Pathways: Creating IT Futures Foundation (2013)


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Creating IT Futures Foundation seeks to encourage women and young people of color to take a look at information technology as a career. They interview and document stories of people who are succeeding in the IT industry in a publication called 'Pathways'

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Pathways: Creating IT Futures Foundation (2013)

  1. 1. Do you really know what a technology career is like? Find out. Pathways Will Rivera-Fantauzzi overcame a medical mishap in the military. Now he’s a rising star in the field of healthcare technology. Why information technology (IT) could be your next career path See details inside Edition 1 / Issue 1 Exploring On-ramps to Tech Careers INside: The Human Element How Being a People-Person Can Help in Your Tech Career Tech Success Stories of People Just Like You Sittra Battle started aiming for the stars early. Julius Clark is making criminal hackers miserable.
  2. 2. 2 Fact: Practically every business and organization in the world needs IT services. Career Snapshots: A career in IT has changed their lives. It can change yours, too. Will (p. 4) Eloise (p. 6) Julius (p. 9) James (p.11) Sittra (p.12) Brenda (p.15) IT Job Spotlights: Mobile App Developer Desktop Support Technician IT Security Professional Network Administrator IT Healthcare Technician P.5 P.7 P.8 P.10 P.13 Q:“I was never very good at math and science in school. Can I succeed in a tech career?”
  3. 3. It turns out that most of the math and science taught in high school is not what IT (“eye-tea”) workers use in their jobs. IT stands for Information Technology. Most people think about information technology as computers, smartphones, the Internet, networks, hard-drives and servers. But IT is really about people. Getting people the information they need, when they need it. Figuring out ways to make their work (and their play) flow with the technology. Training in IT can prepare you to work in healthcare, sports, retail, fashion, hospitality, banking — or any other industry you can think of. Are you a people person? Are you a problem solver? Then consider becoming an IT professional, one of the fastest growing careers on the planet. High salaries. Career advancement. New challenges every day. Fact: At the beginning of 2012, there were nearly 300,000 information technology (IT) jobs unfilled. ( Learn more. Keep reading — and find your path in IT. 3 A: You can! More than ever, technology is about people.
  4. 4. Growing up, Will always prided himself at being physically tough. It turned out he needed a different kind of grit for his future challenges. Will’s family moved to the U.S. from Puerto Rico when he was three. He hoped to follow in the footsteps of his father, a U.S. military veteran, so after high school, he joined the Navy. But Will severely injured his toe in boot camp. During surgery, a medical mistake damaged his heart, leading to a quick medical discharge and the end of his dream. Veteran benefits allowed him to complete a bachelor’s degree in information technology, but employers weren’t biting. With the help of the Creating IT Futures Foundation, Will was able to train for several important IT certifications, helping him to land a temporary IT support job with the U.S. Department of the Interior. That three-month appointment led to more offers. In August, 2011, Will began a position as a full-time IT specialist at the Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital in Battle Creek, MI, earning a salary of more than $50,000. Said Will: “It’s good to know you can. It’s rewarding to reach the top.” Beating All the Odds His military career cut short by a medical error, Will Rivera-Fantauzzi had to come up with a new direction, fast. Watch Will’s Story: 4
  5. 5. Healthcare IT Technician Information Technology is vital to the healthcare industry. Nine out of ten doctors, dentists, and administrators view technology as an important component of their practice (CompTIA Report, 2012). Though IT workers do not have medical training, they are a crucial part of patient care. Whether supporting family practices or major hospitals with state-of-the-art surgical departments, healthcare IT technicians are in the forefront of modernizing the industry. Fact: Venture capitalistsinvested more than$633 million in newhealthcare softwareand IT services in 2011. (Dow Jones VentureSource) “If you are naturally drawn to nursing, teaching, or other careers that focus on people, consider information technology. Because of the increasing importance of technology in healthcare and education, IT really is the newest ‘helping’ profession.” — Charles Eaton, Creating IT Futures Foundation CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician Certification: Learn more. Keep reading — and find your path in IT. 5
  6. 6. Eloise knows what it takes to be successful in information technology. In her late 20s, she started working in the mail room at the Philadelphia Gas Works. Then she began to climb the ranks, working as a database administrator, system administrator, the manager of systems services, and the director of tech strategy and support. Now, after 27 years, Eloise leads their entire IT function. Her department supports the technology that powers the huge utility, which means mak- ing sure all 1,700 employees have the technology they need to keep things running smoothly. Born in Philadelphia, Eloise was attending Temple University when she began working nights in the Gas Works. When she found out she was pregnant, something had to give, so she dropped out of college. “The job was so demanding, I just couldn’t keep up my classes.” As it turned out, her on-the-job learning and certifications earned her one job promotion after another. It was only later in her career when she decided to go into management that she realized she needed to finish her bachelor’s degree. (As of this year she’s started work on an MBA.) Salaries are lower at the gas works than at some private utilities, but there are upsides, too. “People here have a sense of doing something for the community. They have a sense of public service.” The health plan is also excellent, Eloise said. And, after 30 years, a person can retire with a pension—even if she is younger than 60. Achieving Greatness As chief information officer of the largest city-run utility in the country, Eloise Young holds one of the highest positions a person can achieve in IT. “I was working in the mail room. I was about to go back to school when I found out I was pregnant.” 6
  7. 7. Network Administrator Today’s world is built on a digital framework. Those with the technical skills to under- stand it and the people skills to make a network easy to use are the most in-demand people in their workplace. Just a few of the ways your talents might be put to work: • In order to save energy costs in your company’s headquarters, you’re in charge of installing and maintaining state-of-the-art sensors that detect human beings such that lights, AC units, and even espresso machines automatically power down when they aren’t needed. • Working for a professional sports team, you manage a complex database that tracks players’ training routines, the team’s statistics, and travel itineraries. You’ve also implemented a system so your team’s coaches can use tablet computers on the sidelines to access their playbooks and record observations on the other team. • At a cable fashion network, your job is to make sure video footage is piped from the recording studio to post-production suites, and then finally to satellites that send the perfected video to viewers worldwide. Fact: By 2016, there will be five billion users of smartphones and tablets and 50 times the amount of wireless network traffic as today.(Cisco) CompTIA Network+ Certification: 7 Learn more. Keep reading — and find your path in IT.
  8. 8. Threats to internet and computer security disrupt lives and cost billions of dollars per year. IT security professionals have the same cutting-edge skills as hackers, but use their knowledge to help people, protecting businesses, governments, and individuals. Fact: Some predict that in the next five years most passwords will be replaced by biometric logins such as retina or fingerprint scans. IT Security Professional At the front line against attacks, with jobs as diverse as: • Computer Crime Investigation. You trace attacks by hackers and others who have gotten past security. • Security Systems Testers. By hacking for the good guys, you use your skills to find the weak links and back doors in security systems. • Security Design and Implementation. You create and maintain systems that protect software, computers, and mobile devices from spyware, hacking, viruses, and other security breaches. See the video at: CompTIA Security+ Certification: 8
  9. 9. Foiling The Hackers Julius Clark uses his special knowledge to protect bank assets — while keeping his career moving forward. Julius grew up in Boston and attended Madison Park High School, where one day a teacher casually invited him to sign up for a computer programming course. Julius went along. “I was intrigued.” Turns out, programming was a fun challenge for Julius. “There was this whole different level of thinking. You set your variables, and you didn’t have to play with the numbers anymore.” Julius went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and worked a number of different technology-related jobs. After exploring several different avenues, Julius gravitated toward network security. “I said to myself, ‘I should go to grad school and study information security and get into the field.’ ” Before too long, he knew he had found his niche. Today, Julius is part of the Wholesale Technology Risk Management Team at Wells Fargo Bank. He has earned IT security certifications and a master’s degree in IT security management. He feels valued for both his breadth and depth of experience, loves his work and has moved up in rank and pay. Says Julius: “I’m in the hot seat. I make decisions every day on accepting risk or denying projects from being implemented because there is excessive risk.” Julius feels valued for both his breadth and depth of experience, loves his work and has moved up in rank and pay. 9 Learn more. Keep reading — and find your path in IT.
  10. 10. Fact: A candidate’scustomer-serviceskills are rated by many tech employers as beingjust as important astechnical ability. CompTIA A+ Certification: 10
  11. 11. Coming to the Rescue James Depew used to jump out of airplanes. Now he jumps in when technology fails. James left the military in 2003 after 20 years as a soldier, jump master, and drill sergeant. He was hopeful that a second career in computers would work out well for him. Unfortunately, employers wanted to see more than a bachelor’s degree. Just three months after achieving his CompTIA A+ certification, James landed his first job in information technology. He went on to earn his CompTIA Network+, Security+ and Server+ certifications as well as becoming a Microsoft Certified Information Technology Professional (MCITP). Says James: “My success in obtaining those certificates will lead to something so much bigger than I would have ever imagined.” Today, James works for the federal government as a lead IT Specialist of customer management support professionals at Fort Bragg Army Base in North Carolina. “My customer management support team keeps thousands of computers, multiple networks and user accounts running smoothly on post. Those workers support our troops and civilian work force minute-to-minute. If their systems go down, it indirectly makes life more difficult for them and the whole chain of support. So I’ve definitely got a mission that keeps me motivated.” 11 Learn more. Keep reading — and find your path in IT.
  12. 12. As a girl growing up in the shadow of rockets in Huntsville, Alabama, Sittra Battle still never imagined she would someday work for NASA. But she knew she’d succeed at something. “Pointing to her brain, my mother would say, ‘No one can take what you have up here,’ ” recalls Sittra, now 46. “I was the student in class who liked word problems, and taking things apart and putting them back together. I like challenges.” Today, as a data center manager at NASA, Sittra makes sure that the information that scientists and engineers use is stable and secure. After high school, Sittra entered college where she majored in electrical and computer engineering. Her first job was working as an electrical engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers. With the nation’s space mission for 21 years now, Sittra has had more than her share of exciting missions. Just as important to her, she said, has been her family and her church. “I am glad that I can serve my country as a civil servant, while being aligned with my personal career goals. And, yes, whenever I would see a shuttle mission go up in space and later return to earth safely, it made me smile with a sense of pride.” Launching Success Sittra Battle aimed for the stars early. No wonder she’s working for NASA. 12
  13. 13. Mobile App Developer Know how to use your smart phone to its fullest? As someone who is quick to adopt technology, you might have what it takes to design it. People carry technology wherever they go, and the trick is to think of ways to make it even more accessible. Ever thought how you could make an app easier to use? Usability testing is key to the success of software design, and it takes someone who understands people to make a program work smoothly. If you like to solve problems, have a willingness to experiment, and enjoy collaborating with others in order to complete a project, mobile app development may be your kind of career. These Folks Get IT CompTIA IT Pros around the country were recently invited to share their reasons for pursuing an IT career. Meet a few of these pros and learn about their own career pathways. Valerie Lasheantea Narcisse 13 Learn more. Keep reading — and find your path in IT.
  14. 14. A degree suggests book and classroom knowledge, but a certification proves hands-on mastery of a very specific set of skills and knowledge. Dozens of IT certifications are available, with CompTIA, Cisco, and Microsoft being among the most popular. Students may self-teach online or with printed training materials, may enroll in a course at school or through a private training company, or find a nonprofit program that helps individuals in-need. Test centers abound where the certification exams are administered, usually for a fee. Do your homework and see if a certification is feasible for you. “Certs CAn’t Hurt!” The Value of a Certification Computer Support Specialist Network and Computer Systems Administrator Database Administrator Network Systems or Data Communication Analyst Computer Systems Analyst Software Engineer Computer or Information Systems Manager $67,710 $71,550 $73,250 $77,080 $92,430 $112,210 $44,300 INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY JOBS – MEDIAN SALARIES The CompTIA A+ Certification is the centerpiece of the IT-Ready Apprentice Program and many IT training programs offered by other organizations. Find out more about certifications at or go straight to the A+ page (look for the “Get Started Now!” box): Which certification is the best oneto start with? According to, the following certifications were thetop 10 most notable among tech consultants looking for work:1. CompTIA A+ 2. PMP (Project Management Professional)3. CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)4. CompTIA Security+ 5. MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer)6. CompTIA Network+ 7. MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) 8. CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)9. ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library)10. MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional) Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-2011 Okay, you’re ready! 14
  15. 15. company. We’ve put down roots in Cincinnati and Minneapolis/St. Paul hoping that success in those locations will allow expansion into other cities. Mainly we want to provide a model for a training program that other organizations can adopt. When a person develops a career with the promise of upward mobility, everything improves, from family life and health, to financial well-being and future outlook. That’s why we say, “A Career in IT Changes Everything.” With so many open jobs in the IT industry (over 400,000 by some estimates) and so many people looking for a family-sustaining career, it’s crucial that organizations do all they can to close the skills-gap. The Creating IT Futures Foundation is committed to helping individuals in-need and populations under-represented in IT to prepare for, secure, and be successful in IT careers. Since being established in 1998 as the philanthropic arm of CompTIA, the IT Industry Association, the Creating IT Futures Foundation has been working hard to invent better onramps to IT careers. We’ve done it in a number of ways: • By partnering with online training companies and providing free testing vouchers, the Foundation helped hundreds of military veterans such as Will Rivera-Fantauzzi (cover and page 4) and James Depew (page 11) update their skills and certifications to land their first jobs in IT. • By supporting educational and nonprofit workforce development organizations such as the Chicago Tech Academy (a high school geared toward leadership and technology) and Year Up (serving urban youth ages 18-24), we’re making sure that more individuals have a chance to reach their high potential. • New in 2012, the Foundation has launched the IT-Ready Apprentice Program, an eight-week training program that qualifies graduates for a six-month paid apprenticeship with a local To take the first step toward an IT career, just turn the page. Our Motto: “A Career in IT Changes Everything” From GED to corporate climber: Brenda Arroyo completed the Year Up ( tech-training program and an internship to help her land a $50,000-a-year full-time desktop support job at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. 15
  16. 16. Gain the professional skills you need and prove your value to a company through IT training and certification. A career in IT offers competitive pay compared to other careers, with starting salaries up to $50,000 a year or more. (See full chart on p. 14.) Inside, read the stories of those who have succeeded in IT. Then take the first step on your own IT Pathway. Take the first step. Go to: Pathways is a publication of the Creating IT Futures Foundation and the IT-Ready Apprentice Program. A PDF version of Pathways is available at our website: Please contact us to request additional copies as available: (630) 678-8511, The Creating IT Futures Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization based in Downers Grove, Illinois. © 2012 Creating IT Futures Foundation, Inc. (“CITFF”). All rights reserved. Creating IT Futures and IT-Ready are trademarks of CITFF in the U.S. and internationally. Other brands and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks or service marks of CITFF, CompTIA Properties, LLC or of their respective owners. Reproduction or dissemination prohibited without written consent of CITFF or CompTIA. Fact: Ninety-threepercent of companiessay there is a gap ininformation technology (IT)skills among theiremployees.(CompTIA, “State of the IT Skills Gap,” Feb. 2012) A Career in IT Changes Everything Fact: What is a problem for employers is an opportunity for you. Established in 1998 as the philanthropic arm of , the IT Industry Association.