What is IT?
IT stands for information technology. It is ingrained in every job field from the basic computer support specialist all the way to the software developer. Industries like healthcare, education, insurance, and even construction have a strong need for people with IT intel. Every company has some tie into IT and that is why it is important that everybody has a basic understanding of what IT really is. Despite its importance, IT often is often overlooked when it comes to thinking about future professions. Visit our NEW Job Board to see open job opportunities in Northeast Wisconsin. Current predictions are that there will be 3,000 job openings by 2021 in our region.
How do you pick a career? Look for a field where…
- You’ll be in demand.
- IT workers are highly sought after as companies of all sizes, nonprofits, and governments all look to increase their use of technology to solve their problems. There are many jobs available and not enough candidates to fill them.
- You’ll get paid well.
- IT jobs are some of the highest-paid careers!
- You will get to work on interesting problems.
- IT workers solve problems for other people using technology. You will have opportunities to work on some of the most challenging and exciting problems facing the world today.
- You can make an impact.
- IT solutions are increasingly in demand to solve some of the biggest problems facing the world today – in all industries!
Why is IT an important field?
More and more, the world revolves around data. Data is used to predict the weather where you live, managed by financial institutes to determine your wealth, used by healthcare agencies to help ward off pandemics, and by governments to provide assistance when natural disasters strike. Information technology professionals are needed in order to manage, analyze, and protect all that data.
Organizations of all sizes, types, and industries need data and IT in order to do business. Whether you’re talking about your mechanic who uses a computer to diagnose the issues with your car, or you’re talking about Google using software to understand your search patterns, everyone is using IT. That means that IT professionals are in high demand…and the demand is growing!
In addition to being a critical function, supporting much of what we do in our everyday lives, information technology is a career field with a high level of job security.
- With an expected 13% job growth over the next several years (as compared to expected growth for all jobs of 6.5%) the demand for IT professionals is outpacing supply.
- Here in northeast Wisconsin, employers are expecting 3000 new IT positions will go unfilled by 2021.
- Over 90% of IT students are employed or have job offers prior to graduation.
What do people in IT do?
Click here to learn more about individual IT Careers.
How much does IT pay?
Ok, so IT is an exciting career area, with lots of opportunities in all industry sectors, but does it pay well? You bet!
Start salaries for local graduates (associates and bachelors) average $44,500 and range from $25,000 – $90,000 depending on field and degree. Students graduating with degrees in hot areas like cybersecurity and networking will often see higher start salaries. In northeast Wisconsin, the average IT salary is $79,500 across all professions.
What are the next steps we should take?
As a parent, there are many ways you can help your student start the path toward an IT career. Just reading the NEW IT Alliance website is a great way to start!
High school classes
Your student does not need to take all the classes listed below, and will likely take many of them as graduation requirements. The list below can help them understand how the classes apply to an IT career.
- Math – always good to take, but don’t get caught in the stereotype of needing to be a math genius. Most IT roles rely more on the logic learned than the math itself.
- Science – take as much as you can, but the specific subjects are less important. Take the one that interests you most, and most likely aligns with the industry area you’re most interested in. It’s the problem solving and critical thinking skills learned in these classes that matter most.
- Art – 3D, 2D, digital…they all teach creativity which can help in problem-solving. If you are interested in more of web development, marketing, or computer graphics career, even better!
- Communications/English – being able to communicate your thoughts, whether in the code you’re writing or in the presentation you’re giving, is always important. As many IT jobs require good communication skills, taking classes in high school will help you later on.
- Music/foreign language – helps you learn syntax, loops, and other concepts which make learning a coding language easier.
- Computer science/coding – if your school offers these subjects, you should sign up. They will give you an idea of what an important part of IT is about. There are also many online self-study options to learn many different aspects of programming. Check out some of the sites on our Resources page to help you get started.
- College credit-granting classes – not a requirement, but many great opportunities exist for students to collect college credit while in high school. For those students who love a challenge, this can be a great way to reduce college costs later on…whether they go to a 2 year or a 4-year college.
Camps, competitions, and hackathons can be great ways to gain exposure to coding, cybersecurity, and many other aspects of Information Technology. In addition, they allow your student to network with others like themselves along with schools and local employers. Check out our Events page throughout the year to learn what opportunities there are near you.
IT Alliance job fair (NEW Connect IT!)
Encourage your student and their school to attend the annual job fair hosted by the NEW IT Alliance. This job fair will allow them to talk to regional colleges and employers to learn more about IT careers and paths of study. Some area employers also hire high school students into their IT departments as youth apprentices!
Check out our Resources area for links to additional information. Also, encourage your student to leverage tools from school. Local school districts offer access to either Career Cruising and Inspire, or Your Future. Both tools allow them to connect with area employers’ profiles to see how their interests align with local businesses.