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From Programmer to HVAC Technician— A Career Switch Success Story

October 28, 2020

Last Updated: October 28, 2020

by Jon Zou

John Zou is an HVAC technician who owns Foster Cooling & Heating in Las Vegas, NV. Previously, a successful programmer who worked on mobile apps, Jon bravely switched careers 2 years ago to HVAC. This is his story about changing careers and starting a career in HVAC.

I first arrived in the U.S. from China in 2015. I had spent 13 years as a successful programmer working on popular mobile apps that everyone has used at one point or another. At the time, I really enjoyed the work I was doing and I was good at my job. But technology was changing so rapidly that it started taking up all of my free time to keep improving my coding skills.

I knew It was time for a career change. I needed something that I would enjoy, with flexible hours, that would allow me to comfortably support my family. So, I decided to become an HVAC technician.

Getting Started as an HVAC Tech

At first, I wasn’t a very good HVAC tech. I was trying to learn by watching any and all videos I could find online. I was learning some things, but it wasn’t comprehensive enough. To become a successful, I knew I needed some type of program that was systematic, involved theory, gave me field practice experience and would cover all aspects of HVAC.

Some of the most useful videos I found online happened to be from Interplay Learning’s YouTube channel. After I looked into them, I realized their HVAC training platform, SkillMill™, had everything I was looking for — plus, I could study all the materials from my computer.

The simulations were especially beneficial — it was like I was out in the field doing the job. I would dedicate my time to working as a tech during the day and study with SkillMill™ when I was at home. I could do multiple lessons each day, and gained experience and knowledge that would have taken much longer had I relied on waiting for customers to call with these issues. Not only that, if I couldn’t pass a lesson or was doing something wrong on the simulations, it would correct me immediately. That kind of instant feedback helped me learn to troubleshoot really fast.

From Green to Experienced Within A Year

Once discovering SkillMill™, I was an experienced HVAC technician within a single year. Now, I have my own HVAC business, Foster Cooling & Heating in Las Vegas, NV. At the start, I was out doing jobs and using the Interplay Learning platform at the same time. I could troubleshoot issues so much quicker, and I could rely on lessons if I needed help. Still, to this day, I refer back to the training to refresh my knowledge. In fact, my partner, who has been doing this job for 20 years, is even learning things from me that I picked up from Interplay.

To date, I’ve sent 450 invoices in less than 2 years and my business continues to grow. I’m currently working on getting my contractors license, which will ensure even more success.

SkillMill™ — Changing Careers, Changing Lives

The SkillMill™ platform has given me the information and confidence I need to succeed, and I can honestly say without it, I would have given up on my career change. Everything I’ve achieved or will achieve is based on the knowledge I’ve learned from Interplay Learning. I am so grateful to have found this training. It's not because I'm smart that I was able to succeed, it’s because I had great digital teachers. Thanks to everybody who works on this great product!

Jon Zou

Jon Zou

HVAC technician

John Zou is an HVAC technician who owns Foster Cooling & Heating in Las Vegas, NV. Previously, a successful programmer who worked on mobile apps, Jon bravely switched careers 2 years ago to HVAC.