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The Most Lucrative IT Careers for 2020

The Most Lucrative IT Careers for 2020

It’s clear that Information Technology is a fast growing field with lots of opportunity. According to (ISC)2’s Cybersecurity Workforce Study 2019, which polled more than 3,000 cyber and IT professionals, the current cybersecurity workforce in the United States and 10 other world economies at 2.8 million – about 4 million short of what it needs to be. LeaderQuest is proud to help train the next generation of IT specialists and cybersecurity pros.

Considering that IT workers are needed in nearly every sector of industry, it’s no surprise that these roles are growing like crazy. Salaries are also increasing at high rates, with Information Technology Managers seeing their compensation rise by over 8% from 2015-2019.

So what does this mean for IT? In this examination of the Robert Half 2020 Technology & IT Salary Guide, we’ll be exploring areas of growth, examining average salaries, and reviewing other information that’s essential for anyone thinking of getting into IT.

Expanding IT Industries

Though the need for IT is rising everywhere, the three industries with the biggest demand are healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing.

  • Healthcare — Big innovations are needed to improve patient care by modernizing healthcare operations.
  • Financial services — In the wake of the Equifax breach, this shouldn’t be surprising. Both big data and information security initiatives drive the need for pros in this industry.
  • Manufacturing — While manufacturing has been slow to adapt, things are changing quickly with the trend toward automation.
  • Technology — Unsurprisingly, the tech industry has a huge and growing need for all kinds of information technology roles.

The most in-demand job roles include:

Highly Valued Technology Certifications

Certifications are always in high demand as a way for employers to verify the skills of a new hire. The skills and knowledge required to pass these exams give employers confidence that they’ve made the right hire.

IT Salaries for 2020

In Robert Half’s extensive salary guide, they break down the numbers for what people in the 25th, 50th, 75th, and 95th percentile will make. Which percentile an individual falls into is decided by things like level of experience, special skills/expertise, job complexity, location, and other such factors.

When looking at these charts for yourself, it’s important to remember that the 50th percentile represents the midpoint. Those just getting started in the industry will be closer to (or below) the 25th percentile. Those with a lot of experience or credentials would fall in the 75th or 95th percentiles. For more information on using the salary guide, check out the video below.

When you examine the chart below, you can see that IT salaries top out with executive positions such as the Chief Information Officer ($174,750 – $298,750), Chief Technology Officer ($152,250 – $266,000), and Chief Security Officer ($155,250 – $278,000).

While that’s the highest of the high, it’s still worth noting that many of the salary ranges for IT roles easily reach over $100,000 including specialties and years of experience. Here are just a few high paying jobs in technical services, networking, and security.

Technical Services, Help Desk, & Technical Support

As you can see from the chart below, these positions represent the lower end of the salary range in IT. However, with the midpoint salary range for most positions around or over $50,000, it’s still much more than a living wage.

While salaries start in the $34,000 to $40,000 range, they quickly move to $50,000 – $60,000 as they get more and more specialized. This is especially true for systems administrators and systems engineers.

Position Title 25th Percentile 50th Percentile 75th Percentile 95th Percentile
Help Desk Tier 1 $34,250 $40,500 $47,500 $56,750
Help Desk Tier 2 $41,500 $50,000 $56,500 $65,250
Help Desk Tier 3 $50,500 $60,250 $72,000 $83,000
Desktop Support Analyst $49,750 $61,500 $73,500 $86,500
Systems Administrator $69,250 $84,750 $102,750 $117,250
Manager $107,500 $130,250 $157,750 $185,250
Systems Engineer $88,750 $106,000 $125,750 $148,000

When you’re looking to get into IT for the first time, it’s important to have a base of knowledge to draw upon. Our Computer User Support Specialist program combines popular ITIL® and CompTIA training programs necessary to develop the skills you’ll need for entry-level IT.

If you’re looking to get started in IT with little to no experience. Learn more about us by clicking the link below.

Contact Us!

Networking/Telecommunications

Network Administrators are listed as one of the most in-demand positions for 2020, so it should be no surprise their salaries range from $76,250 to $129,500, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Many higher level network positions such as Network Engineers, Managers, or Wireless Network Engineers start around $105,000 and can go as high as the $178,750.

Position Title 25th Percentile 50th Percentile 75th Percentile 95th Percentile
NOC Technician $53,750 $64,500 $79,250 $101,750
Telecommunications Specialist $60,000 $72,250 $86,000 $101,250
Network/Cloud Administrator $76,250 $92,500 $110,250 $129,500
Telecommunications Manager $83,750 $103,750 $120,500 $140,000
Network/Cloud Engineer $94,750 $112,000 $134,500 $159,000
Network/Cloud Manager $97,500 $120,000 $141,750 $169,750
Wireless Network Engineer $105,000 $123,750 $148,750 $178,750
Network/Cloud Architect $117,500 $141,750 $169,500 $196,250

If you’re interested in the networking positions, our Network Support Specialist Program teaches fundamentals, competencies, and qualifications that are necessary to start a career in networking. Through these classes, you’ll learn how to install, configure, run, verify, and troubleshoot medium-sized networks.

Interested in learning more? Click the link below.

Contact Us

Security

Cyber security is rapidly expanding and in desperate need of more professionals to stay on top of security. The compensation for these roles reflects this high demand.

In cyber security, even the jobs in the 25th percentile start around $90,000. With rising concerns about data from the Equifax breaches and others, it makes sense that Network Security Engineers, Data Security Analysts, and Information Systems Security Managers most often make between $115,000 and $160,000.

Position Title 25th Percentile 50th Percentile 75th Percentile 95th Percentile
Network Security Administrator $94,750 $113,500 $137,000 $160,500
Systems Security Administrator $93,750 $112,250 $134,750 $159,750
Network Security Engineer $101,500 $119,750 $143,000 $168,500
Data Security Analyst $108,250 $129,000 $154,000 $183,500
Information Systems Security Manager $119,500 $143,250 $172,250 $205,750

With the gap between cyber skills growing wider by the day, the industry provides professionals with unparalleled job security and a world of opportunities. Whether you’re interested in working on securing networks, keeping data safe, or even getting inside the mind of a hacker, cyber provides a variety of great, high-paying options.

Interested in learning more about how our programs can help you build a career path toward cyber security? Click the button below.

Learn More!

Perks, Incentives, and More

Most IT positions include generous benefits packages. Here are the most common benefits broken down by the percentage of companies that offer them:

  • Medical Insurance (81%)
  • Paid Time Off (76%)
  • Dental Insurance (71%)
  • Vision Insurance (63%)
  • Retirement Savings Plan (65%)

Employers also consider a number of other incentives to snag top talent including signing bonuses, health insurance, generous vacation time, and professional development opportunities.

As for perks, places often offer flexible work schedules, social events, the option of telecommuting, paid parental leave, employee discounts, onsite gym or access to a gym offsite, a compressed schedule, or free/subsidized meals.

Importance of Certifications

Ultimately, the difference in salary comes down to specialization. For IT pros, that means skills and certifications. Both increase the marketability of a professional. Employers may increase salaries between five to ten percent for professionals with sought-after skills and abilities.

Some of the most popular certifications, as identified by the Robert Half guide, include CISSP, CCNA, CompTIA A+, and PMP®. However, certifications show more than proving a skillset. They also signal to employers that a professional is committed to keeping their skills up to date at all times. With the ever-widening cyber security gap, certifications and willingness to keep on top of the latest updates are becoming more and more of a commodity.

Certifications can mean the difference between thousands of dollars in salary. That’s why, at LeaderQuest, we balance by-the-book training that helps people pass their exams with real-world, hands-on experience. This ensures our students can take their learning beyond the classroom and be fully prepared for a brand new career.

We understand the pressures of working full-time while still wanting to advance education and earning potential That’s why we offer classes during the day, at night, on campus, or online to meet any schedule and learning style.

Ultimately, a certification is a great, cost-effective way to get into the lucrative IT field for the fraction of the cost of a university. With the continuing upward trend in salaries, the IT industry isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

If you’re interested in building a successful career in IT, contact us and we’ll get you set up with one of our expert career advisers.

Contact us today and unlock your career’s full potential!

PMI, PMP, CAPM, and PMBOK are registered marks of Project Management Institute, Inc.

The Most Lucrative IT Careers for 2019

The Most Lucrative IT Careers for 2019

It’s no secret that IT is exploding. Forbes has  predicted as many as 3.5 million unfilled positions in the cyber security industry by 2021.

Given this scarcity, it’s no surprise that the salaries for IT professionals are skyrocketing, but the size of that jump might be more than you expect. Salaries for software developers and information security analysts increased 17 percent and 18 percent respectively since 2013 while compensation for computer systems analysts rose a whopping 21 percent.

So what does this mean for IT? In this examination of the Robert Half 2019 Technology & IT Salary Guide, we’ll be exploring areas of growth, examining average salaries, and reviewing other information that’s essential for anyone thinking of getting into IT.

Counteract Inexperience with Quick Learning

As the world shifts towards automation, the need for talented IT professionals is far outstripping the supply. That’s why companies have become willing to hire professionals with less experience but who are motivated to learn quickly.

With technology evolving faster than ever, employers are also looking for new hires who can stay on top of technology in their own time. That means passion is a big selling point.

On the flip side, those with skills and techniques related cloud technology, open source practices, mobile development, big data, cyber security, and other new technologies will definitely be given preference in hiring.

Expanding IT Industries

Though the need for IT is rising everywhere, the three industries with the biggest demand are healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing.

  • Healthcare — Big innovations are needed to improve patient care by modernizing healthcare operations.
  • Financial services — In the wake of the Equifax breach, this shouldn’t be surprising. Both big data and information security initiatives drive the need for pros in this industry.
  • Manufacturing — While manufacturing has been slow to adapt, things are changing quickly with the trend toward automation.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) — This industry is growing quickly as more companies leave traditional software behind for tailored solutions with great support.

The most in-demand job roles include:

Highly Valued Technology Certifications

Certifications are always in high demand as a way for employers to verify the skills of a new hire. The skills and knowledge required to pass these exams give employers confidence that they’ve made the right hire.

IT Salaries for 2019

In Robert Half’s extensive salary guide, they break down the numbers for what people in the 25th, 50th, 75th, and 95th percentile will make. Which percentile an individual falls into is decided by things like level of experience, special skills/expertise, job complexity, location, and other such factors.

When looking at these charts for yourself, it’s important to remember that the 50th percentile represents the midpoint. Those just getting started in the industry will be closer to (or below) the 25th percentile. Those with a lot of experience or credentials would fall in the 75th or 95th percentiles. For more information on using the salary guide, check out the video below.

When you examine the chart below, you can see that IT salaries top out with executive positions such as the Chief Information Officer ($171,750 – $293,000), Chief Technology Officer ($147,750 – $263,000), and Chief Security Officer ($148,000 – $270,000).

While that’s the highest of the high, it’s still worth noting that many of the salary ranges for IT roles easily reach over $100,000 including specialties and years of experience. Here are just a few high paying jobs in technical services, networking, and security.

Technical Services, Help Desk, & Technical Support

As you can see from the chart below, these positions represent the lower end of the salary range in IT. However, with the midpoint salary range for most positions around or over $50,000, it’s still much more than a living wage.

While salaries start in the $30,000 to $40,000 range, they quickly move to $50,000 – $60,000 as they get more and more specialized. This is especially true for systems administrators and systems engineers.

Position Title

25th Percentile

50th Percentile

75th Percentile

95th Percentile

Help Desk Tier 1

$32,250

$38,750

$46,000

$55,000

Help Desk Tier 2

$38,250

$45,750

$54,750

$64,500

Help Desk Tier 3

$49,000

$58,500

$70,000

$82,750

Desktop Support Analyst

$51,000

$61,250

$73,250

$86,500

Systems Administrator

$68,000

$81,750

$97,750

$115,750

Manager

$82,000

$98,500

$117,750

$139,000

Systems Engineer

$86,250

$103,000

$123,250

$145,750

When you’re looking to get into IT for the first time, it’s important to have a base of knowledge to draw upon. Our Computer User Support Specialist program combines popular ITIL® and CompTIA training programs necessary to develop the skills you’ll need for entry-level IT.

If you’re looking to get started in IT with little to no experience. Learn more about us by clicking the link below.

Contact Us!

Networking/Telecommunications

Network Administrators are listed as one of the most in-demand positions for 2019, so it should be no surprise their salaries range from $74,000 to $126,000, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Many higher level network positions such as Network Engineers, Managers, or Wireless Network Engineers start around $90,000 to $100,000 and can go as high as the $150,000 to $160,000 range.

Position Title

25th Percentile

50th Percentile

75th Percentile

95th Percentile

NOC Technician

$52,250

$62,500

$77,000

$98,750

Telecommunications Specialist

$59,500

$71,500

$85,250

$100,750

Network Administrator

$74,750

$89,000

$106,750

$126,750

Telecommunications Manager

$79,750

$95,500

$114,500

$136,000

Network Engineer

$92,000

$108,750

$130,500

$154,250

Network Manager

$94,750

$113,500

$135,750

$162,000

Wireless Network Engineer

$102,000

$122,000

$146,250

$173,500

Network Architect

$114,00

$137,500

$164,500

$195,000

If you’re interested in the networking positions, our Network Support Specialist Program teaches fundamentals, competencies, and qualifications that are necessary to start a career in networking. Through these classes, you’ll learn how to install, configure, run, verify, and troubleshoot medium-sized networks.

Interested in learning more? Click the link below.

Contact Us

Security

Cyber security is rapidly expanding and in desperate need of more professionals to stay on top of security. The compensation for these roles reflects this high demand.

In cyber security, even the jobs in the 25th percentile start around $90,000. With rising concerns about data from the Equifax breaches and others, it makes sense that Network Security Engineers, Data Security Analysts, and Information Systems Security Managers most often make between $115,000 and $160,000.

Position Title

25th Percentile

50th Percentile

75th Percentile

95th Percentile

Network Security Administrator

$93,000

$111,500

$134,000

$158,750

Systems Security Administrator

$93,750

$112,250

$134,750

$159,750

Network Security Engineer

$98,500

$118,000

$141,750

$167,500

Data Security Analyst

$105,000

$125,250

$149,500

$178,250

Information Systems Security Manager

$116,000

$139,000

$167,250

$199,750

With the gap between cyber skills growing wider by the day, the industry provides professionals with unparalleled job security and a world of opportunities. Whether you’re interested in working on securing networks, keeping data safe, or even getting inside the mind of a hacker, cyber provides a variety of great, high-paying options.

Interested in learning more about how our programs can help you build a career path toward cyber security? Click the button below.

Learn More!

Perks, Incentives, and More

Most IT positions include generous benefits packages. Here are the most common benefits broken down by the percentage of companies that offer them:

  • Medical Insurance (88%)
  • Paid Time Off (80%)
  • Dental Insurance (71%)
  • Vision Insurance (60%)
  • Disability Insurance (58%)
  • Life insurance (53%)
  • Employee Assistance Programs (39%)

Employers also consider a number of other incentives to snag top talent including signing bonuses, health insurance, generous vacation time, and professional development opportunities.

As for perks, places often offer flexible work schedules, social events, the option of telecommuting, onsite gym or access to a gym offsite, a compressed schedule, or free/subsidized meals.

In addition, employers offer 14 days paid vacation for the first five years of employment and nine paid holidays including floating holidays. Employers also match 3-4 percent of employees’ 401(k) or Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) contributions on average.

Importance of Certifications

Ultimately, the difference in salary comes down to specialization. For IT pros, that means skills and certifications. Both increase the marketability of a professional. Employers may increase salaries between five to ten percent for professionals with sought-after skills and abilities.

Some of the most popular certifications, as identified by the Robert Half guide, include CISSP, CCNA, CompTIA A+, and PMP®. However, certifications show more than proving a skillset. They also signal to employers that a professional is committed to keeping their skills up to date at all times. With the ever-widening cyber security gap, certifications and willingness to keep on top of the latest updates are becoming more and more of a commodity.

Certifications can mean the difference between thousands of dollars in salary. That’s why, at LeaderQuest, we balance by-the-book training that helps people pass their exams with real-world, hands-on experience. This ensures our students can take their learning beyond the classroom and be fully prepared for a brand new career.

We understand the pressures of working full-time while still wanting to advance education and earning potential That’s why we offer classes during the day, at night, on campus, or online to meet any schedule and learning style.

Ultimately, a certification is a great, cost-effective way to get into the lucrative IT field for the fraction of the cost of a university. With the continuing upward trend in salaries, the IT industry isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

If you’re interested in building a successful career in IT, contact us and we’ll get you set up with one of our expert career advisers.

Contact us today and unlock your career’s full potential!

Contact Us!

PMI, PMP, CAPM, and PMBOK are registered marks of Project Management Institute, Inc.

LeaderQuest IT Training Moves to New Baypine Road Location

LeaderQuest IT Training Moves to New Baypine Road Location

After months of searching and a lot of hard work from our staff, we’re excited to announce that our new LeaderQuest Jacksonville facility on Baypine Road is officially open for business!

We’ve been looking for an opportunity to expand for some time, and, after seeing the damage caused by Hurricane Irma to our old campus, we knew it was time to make the move. Our new facility includes an onsite Pearson VUE Testing Center and state-of-the-art classrooms.

But our facelift isn’t the only change you’ll be seeing down in Florida. We’re also welcoming our new Campus Director, Robert Estes. Robert is a successful business professional with over 20 years of experience working with startups and Fortune 500 companies. He’s held leadership roles in growing and developing sales/marketing teams.

A graduate of Florida State University, and a life-long Floridian, Robert served in the U.S. Navy on the USS Independence stationed in Japan. He received two service campaign medals during forward deployments in the Persian Gulf.

You’re Invited to Our Open House!

To celebrate these momentous changes, we’re inviting everyone to our Open House at our new Baypine Road location on January 31st. Stop in to enjoy some food, meet our new director, and get a tour of our new campus. Throughout the event, we’ll be holding prize drawings, so feel free to stick around and enjoy the fun from 4 pm to 7 pm.

Come see us at our new location at 8663 Baypine Road, Bldg 4, Suite 104 in Jacksonville, FL 32256. Questions? Comments? Email us at hello@leaderquest.net.

RSVP Here!

About IT Training at LeaderQuest

it careers

Established in 2003, LeaderQuest offers a variety of training programs in person and online to help students get IT and cyber security certifications. Programs take 5 to 25 days and are taught by expert instructors with experience in the field.

After getting certified, LeaderQuest makes it our number one goal to help each student get a great position through career assistance. In addition to Jacksonville, LeaderQuest also has campuses in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Dallas.

If you’re interested in getting trained, contact us today!

Contact Us!

The Most In-Demand IT and Tech Skills of 2018 and Beyond

The Most In-Demand IT and Tech Skills of 2018 and Beyond

Between cloud computing, increasing automation, artificial intelligence, and more, there’s no doubt that trends in the tech world have forever reshaped the skills professionals need to remain viable in the workplace.

In CompTIA’s most recent series, they’ve been examining the skills that companies value most and have broken them down in a comprehensive research brief. It examines different job titles, skillsets, and how the overall picture of what it means to be an “IT Professional,” looks like in the modern workplace.

Want to know if you have the most in-demand IT skills? Just fill out the form below, and we’ll send you the Future of IT Skills Research Brief and send you emails about local events, cyber security updates, and more.

Already subscribed? Just drop us a line and we’ll send you the research.


Do you have the skills you need to succeed?

When you need to pick up a new skillset, IT certification can get you there fast. Getting certified takes hard work and dedication, but  LeaderQuest can prepare you for a number of different certifications including A+, Security+, CEH, CISSP, PMP, and more!

We also offer a number of cyber security training courses which you can day online, on campus, during the day, or at night. We’re here to fit your schedule.

Are you ready to start your best career? Contact us today!

How Will Power Can Turn You From a Techie Wanna-Be Into a Full-Blown Network Specialist in One Month

How Will Power Can Turn You From a Techie Wanna-Be Into a Full-Blown Network Specialist in One Month

A lot of career talk around the internet mentions will power and latching onto the drive deep inside you to grit through the hard parts of work to come out on top with your dream career.

The problem with a lot of this advice is that it’s watered down. It’s talked about so much that it’s become cheesy and something you roll your eyes at rather than taking seriously.

Most of the time, the people giving this advice are only half-heartedly echoing what they’ve heard from slicked-out self-help life coaches with the hopes that they’ll get people to jump on board with whatever ‘great’ idea they’ve got to offer.

But hardly ever do any of them give the practical advice and steps you need to actually get things done.

They leave out the most important parts of the advice they’re giving, which is why we so often ignore them.

But, enough of bashing the advice givers on the internet. It’ll get us nowhere.

The point is, you want to work in tech.

Maybe in network administration and support, and we’ve already promised you in the headline that we can prepare you to switch to your dream career (and make around $70k or more per year) in less than a month.

So let’s get to it. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of how we’re going to get you into your dream tech career as a network support specialist quickly.

We offer an 80-hour course (20 days, 4 hours each) for people wanting to enter the world of tech via jobs like Network Technician, Junior Network Engineer, Network Operations Center Engineer, or Network Administrator.

The course is broken down into four parts, each one highlighting key takeaway skills that will propel you towards success in testing for employer-recognized certifications.

  1. CompTIA Network+ (5 days)
    • The foundation-level skills you need to install, operate, manage, maintain, and troubleshoot a company’s network of computer systems
  2. CompTIA Security+ (5 days)
    • Understanding network security and how it relates to all areas of IT, preparing you for deeper knowledge in different fields of IT security
    • Prepares you to pass the CompTIA Security+ SYO-401 certification
  3. Interconnecting CISCO Networking Devices Level I (5 days)
    • Learning how to install, operate, configure, and verify an IPv4 or IPv6 (internet protocol version 4 or 6), including an LAN (local area network) switch, configuring IP routers, connecting to a WAN (wide area network), and how to identify common security threats
  4. Interconnecting CISCO Networking Devices Level II (5 days)
    • Prepares you for work as an entry-level network administrator to install, configure, operate, and troubleshoot a company’s computer network by focusing on troubleshooting common issues, configuring within IPv4 and IPv6, understanding WAN technology, device management, and CISCO licensing

Trying to find these four classes independently, within a month time frame, and then budgeting or applying for financial aid for each on your own can be a nightmare. (And heaven forbid any of your independent classes would get re-scheduled, blowing your entire time frame to pieces.)

LeaderQuest offers ONE comprehensive Network Support Specialist program, complete with certification prep, to get you fully qualified to enter into one of several different network career categories. And our career services team will help you with financial aid resources, so that’s another big headache you don’t have to worry about.

You complete one course per week, either on a day time or night time schedule… whatever best fits your lifestyle, work, and family needs.

You commit yourself to be as fully focused to the courses as possible, but since it only takes 20 days (night courses take a bit longer, but they’re still pretty quick), it’s usually a fairly sustainable way for people desiring a full-blown career switch to learn what they need to know so they can get their employer-recognized certifications and move forward.

How Our Students Boost Their Will-Power to Make it Through the 20 Days

Yes, we realize that finding nearly a month to dedicate to education can be tough… especially if you’re not an early 20-something college student with few responsibilities.

  1. Have one to two month’s worth of expenses in the bank. Even if you’re working part time and don’t need it, this money pillow will relieve any stress of financial burden and give you the peace of mind to focus all your mental power on learning your course material and passing your certification exams.
  2. Secure some financial aid. Chances are, with your new career, you’ll be able to easily pay off this loan, and any interest you incur will pay for itself. We’ve got some resources to help you do that here. We particularly recommend checking out the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act.
  3. Let your family and friends know what you’re doing and how important it is. That way they’ll be less likely to ask for favors or place more responsibilities on you during this time.
  4. Dedicate one hour every morning, preferably right after waking up, to study your course materials.

 

Finding the ‘Will Power’ Isn’t as Difficult When You’ve Got the End Goal in Mind

Twenty half-days of full-blown classes and at-home study can seem intimidating. But it’s a heck of a lot less intimidating than finding the funds and the time for a two or four year degree, wouldn’t you say?

And when you know 100% that at the end of it you’ll have the certifications to land the exact jobs you want in network support, 20 days is suddenly just a blip on the timeline of your career… but a blip that propels you in the exact direction you want to take.

Request information on our Network Support Specialist IT Career Training Program here. There’s no obligation, but it’s the easy, first baby step you need to take to make your career dreams come true.

WIOA: Boost Your Tech Career & Earn Better Pay for Little or Nothing Out of Pocket

WIOA: Boost Your Tech Career & Earn Better Pay for Little or Nothing Out of Pocket

In July 2014, President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to help create more of a win-win situation for job seekers and companies.

Replacing the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, WIOA also amends the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the Wagner-Payne Act, and 1973’s Rehabilitation Act into something that’s more relevant to today’s job market and keeps the United States as a top player in the global business economy.

How WIOA Works

Jobs in the United States are moving away from manual labor and increasingly require fine-tuned skill sets to perform highly specialized tasks.

In fact, Business Roundtable estimates that since the year 2000, 85% of all jobs created in the United States require at least one specialized skill set, and that by 2020, more than half of the jobs (65%) will require post-secondary education.

The purpose of WIOA is to help willing workforce youth and adults get the education they need to work in these high-skill, higher-paying jobs. It creates smart career pathways aimed at the sectors of our economy that need them most.

WIOA helps individuals with and without disabilities fund their education to get ahead and to help America’s companies recover from the skills gap they’re currently suffering from—right now, 4.2 million jobs are staying open because companies can’t find the right people to fill them… but 9.5 million workers remain unemployed.

WIOA will boost programs that will help unemployed workers get trained in the skills companies need, get jobs, stay in their positions, and get paid at least a median wage.

How You Can Take Advantage of WIOA to Advance Your IT Career: Start Planning Now

WIOA hasn’t launched to the public yet, but it will take effect on July 1, 2015, so you can start planning now to make sure you get in on all it has to offer—especially using the assistance available to get free or low-cost education to advance your career.

Full details will be published on www.regulations.gov, and local libraries are predicted to be a key place for one-stop information regarding WIOA, especially since the digital literacy aspects of needed workers work well with what a library already offers. But even before the information hits the streets, you can plan where you want your IT career to go.

For example, say you’re in an entry-level position as a data entry specialist.

You like your company and are grateful for your job, but don’t like how monotonous it can get at times. You see there’s constant openings for support technicians and network administrators, but you don’t have the educational background needed to qualify.

Figuring out the education you need to get from where you are now to your next step will help you know what to go after when aid from WIOA is available.

Get Your Employer On Board

WIOA is for employers just as much as it is for job applicants. Especially if you notice your company having a hard time hiring for and filling certain tech-based positions, there’s a really good chance they’d qualify to participate.

Talk to your boss or your HR manager to see if they’ve heard of WIOA and let them know you’d be interested in taking advantage of it for classes on your end so you can advance to apply to one of those positions – they’ll appreciate your motivation and your likelihood of getting them on board to reduce your education costs are much higher.

Ask them to check out the WIOA apprenticeship programs too. After your education, you still might not have the experience they want, but you can job-shadow via WIOA while learning the exact needs of your company so you’re 100% fully prepared when they hire you into the full-time role.

Best Areas in Tech for WIOA

According to InfoWorld, 62% of IT hiring managers said filling a position in 2014 took longer than it did in 2013, and that filling one position can take up to six months.

There’s a skills gap in the IT sector, and there aren’t enough qualified workers to choose from for a company to hire a candidate that’s a good fit.

The good thing about WIOA is that it requires a strong alignment between what’s needed in the workforce and the educational programs available—helping eliminate this problem.

For example, for each available job in IT, there are two workers available. In the social sciences, there are forty workers available to fill each open position.

Beyond having a hard time finding the right candidate, companies who need to hire an IT expert risk losing up to $14,000 in revenues for each IT position that remains unfilled: their customer service suffers, their current employees are overburdened with responsibilities, and projects are left incomplete.

For this reason, IT companies will be taking advantage of the help WIOA has to offer them to fill the majority of their needs. In the same InfoWorld article, they site a CompTIA Survey that showed the most-needed IT skills include:

  • IT Support & Technicians: 48%
  • App Developers: 39%
  • Cloud Expertise: 33%
  • Network Engineer: 29%
  • Security Expertise: 28%

Find the Education Program That’s Best for You

It’s still winter, but WIOA support will be available before you know it. You can get an advantage by planning the education you need now, so when the time comes, you’re prepared to apply for the support.

By planning ahead, you’ll also be able to check out program dates to figure out which programs start and finish the quickest so you can get your education and start working towards your career goals and earning more money as soon as possible.

Check out our IT Career Training page — with just two clicks, you can get details and a schedule for the accelerated IT training program that’s best for you.