1. The field that I have chosen is IT Technology and Networking. I find this to be an interesting field because technology is both complex and simple at the same time. Technology is all around us, in every facet of our lives. It would be difficult to go one day without some form of technology involved. By choosing this field, upon completion of my degree, I can work in any other field I choose. Every field uses technology and a network of some sort so my options are limitless. Cisco calls this The Human Network. (Systems)
2. Two careers in the IT field that I am considering are Computer Support Specialist and Network and Computer Systems Administrator. These careers are similar as they both deal with computer networks. In both positions one would need to be able to keep systems up to date and functioning properly. Both fields would involve regular upkeep and monitoring as well as troubleshooting and repair. The main ways that these two positions defer is that Administrators are more likely to need higher education or specialized certifications. Administrators are more likely to be called in to set up brand new systems and Support Specialists are often called upon to do more ongoing tasks, such as repairs. In some cases Support Specialist actually work for Administrators.
3. The field of It Technology and Networking is a growing field. The integration of technology and networking into every other field means that this career is not self-dependent. One could work for a farmer one day and a business executive the next. IT positions in general are growing at a rate of 12-17%, faster than the average of all other occupations. Cloud based support is growing at a rate of 35-49%. There are also hundreds of IT professionals set to retire with in the next few years. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor)
4. IT Technology and Networking careers are plentiful in my area. There are 53 jobs posted in the Mansfield, Ohio general area as of October 2015. (jobs2careers.com/index1)There are a high number of jobs because the field is so diverse. I would never have to commute or move to gain employment. Many positions are actually work from home. I do not actually need access to a system to see it, repair it, or upgrade its software. Through the Internet I can access routers, switches, and computer interfaces remotely. The screen I have at my home office shows me exactly as if I were there in person. I can remotely turn computers on and access their systems, upgrade router software, and repair networks all from my own home. There would only be travel involved if a business needs physical items installed such as media, routers, or servers. I see this position as the best of both worlds, the comforts of home with the possibility of travel, and the ability to work in any field.
5. The level of education to secure employment in any IT field varies greatly. There are help desk Support Specialists who hold no degrees. These positions can be obtained simply by being self-taught or taking a few computer and networking classes. Just by finishing my first semester of college here at North Central State I will be able to obtain these basic Computer Support Specialist positions. There are Computer Systems Administrators who continue their education to the Master’s level, usually specializing in a specific area of the field, such as a certain type of software. The most employable, according to the Workforce Investment Act, is the Associates of Science in IT Networking. W.I.A. is a government act funded by Ohio Unemployment.
Due to more companies needing IT staff at the A.S. level (as opposed to a B.S. degree or no degree.) I was able to obtain a grant from them in hopes of completing said degree. My instructor, Jesse Payne, here at NCSC has also informed me that individuals who hold certifications, along with an associate’s degree, are even more sought after by employers. My plan is to obtain as many credits at NCSC in my two calendar years of W.I.A. funding that time allows. If I can keep 12-15 credit hours in each semester I should be able to graduate from NCSC fully funded. I plan on obtaining as many certifications as I am able to as well. My plans do not currently expand beyond the associates + certs level, but many employers will pay tuition for employees to continue education. I will have to continue my education regardless, just to keep up to date, as technology is ever changing and some certifications expire.
6. The pay range for It Technology and Networking positions varies between $16.20 and $46.88 an hour (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor). The pay varies so greatly due to the wide array of positions this field includes and the multiple levels of education. There are also other things to consider like travel, work at home, on call, and contract employed positions. There are some working in large corporations in a full time 40+ hour a week IT department and others working a few hours a week as an extra income or paid hobby. I’m currently uncertain of what I will look for in a position.
I do know that my family comes first, and I have aging grandparents who may require care in the upcoming years. My children will be grown, my expenses will be much lower. My husband has full time employment and is currently working on a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business so his income will be growing as our expenses are shrinking. My decisions will most likely not revolve around money. I do believe that the very nature of this field is great for someone who doesn’t really know what they want or where they will be in the years to come. It’s so incredibly flexible I’m sure to find a well-paid career that fits my lifestyle.
7. The specific duties and responsibilities for any IT field vary greatly. With the verse fields that need IT Specialists and Administrators the actual work can be quite different, even day to day. A contract employee may be contracted at multiple businesses and free-lance for the private sector. One may need to assist an elderly person with simply learning how to turn on and off their computer one day and implement an entire network for a local business the next. I believe this fits my personality perfectly, I get bored easily and like to do different things each day. This position has both work at home and travel opportunities, even within the same company. There is the potential to create your own working days and hours in many ways. Since I do not know what the future holds, this is perfect.
You can often work as little or often as you wish, by accepting different contracts and assignments within those contracts. You can place yourself on hold, if you’re sick, need to care for family, or simply want a break. You can pick up more work in times that you are restless or need more income. The downsides of such a working lifestyle would be that you are more than likely responsible for your own retirement & insurance. This is not always the case, some companies exist that contract with other businesses so that you do not have to. You then work for them as a regular employee with benefits & you can still enjoy the flexibility, although assumingly there would be stipulations such as a certain amount of on call hours in any given month. With my husband employed in a more traditional workplace, I would not be concerned with benefits as much as others.
8. This project has made me more aware of all the opportunities of my chosen field of IT Technology and Networking. I already knew that it was a growing field, I did not know that cloud technology was the highest growing area. This is great to know, since that means I am taking the right classes (networking as opposed to software). I was aware, due to my required W.I.A. research, that there were plenty of jobs and that the pay was well worth the time required for the degree.
In doing this report it has allowed me to reflect on myself, my choices, and my future. I often have a hard time knowing exactly what to do with my life. In writing this paper, selecting word choices to attempt to explain things, it has actually helped me to understand more of why I chose this field. The variety and flexibility of the field is what drew me to it during my W.I.A. research. I had to prove that this degree would be in demand and profitable. I now know that it was also the right fit for me due to my lifestyle and personality. This project has helped me to feel more at peace about my decisions.