Computer and information technology careers are in demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 13 percent growth in the technology industry between now and 2030. That’s faster than the average for all other occupations. Among the most popular tech jobs are database administrators, IT security analysts, and network and computer systems administrators.
Tech careers offer long-term job security since technology use only continues to expand and scale. Companies pay big money to workers with technology skills, with some jobs requiring only an associate degree or completed apprenticeship.
Upskilling and reskilling are common in the tech industry since it changes so frequently. Even someone without any previous knowledge can quickly acquire the abilities needed to launch a new career in the tech sector. Tech Elevator, an intensive, in-person and online education provider of in-demand technology skills for the modern workforce, is one of many options for people to expand their tech expertise.
“Through our network of physical campuses and through our online offering National Live Remote, we graduate over 1,000 code-ready, junior full-stack developers annually,” said Elizabeth Okesson, Tech Elevator’s vice president of enterprise. “With nearly 700 employers spanning over 30 verticals, Tech Elevator has consistently delivered the highest employment outcomes among the leading industry players.”
Okesson said that most of Tech Elevator’s students come to the program for reskilling, with the personal goal of launching a new career in technology. She said they choose Tech Elevator for three reasons:
Transparency. The educator reports audited student outcomes annually to the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (cirr.org). Tech Elevator maintains industry-leading performance outcomes with a 90 percent job placement rate and 95 percent graduation rate.
Industry-relevant curriculum. Applicable skills are taught by real-world practitioners with an average of 20 years of experience in the tech field.
Student experience. Learning code is challenging and exhilarating, which requires the right kind of support to be successful. Tech Elevator students frequently rate their teachers 4.9 out of 5.0.
Students can choose the 14-week, full-time intensive program at Tech Elevator or opt for the 30-week, part-time program that allows for more flexibility. “Both have the same rigorous curriculum and produce the same career-ready results,” said Okesson.
Another option for quickly gaining new tech skills—or building on existing talents—is available for veterans and their spouses through Salute Mission Critical. Since 2013, the company has trained more than 2,000 veterans for new careers as data center service technicians.
Demand for trained data technicians is skyrocketing, according to Salute Mission Critical founder Lee Kirby. “It’s not like anything I’ve ever seen. There are thousands of jobs unfilled right now,” he said.
Kirby targets veterans and their spouses with his innovative workforce development program to help fill the gap. Many of the skills acquired in the military convert well to the IT industry, he said. “Based on their competency, they can start their training at different stages.”
Those who start from an entry-level position spend four weeks in the program learning the basics. Then they are assigned to a mentor, where they spend several months to a year gaining on-the-job training. “That very quickly takes you from a fundamental level of understanding to a deeper level of understanding,” said Kirby.
Each level of his training program centers around a key competency. “We assess skills, so they don’t waste time repeating training for knowledge they already have,” said Kirby.
Training content is developed based on current industry standards in safety, quality, operations and customer satisfaction. Applicants need only a high school diploma to start the training. Within two to three years, they can earn annual salaries of $90,000 or higher.
Not all IT training is geared toward adults already in the workforce who want to upskill or reskill. High school students from nine member school districts can explore tech career options through the A.W. Beattie Career Center. Some of the most popular tech programs at Beattie are Computer Systems, Network Engineering, and Cyber Security and Robotics Engineering Technology.
“Every one of our programs leads to either an apprenticeship or continuing education path,” said Beattie Executive Director Eric Heasley.
Students enrolled in either of the technology programs at the career center spend two hours each school day learning the basics. “Our students are involved in hands-on theory and a lab practical that goes along with that,” said Heasley.
While many of the students choose continuing education after graduating from Beattie, some directly enter the workforce under apprenticeship programs through employers. “Beattie gives them a solid foundation to be well-prepared and successful,” said Heasley.
Students who choose some form of postsecondary education in either tech field can transfer some of the credits they earned at Beattie as part of articulation agreements with area colleges and trade schools. California University of Pennsylvania (CALU), Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), Pittsburgh Technical College (PTC), and Robert Morris University (RMU) are among the local programs that accept Beattie credits.
Robotics Engineering students can transfer up to 20 credits to CALU, 6 to 9 credits to CCAC, and 14 credits to PTC. Students in the Computer Systems, Network Engineering, and Cyber Security program can transfer 10 credits to Butler County Community College (BC3), 9 credits to CCAC, 6 credits to LaRoche University, 9 credits to PTC, and 12 credits to RMU.
Options for associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and master’s degrees exist in both technology-related fields, Heasley said. The programs are ideal for students who want to pursue careers in network technology, computer network engineering, mechatronics, network analysis, electrical or mechanical engineering, and robotics engineering. Students can start training at Beattie in grade 10 to complete the three-year program.