fields of study

#3: 3 blossoming fields of study with massive potential

For institutions eager to help their students not only leap into the job market, but enter a future-proof career, these fields of study are wise investments.

2.IT Management/Network Administration

IT management is the discipline whereby all of the information technology resources of a firm or institution are managed in accordance with its needs and priorities. Network administration—sometimes called systems administration—means keeping an organization’s computer network up-to-date and running smoothly. Any company or institution that uses multiple computers or software platforms needs a network admin to coordinate the different systems.

According to Glassdoor, the current average base salary for an IT manager is $115, 725, with over 1,400 job openings. And according to CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists, the current gap between monthly job postings and hires is over 21, 758. Job growth between 2010 and 2015 increased by 42, 942 openings, and median hourly earnings is $61.37.

CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists note that for network admin, the current gap between monthly job postings and hires is over 51,000. Job growth between 2010 and 2015 was 36,640 openings, and the median hourly earnings are $36.44.

However, according to CompTIA’s Managing the Multigenerational Workforce study—based on over 1,000 teens and young adults aged 13-24—Gen Z, which is, by far, the generation that relies most heavily on technology, has almost no interest in choosing IT as a career.

According to the Gen Z students surveyed, 21 percent of 13-17 year-olds say they are not interested in an IT career, a number that jumps to 26 percent at 18-24 years-old. And while 19 percent of 18-24 year-olds are interested in an IT career, the report stresses that this is not a high enough percentage.

“This is largely a result of the information students receive about their careers,” emphasizes the report. “Among 18-24 year-olds who said they were not interested in an IT career, the primary reason for the lack of interest was not having enough information about the field.”

Another potential roadblock to more filling more IT positions could be recent data that exposes Millennials shocking lack of technology-based problem-solving skills. According to the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)—which released the first-ever global data on how the U.S. population aged 16 to 65 compared to other countries in terms of skills in literacy and reading, numeracy, and problem-solving in technology-rich environments (PS-TRE)–U.S. Millennials ranked last, along with the Slovak Republic, Ireland, and Poland in PS-TRE, and the youngest segment of the U.S. millennial cohort (16- to 24-year-olds), who could be in the labor force for the next 50 years, ranked among the bottom countries in PS-TRE.

Already, some institutions are making efforts to boost student interest and skills in IT. For example, Ohio State University (OSU) began an innovative internship arrangement with Hyland Software where students have a chance to intern at the company then apply the skills learned there in jobs within the university’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO). At Georgia Southern University, the campus bookstore partnered with a mobile repair company to teach students about the technology behind their devices, as well as how to perform simple repair services. Other examples of data science IT-based curricula in higher ed can be found here and here.

(Next page: Fields of study in cybersecurity)

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