While universities are turning out highly educated graduates, the kind of education they’re providing doesn’t always translate to employment, it’s a common complaint among employers that they can’t find the right people and roles go unfilled.
That’s not a knock on university, what they do is essential, but a trade based education used to be commonplace, in the past young people started in the workplace at the age of 14, becoming accomplished professionals by their early twenties.
The IT industry is one of the healthiest and entry into it has the benefit of being skills based, the age of entry isn’t so important and clear pathways to in-demand jobs are accessible.
IT trade association the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), has created an entry process to several well paid, high demand jobs, its site My IT path delivers an interactive, personalised experience for anyone interested in learning about careers in the IT field, see it here.
CompTIA is a non-profit representing companies involved in the $5.2 trillion global IT ecosystem as well as the approximately 75 million professionals who design, deploy, manage and secure the technology.
The top in-demand positions companies are looking to fill include software and app developers, IT user support specialists, systems engineers, architects and analysts, IT project managers and cybersecurity specialists.
A 2019 whitepaper titled “Impact of Certifications and Training on Career Milestones” published by research concern IDC found that CompTIA-certified IT Professionals outperform non-certified IT professionals in network administration and security-related activities. They’re also 50 per cent more likely to be promoted within one year of hire.
“One of our missions is to help IT professionals move forward in their careers and attract new people to the tech workforce. From students to seasoned techs, CompTIA helps IT professionals stay ahead of the curve with training and certifications that map directly to job skills. The creation of the My IT Path career roadmap resource aligns with our commitment to building a robust workforce of IT pros,” says Steven Ostrowski, director, corporate communications, CompTIA.
One advantage is that, depending on your aptitude, attainment of qualifications which will get someone into a job can take just a few months.
“The time frame varies based on an individual’s aptitude for technology and past experience. For some it happens in a matter of a few months. Others may take a bit longer. But generally, three to six months of study will prepare people to take the exam to become CompTIA A+ certified, the industry standard for establishing a career in IT,” Ostrowski says.
The path is the same for younger people like a school leaver or a student that has decided to leave in Year 11.
“The path is quite similar for most people entering the tech workforce for the first time. The large majority of workers get their start on the IT help desk or in technical support. That lets them get hands-on experience with many different aspects of technology, whether it’s installation and set-up, break/fix repairs, connectivity issues or the fundamentals of cybersecurity.
“A help desk assignment also provides the benefit to the worker of having the chance to sample many different technical job roles. After a year or two most individuals will branch off from the help desk into a more specialised area, such as cybersecurity, software development or data analytics.”
The courses are delivered in a number of ways, some still opt for old fashioned textbooks or classroom instruction while e-learning and online options are gaining in popularity. The choice is really one of personal preference. CompTIA, offers a suite of interactive, self-paced tools that lets people learn at their own pace, building confidence and mastery of the course material along the way.
“Unlike other industries, entry-level IT jobs do not require a university degree. Many companies have openly stated that skills and abilities are what really matter. IT certifications such as those offered by CompTIA are a proven and economical way to validate your skills at a fraction of the cost of university,” he says.
Costs vary depending on the certification and the mode of study. In the case of CompTIA training and certifications, students can bundle training materials and an exam voucher for less than $500 USD. Advanced credentials are more expensive, in the range of $600 to $900 USD.