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.
Watch our video to learn more about IT careers!
Why should your student choose a career in IT?
They’ll be in demand.
IT professionals are highly sought after as companies of all sizes, all industries, including nonprofits and governments, look to increase their use of technology to solve problems and grow their business. There are many jobs available and not enough candidates to fill them. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) cites the average job growth for all occupations at 11%, from 2012 to 2022. However, the BLS predicts that many IT jobs will far outshine this growth rate, with the demand for computer systems analysts estimated at 9%, the need for information security analysts expected to rise by 28% and a 24% increase in demand for software developers.
They’ll be paid well.
IT jobs are some of the highest-paid careers available! Whether it’s a Systems Administrator, who makes roughly $82K a year, or an IT Security Specialist, who makes roughly $115K a year, any IT job is in demand and companies and organizations are looking for people to fill open positions.
They will get to work on interesting problems.
IT professionals use technology to solve problems of all sizes and types. They will have opportunities to work on some of the most challenging and exciting problems facing the world today.
They can make an impact.
IT solutions are increasingly in demand, leveraging information technology to solve some of the biggest problems facing the world today! IT professionals have the opportunity to use innovation and creativity to frame how we see our future.
They have the opportunity to grow as a leader or individual contributor.
The IT field is always changing, and new jobs are constantly emerging. Whether they are an introvert or an extrovert, there are opportunities for both in IT!
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.
IT professionals do much more than simply write the code that makes our systems and apps run. Business analysts work with the business to understand their needs and help determine how technology might help. Project managers help keep the work flowing and within budget. Cybersecurity experts work to protect information and systems from criminals, and data forensics experts help law enforcement to find those criminals. 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! Check out some of our pages:
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 that you need to be a math genius. Most IT roles rely more on logical thinking than the math itself.
Have them take as much as they can when it comes to science, but the specific subjects are less important. Take the one that interest them most, and most likely aligns with the industry area they’re most interested in. It’s the problem solving and critical thinking skills learned in these classes that matter most.
3D, 2D, and digital…they all teach creativity which can help in problem-solving. If they are interested in more of web development, marketing, or computer graphics career, even better!
Being able to communicate their thoughts, whether in the code they’re writing or in the presentation they’re giving, is always important. As many IT jobs require good communication skills, taking classes in high school will help them later on.
Music and Foreign languages help them learn syntax, loops, and other concepts which make learning a coding language easier.
If their school offers these subjects, they should sign up. Computer science & coding courses will give them 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 them get started.
College credit-granting classes
These courses are 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!)
We encourage your student to attend the annual job fair hosted by the NEW IT Alliance. This job fair will allow your student 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 both Xello and Inspire. Both tools allow them to connect with area employers’ profiles to see how their interests align with local businesses. We also have a variety on our Resources page pertaining to cyber-security, coding resources, as well as more career exploration resources.
Student and Teacher Resources
Check out our resources for both parents and educators. These pages explain what IT really is, why it’s important, and how to get students interested in pursuing some sort of IT background. They also give parents and educators an understanding of why IT is important for each and every student to know IT.