CAREER CONNECTIONS

Career Exploration Newsletter

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What is Information Technology (IT)?

Information technology (IT) refers to everything that businesses use computers for. Information technology is building communications networks for a company, safeguarding data and information, creating and administering databases, helping employees troubleshoot problems with their computers or mobile devices, or doing a range of other work to ensure the efficiency and security of business information systems. Demand for professionals in this field is high and growing, and people entering the field have a range of career paths to choose from. It’s clear from this list that positions in IT represent high-paying, fast-growing career paths. It’s also clear that the first step toward many of them is earning a bachelor’s degree. Within the higher education context, computer science is largely focused on programming and software development, while information technology is the study of computer systems and networks as they relate to the operation of a business. Either can be the foundation for a great career in the field. Some students may also choose to specialize in particular computer-related areas like cyber security or continue their education with a master’s degree in a related field.

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Triway Expands Gen Yes Technology Leadership Program to the Jr. High This Year

Triway Local Schools have expended its highly sucessful Gen Yes leaderhsip technology program to Triway Junior High. Gen Yes is a nation program that develops technology leaders providing in-classroom, online, and distance learning support to educators, peers, and their communities. Students develop the lifelong learning and people skills necessary to succeed in college and career, including a pathway program to top jobs. GenYES provides the tools, curricula, and resources to support grades 3-12 students and develop them into the next generation of technology leaders. Triway’s Gen Yes students learn how to fix computer screens, keyboards, resolving network errors, help remote students with technology issues, assisting teachers in creating PowerPoints and other educational technology tools. The Gen Yes program uses hands-on learning to allow students to develop real-world business, technology, and leadership skills that will transfer to the workplace. When asked why she likes the Gen Yes program, Triway 8th grader Olivya Drown stated:

“ I personally enjoy working with computers because I grew up around computers and other types of technology. The GenY.E.S.program gives me a way to be able to use my knowledge with computers and I’m able to help people. In GenY.E.S. we get broken computers from other students and we find the problem and we try to fix it. Most of the time we are able to fix them which is pretty nice because then we don’t have to buy new computers every time one gets broken. Because trust me, they get broke a lot.”

To learn more about this program visit www.genyes.com.

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Triway 8th grader Olivia Drown repairs a Chromebook while Cypress Saurer looks on.

Triway High School's GenYES Program

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Northwestern High School's Computer Science pathway starting off strong in it's 6th year!

Northwestern now offers two middle school coding classes through PLTW and three high school computer science courses through PLTW and a senior capstone close where students build an entire, workable app, from scratch.

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This year, Northwestern's 2nd and 3rd year students are in the same room at the same time, which allows for collaboration and peer assistance.

Through primarily Java in the 3rd year course, students are learning the foundation of text-based coding, focusing on key coding fundamentals as well as paying close attention to syntax. In our 2nd year course, students transition quickly from block-based coding, an extension from their previous year, into text-based coding.
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Additional Opportunities with virtual learning at Northwestern!

Because of COVID and schools moving back and forth from in-person to virtual learning and back at various times, PLTW did a vast overhaul of their program allowing nearly all of their coding to be done 100% virtually. This has created the opportunity for more peer-programming, even when all students are present.

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Information Technology Career Path Examples:

When it comes to career paths in information technology, examples run from tiny consulting firms to huge multinational corporations, and from highly technical specialties to management ladders that demand strong people skills. Here are some examples of routes you might choose:

  • Computer Support Specialist – These positions require a bachelor’s degree and are a good fit if you enjoy answering questions about computer software and hardware, setting up equipment, and training computer users. People in this position need to have a strong grasp of many kinds of software, including database interface programs, development of environment tools and operating system software. The median annual pay for this job is $53,000, and positions in this field are growing faster than average, according to BLS.
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrator – This job often requires a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field, though some employers may only ask for an associate degree or postsecondary certificate. Either way, these jobs are often available to professionals without prior work experience in the field, and BLS reports that they paid a median salary of $82,000 in 2018. Daily tasks in this job could include maintaining computer network hardware and software, backing up data and troubleshooting network problems. To do this work, you need to know how to use database management software, as well as network monitoring and web platform development tools.
  • Computer Network Architect – This is a step up the career ladder for a network administrator and usually requires a bachelor’s degree and previous experience in the IT field. People in this position design and build networks, such as intranets, local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs). Median pay for this kind of work was $109,000 in 2018, according to the BLS. Network architects often need to understand a variety of software systems, including administration tools, development environment software and operating system programs. There’s also often an element of human touch to this job since network architects may need to work with customers and sales and marketing staff to meet customer needs and make sure accounts are set up correctly.
  • Database Administrator – This fast-growing field involves protection and security of data such as financial information and customer shipping records. The jobs are often in specialized firms that provide services to other companies, or in data-heavy industries like insurance. The median pay for this work was $90,000 in 2018, according to BLS. Most employers expect candidates for the jobs to have a bachelor’s degree in an information- or computer-related discipline. It’s also helpful to understand database management software, as well as operating system tools, development environment and web platform software, and tools for enterprise resource planning.
  • Computer Systems Analyst – This job, also known as system architect, demands an understanding of both IT and business systems. As with many information technology careers, the typical background for the job is a bachelor’s degree in a computer or information science field, but some people come to this work after studying business or even liberal arts. Strong computer skills, often including programming tools, database management software and development environment software are a must. At the same time, people doing this work must be able to apply computer systems to address business management issues like workflow, inventory control and production processes. As more businesses move into cloud computing, work in this area will grow. The median pay for the job was $88,000 in 2018, according to BLS.
  • Information Security Analyst – This is one of the fastest-growing jobs in IT, with an expected 32% increase by 2028, according to BLS. Professionals in these positions shield company networks and systems from cyber attacks. These jobs generally require a bachelor’s degree with a computer-related major, plus some experience in the IT field. Professionals in this field need to use development environment tools, as well as network monitoring and operating software and specific security tools. The median wage in this job was $98,000 in 2018, according to BLS.

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Tri-County Educational Service Center - Career Connections Program

Questions about our program?


Contact Beth Gaubatz (tesc_bgaubatz@tccsa.net)

or

Ann Hendershot (tesc_ahendershot@tccsa.net)