Preparing Students for a Bright Future in IT with CTE

June 1, 2016

Contributor: 
Amanda Cunningham
Wednesday, June 1, 2016 - 8:45am

In this blog series, we will delve into four important Career Clusters® that are in need of more educated and well-trained students to fill the higher-skill, higher-wage jobs open to them. These Career Clusters are health science, information technology, business management and administration, and manufacturing. In our first post, we explored the need to prepare students for careers the health science field. In this post, we will focus on Information Technology (IT).

IT Industry Growth                                                                                                            

Despite the increase in outsourcing to cheaper overseas markets, government figures point toward robust job growth for many technology occupations through 2020.

According to the latest figures from the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many IT occupations will be at the leading edge of job growth for at least the next decade, in both the demand for specific occupations and in sheer job volume.

The BLS study, which comes in the form of its Occupational Outlook Handbook, indicates that IT jobs are projected to grow more than twice as fast as the average for all occupations in the U.S.

The BLS expects that, by 2020, employment in all computer-related occupations will increase by at least 22 percent, and that demand for:

  • Database administrators will increase by 31 percent
  • Computer systems analysts will grow by 22 percent
  • Software development jobs will increase by 30 percent

Additionally, employers are in search of job candidates who possess more than just the technical skills needed to succeed. The ideal IT candidate needs to be well versed in the technical aspects of the job and be able to demonstrate skills not typically found in previous IT employees. These more non-traditional IT skills are listed in the chart below.

Providing IT Training to Students

CTE programs and initiatives have been approved in 43 states since 2013; this is only expected to grow with the passing of the 2015 Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA calls for CTE to be included in the definition of a “well-rounded education,” taking its place alongside traditional academic subjects like math, science, and English.

Additionally, 90 percent of students who participate in CTE programs graduate from high school, which outpaces the overall national graduation rate of 81 percent. Beyond this increase in graduation rates, CTE can provide students access to strong academic and career and technical courses to ready themselves for promising careers in IT. Another encouraging success of CTE programs is that more than 75 percent of CTE students seek postsecondary education shortly after high school.

CTE programs that offer options from exploration to certification allow students to pursue their interests in IT and prepare for college and careers. CTE programs that teach both technical skills needed to perform the job and nontraditional, soft-skills—like teamwork and communication— give students the greatest chance to succeed post-graduation.

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