Monday, October 11, 2010

Data and an Article to Share with Your IT Students

Last week NetworkWorld reported on new data recently released by the American Community Survey, an annual survey that asks similar questions to the U.S. Census. The data show that employment in computer- and math-related jobs held steady nationwide through 2009, even among the massive decline in overall employment in the United States. While 2009 saw a drop of 6 million in U.S. jobs in comparison to 2008, the number of computer- and math-related jobs went from 3.475 million to 3.472 million in that same period, with a margin of error of 31,000.

States with the highest increases in tech jobs in 2009 were Colorado (up 2.2%), North Carolina (up 1.8%), and Kentucky (up 1.8%).

This is great news for your IT students; they can feel confident that when they graduate, they will find many IT jobs available. Now, they just have to make sure they prepare themselves appropriately to succeed in the job they find after graduation by building the right skills and experience while in school.

Certification Magazine writer Nelson Velez just published an article that every IT student should read for a straight-forward perspective about IT skills and certifications and the steps to take to achieve them in the right order. Some students wonder where to start with certification, and others think they need every prestigious certification before they graduate in order to find their first job.

Velez offers the following basic path for certification that may help your students formulate a realistic plan:
  • Start with A+ to “acquire the basic knowledge of computer hardware and software needed to jump-start your IT career,” Velez said.
  • After A+, move on to Network+. “The best approach to becoming a networking expert is to understand all the basic concepts of networking,” Velez said. 
  • Once you’re in the field, Velez said “it tends to become clearer to individuals what to pursue as a next step or how to take over more complex tasks. . . . Once you have decided if you are an operating system person or a networking person, there are still plenty of options to choose from.”
  • If you want to specialize in operating systems, you may begin certifying in technologies from Microsoft, Linux, or another operating system.
  • If you want to specialize in networking, you may further narrow in on routing and switching, wireless technology, or information security. Each path has certifications to pursue that will further build the skills for that specialization (CCNA, CWNA, or CISSP are all meant for different specializations.)

By teaching IT concepts with LabSim certification training courses, you are developing your students’ foundational IT skills and preparing them to receive the exact certifications Velez and other experts recommend for their career start.

Emily Howard, TestOut

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