Don’t be fooled by dot-com bust: Information tech jobs still abound
Even with the downturn in the economy, 600,000 computer jobs in the United States will go unfilled in 2002 due to a lack of qualified workers, according to a recently released study by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA). This is up from a similar study conducted a year ago, after the dot-com crash, which indicated 425,000 positions would go unfilled in 2001.
The massive layoffs in the information technology industry that made so much news last year primarily were by information technology employers – companies that make hardware and software and dot-coms. But, they represent only 8 percent of the employers who use IT-trained workers, according to ITAA. The other 92 percent use their IT-trained employees to make their hardware, software and websites and intranets work, and they’re hiring.
“The need for skilled IT workers is ongoing. It is a constant, and we don’t ever it see it going away,” said Marjorie Mynum, ITAA’s vice president for Workforce Development. “As long as technology is there, the need and demand for skilled workers is also going to be there.”
Casey Johnson is someone who will vouch for that demand. He was one of Colorado Mountain College’s 7,500 computer students in Summit, Garfield, Eagle, Routt, Lake, Pitkin and Chaffee counties. Students earn valuable credentials in programs such as CMC’s Microcomputer Support Specialist and Cisco Networking certificates and degrees.
Johnson completed his training as a Cisco Certified Network Associate, CCNA, at Colorado Mountain College in May. The CCNA courses provide the knowledge and skills necessary to configure and manage computer network equipment, including routers and LAN switches.
He had decided that after graduation he wanted to work near his home near Greeley. He sent out only two applications and exactly three weeks later both employers offered him a job.
But, he didn’t have to wait until graduation to begin making money from the skills he was learning. After just a year of the two-year program, he was hired full-time by CMC’s internal Information Technology division.
CMC Cisco Academy graduate Michael Dietrich had an experience similar to Johnson’s. “I did an internship as part of my last semester at CMC. I think that you have to do whatever it takes to get whatever experience you need,” said CMC Dietrich, who served an 140-hour unpaid internship with Garfield County Re-2 schools during his last semester at CMC.
Dietrich said he got a lot more than just three hours credit from his Re-2 work experience. He made the contacts that helped him land a job as the computer network administrator for Garfield County School District #16 in Parachute the week he graduated.
“If you attend courses, study hard, pass the industry certification tests, and get some experience, you will be hired,” says CMC Information Technology Professor Cathy Markuson. “Students can get on-the-job experience via internships. Internships do count toward degree credits.”
Even if people don’t do an internship, they can get experience by volunteering to help their existing employer using their newfound network experience.
Markuson also says that there is a growing demand for individuals with technical and artistic skills in the IT industry. “Web page designers need to understand computer networking and how to efficiently deliver aesthetically pleasing web pages. The work of the web page designer is potentially viewed by millions of Internet users.” CMC offers courses in Web Page Development at several campuses.
Colorado Mountain College offers degree and certificate programs in Computer Networking and Microcomputer Support Specialist at Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, Rifle, Salida, Steamboat Springs, Summit County, and Vail-Eagle. Cisco Certified Network Associate courses are offered at Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Rifle, Salida, Summit County and Vail-Eagle. Web Page Developer courses are offered at Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, Rifle, Spring Valley, Steamboat Springs, Summit County and Vail-Eagle campuses.
Glenwood Springs and Carbondale are now offering the Web Design Fundamentals course that is sponsored by Adobe Systems, Cisco Systems and CMC. Graphic Design courses are offered at the Spring Valley Campus.
Microsoft Office User Specialist courses are offered at all campuses and are available as web courses. Visit CMC’s website for more information: http://www.coloradomtn.edu/.
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