The Information Technology program prepares students for a wide range of employment opportunities in the computer networking and information technology fields. Digital communications, local and wide area networks, systems, small computer maintenance, computer security, virtualizatoin and operating systems administration are all addressed as integral parts of the program.
Skills mastered after completion of the program include: computer operating systems including Windows client, Windows Server and Linux; analysis of systems hardware and software; small computer system maintenance including virus detection and eradication; virtualization packages including Hyper-V and vSphere; network design, implementation, and troubleshooting; network security; and wireless LANs.
Courses cover the design, installation, maintenance, and operation of Windows Client, Windows Server and Linux operating systems. Fundamentals of networking and stand-alone small computer systems are covered in detail. Networking topics include routers, switches, multi-layer switches, wireless devices, and network security. LAN and WAN systems design, construction, and implementation are required. Security course include security awareness, Security+, and penetration testing.
As the Internet plays an ever-increasing role in banking, e-commerce, medicine, and data communications, security of data has become of paramount concern. To meet this emerging need, the program requires a study of basic and advanced security in both the operating systems and networking arenas. Preparation for industry standardized certifications in CompTIA, Network+, A+, and Security+; Microsoft Windows Client and Server; and Cisco Certified Network Associate are a major focus of the A.A.S degree program.
Information technology will remain one of the fastest growing occupations for the foreseeable future. Based upon completion of appropriate certifications, graduates will find a job market unable to keep up with the growing demand for IT services, equaling many well-paying job opportunities. The employment outlook in Idaho is excellent. Relocation to other geographical areas offers additional opportunities.
The work setting is as varied as the job opportunities. Types of work include plan, design, install, maintain, and administer local and wide area networks in business and industrial settings; implement systems security at all levels of business and industrial installations; and/or plan hardware/software desktop support. Work is typically housed indoors but the evolution toward wireless communications is impacting the character of the work setting. This career tends to involve a high level of stress due to the dynamic nature of the skills required to remain proficient, the high cost per hour of malfunctioning systems, and the critical nature of secure and dependable data communications to the success or failure of most enterprises.
To enhance the learner’s chances to find success in this discipline, the ability to apply logical models to real-world problem solving is crucial. Proficiency in problem solving and decision making in a team environment is required. All successful program graduates must gain the ability to establish a pattern of self-directed life-long learning. Excellent interpersonal communication and writing skills must be exhibited on a daily basis. The ability to function in stressful, time-constrained, detail oriented situations is required. Successful students will exhibit creativity and imagination in the performance of their tasks.
Wages vary with skill level, type of employment, and geographic location. Starting salaries in Idaho range from $40,000-$60,000. Nationally, the median salary ranges from $80,000 to $100,000. Starting salaries as high as $190,000 per year have reported in metropolitan areas.