- Faith & Family
New industry impacts all facets of life
Do you have what it takes to embark upon a lucrative industry that has accounted for almost half of the U.S. economic growth over the last several decades? Perhaps not yet but then a lot of people here in South Florida had never thought of exploring the information technology [IT] industry before reading up on some of today’s hottest new careers.
A recent article published by Berkley University says that before the 1990s, IT interests were primarily for computer specialists. However, things have changed since the emergence of the Internet. The IT profession became more important not only because one could manipulate information but also making it easier to communicate.
“There is a digital divide in our communities in which you have socio-economic groups who don’t have access to technology,” said Leigh Hardaway, an information technology professor at Carlos Albizu University located in south Miami-Dade County. “Therefore, it is time for more African Americans to close the gap of the digital divide in our communities and make an investment to become a part of the IT profession family.” Hardaway says that an IT entry level specialist can expect to make between $28,000 and $42,000 per year, while an IT professional will make $46,000 to $109,000 per year. An IT expert can bring home somewhere between $120,000 and $250,000 per year.
According to Salary.com, there are 3.3 million IT professionals in the U.S. and 15 million worldwide.
Getting from point A to point B
Yul Allen, a Florida Memorial University alumni, decided to take the path of information technology when he developed STEM Genius, an after-school program that motivates and develops youth K-12 for careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Allen says there are diverse avenues individuals can take to be a part of this lucrative industry. Trade schools and technical schools offer certifications such as Cisco Certification, Microsoft Certification, Network Certification, A+ Certification and Web Design Certification. These certifications can be acquired regardless of one’s educational or criminal background. After passing a certification examination within six to nine months a person is eligible to work in the IT industry. Others can pursue a traditional four-year degree in information technology that gives an in-depth understanding of the diverse roads that exist within the IT profession. However, it should be noted that IT college graduates more often receive a higher pay level than those who only obtain certifications.
Michael Herring, 31, an IT professional at the University of Miami, believes that information technology is a competitive field with a relatively small number of Blacks. But he feels that as the business market experiences growth, the demand for IT professionals will also increase.
“It is an industry made for individuals who are interested in expanding their knowledge to solve real-world problems with technology,” Herring said. “The reason why I enjoy being an IT professional is because information technology and computer science are in everything.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job prospects in information technology should be exceptional, with 17 percent growth from 2008 to 2018.
By Lorenzo G. Johnson, Jr.