There is a clear growing need in the workforce for convergence-IT* workers:
- The U.S. Department of Labor expects that from 2010 to 2020 there will be a 47% increase in demand for computer support specialist that require "some college, but no degree."
- U.S. News and World Report expects the information security analysis profession to grow by 36.5% through 2022.
- CIO.com recently ranked Network and Computer Systems Administrator among the top 10 jobs in IT/engineering and predicts the job will grow 12% by 2022.
- Gartner predicts that 6.4 billon connected “things” will be in use worldwide in 2016 (up 30% from 2015) and that this “internet of things” will support services spending of $235 billion. IT specialists are needed to manage and support these vast networks of “things.”
- Robert Half Technology anticipates the long-standing demand and supply imbalance in the hiring of IT professionals (i.e. more jobs than there are workers to fill them) to continue in 2016. (View slideshow on Technology Trends at the bottom of the page here.)
- CIO.com also notes employers are searching for job candidates that have soft skills. SHRM surveyed 2,583 respondents who cited critical thinking/problem-solving (40%), professional/work ethic (38%), leadership (34%), and written communication (27%) are the skills most sought in the industry.
*All data above is a picture of reports, surveys and studies on the employment outlook from a variety of sources. Not all the information sources will reflect the educational requirements for the positions, the geographic variables or the changing economic conditions that have occurred since these reports were published. IT in some cases may also refer to programming, which is not primarily defined as a convergence technology.
And with that growing demand comes higher wages:
- U.S. News and World Report’s “University Directory” that lists top salaries/careers with an associate’s degree. IT is number three on the list with a $36,400-$55,100 salary range.
- Computerworld’s 2015 Salary Survey reveals salary increases for the following IT jobs: Network Administrator (2.5% increase from 2014), Help Desk/ Technical Support specialist (3.1%), Network Engineer (5.2%), Technician (5%). These percentages indicate the increase differential in salary over 2014.
- Payscale.com lists “Networks and Telecommunications” in the top ten highest-paying associate degrees for 2015. One can expect to make an average of $41,600 in their early career and $66,400 by mid-career.
- InterLink, Inc. lists “Convergence Technology Specialists/Technicians” and “Computer Network/Wireless Network Engineers/Technicians” as one of its “Emerging and Evolving Occupations.” They also estimated the hourly wage for each occupation at $15.00/$20.00 and $43.75, respectively.
- Robert Half Technologies predicts that among networking jobs in the U.S., Network Administrator’s may well see a 5.6% salary range increase in 2016.
Job Titles (Income Range*)
- Technical Support Representative ($24,738 - $54,768)
- It Help Desk Specialist ($29,658 - $56,852)
- Desktop Support Specialist ($33,183 - $63,667)
- Telecommunications Technician ($30,957 - $76,793)
- Network Administrator ($36,318 - $77,935)
- Systems Administrator ($39,257 - $83,751)
- Information Technology Specialist ($30,786 - $86,221)
- Network Engineer ($43,884 - $101,632)
*The information above was found using Payscale.com’s website, and it is accurate as of January 12, 2016. This data reflects the national salary range and may not be a direct reflection of the market in your area. Each of these positions may have differing educational requirements.
Salary Range* Based on Certifications
- CompTIA A+ ($32,893 - $97,726)
- CompTIA Security+ ($39,581 - $97,736)
- CompTIA Network+ ($33,544 - $99,352)
- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) ($40,283 - $122,332)
- Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator ($40,037 - $132,499)
- Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) ($47,954 - $151,787)
*The information above was found using Payscale.com’s website, and it is accurate as of January 12, 2016. This data reflects the national salary range and may not be a direct reflection of the market in your area. Salary amounts also reflect multiple positions that have these particular certifications and may include needed additional skills and certifications.
As part of a retention strategy to help students complete their convergence education and establish some experience to help them enter the workforce, the CTC supports an internship/Co-Op program for students who are already enrolled in convergence classes.
This program is being offered in conjunction with co-op and career services organizations or within each division so that organizational support services are not duplicated. For more information regarding internships through Collin College, visit the Co-op and internship website or contact Larry Maughan.
The CTC has also developed an innovative “virtual internship” model that other schools are starting to adopt. Because so many community college students have families and full-time jobs, a traditional internship often isn’t feasible. The “virtual internship” class – under the leadership of a local IT business mentor – assembles student teams to work on a specific real-world IT problem. The business mentor meets with the students teams four or five times throughout the semester via webinar. During those meetings, the mentor helps the students – and their faculty leader – to design, document, and implement a solution to the problem ranging from fairly simple to complex. The class concludes with a formal face-to-face business panel review in which the student teams present their solution verbally and visually. They also produce a report describing their solution. This “virtual internship” model strengthens the students’ soft skills, gives them valuable content for their job portfolios, connects them with IT professionals, and exposes them to real-world workforce challenges.
Learn more here.
North Central Texas Interlink, Inc. recently assembled a group of IT thought leaders and futurists to identify future trends. The goal was to help guide students into high demand careers and educators toward the next wave of technologies for inclusion in future programs.
See the document here.