’t go to college.” In addition to being motivated to set a good example for his younger siblings, Alias found that “Being with everybody and watching them make it from start to finish pushed me to do more and more.”

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From Year Up to Pure Potential

With the Pure Good Foundation as a connecting point, Alias began a Pure Storage internship in February 2021, shortly after completing the bootcamp phase of Year Up’s training program. In August of the same year, he was offered a full-time position as an IT support specialist at Pure Storage. 

Alias is quick to admit that the transition wasn’t easy—especially as his onboarding was complicated by the technical demands associated with pandemic-related remote work. “I was very green,” he shares. “I’ve had times where I wanted to quit, to just turn off my laptop and leave. But my mentors and managers have taken me under their wings and helped coach me and give me feedback. Eventually, I got the hang of it.”

Today, Alias focuses on Pure’s front-end IT needs, including supporting operating systems, endpoints, and internal hardware. He is also undertaking additional study to learn more about networking and different computer languages, such as Python, in the hopes of eventually transitioning into a system admin or network engineer role. 

Alias’s motivation to pursue new opportunities reflects a fundamental shift in his mindset. Rather than waiting for life to happen, he takes action to make it happen, seeing himself as someone who takes on new challenges and prepares for a future built on his talents and hard work. Looking back on his journey through the Year Up program and into his first year at Pure, Alias reflects, “The way I talk and the way I present myself has changed. It’s totally changed my life.”

That Alias is now in a place to use his story to mentor others demonstrates the exponential power of giving. As the Pure Good Foundation supported Year Up—and as Year Up’s mentors volunteered their time with Alias and his classmates—he is now in a place to encourage others to follow in his footsteps. Alias is particularly drawn to motivating the younger siblings of his friends to follow in his footsteps. “When they feel like quitting or they don’t want to do it anymore, I can support them and let them know it’s tough now, but it’s going to pay off.” 

With Alias’s commitment to ongoing growth and development, we’re sure he’s going to continue to make his mark on the world of IT—no matter where or how he decides to apply his talents.

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