The year 2020 has proven to us all that it can be quite difficult to anticipate how a year, let alone a month, will look for any industry. For the education industry specifically, students of all levels have been drastically affected by COVID-19, resulting in learning opportunities transitioning to mostly online. In fact, 97 percent of students who were already enrolled in college before March 1 of this year have switched to online instruction.

Higher-ed IT leaders and educators recognize the tools needed to succeed in a virtual environment and how the need for virtual instruction will continue to grow.

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We’re encountering a world that is thriving primarily by online services – email, messaging, Zoom meetings, and news consumption. Our success as a society is very much affected by an online environment that has minimal glitches and provides security. As we look toward 2021, I’m sharing a few of my higher-ed IT predictions.

IT education is needed to supplement a spike in IT jobs

What I’ve witnessed in the higher-ed community, especially since the onset of the pandemic, is a spike in higher-ed IT needs. With the nearly 20 percent surge in demand for cybersecurity jobs, students are seeing the potential of job security for those skilled in information technology. Professionals in nearly every industry are finding that many positions can be done remotely – but that can also open the door for unintended data breaching.

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About the Author:

Alison Bell has more than 20 years of higher education leadership experience and is the Regional Vice President of Western Governors University, overseeing Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Kentucky. WGU is a nonprofit, online university offering 60+ degrees in the four colleges of business, teaching, I.T. and health/nursing.