Oct 6, 2016 | Harrison College
5 Things You Didn't Know About the Harrison College School of Information Technology
You’re finally ready to launch the information technology career you’ve been dreaming about and you’re confident you’re making the right call. After all, the technology field is booming. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that computer and information technology occupations are not only growing at a faster rate than the average occupation, they are expected to add more than 4 million more jobs to the economy by 2024.
And that’s only half of the story. The BLS reports that professionals in this industry earned a median annual salary of $81,430 in 2015.* That’s more than twice the average salary for all occupations, which is $36,200. The optimistic growth predictions combined with this exciting earning potential make information technology an ideal industry for potential careers.
Even though you know where you want to go, you still need to decide how you’re going to get there. Many schools offer IT degrees, but some programs will suit you better than others. It’s important to do your research upfront so you can choose the school that best supports your unique goals and needs.
If you’re considering the Harrison College School of Information Technology, you came to the right place. We connected with faculty members to outline some important features that make the program unique.
1. All of the adjunct faculty are currently working in the field
“The best thing about our school of information technology is our adjunct faculty,” says Sean Milliner, Harrison College IT program chair. He explains that every adjunct faculty member is an IT professional currently working in the field. So when they tell a student “This is how it is in the workplace,” they know exactly what they’re talking about!
In an industry that moves as quickly as information technology, learning from professionals who are out on the front lines doing the work is a definite advantage. Sometimes the best lessons are the ones that your instructor just encountered earlier that day - lessons you’ll need to learn to succeed in today’s workforce!
2. You can start small and work your way up
The Harrison College School of Information Technology was designed to allow students to build upon their education one step at a time, according to Joe Meadors, Senior Vice President of Information Services for Harrison College. This means you don’t have to commit to four years of education from the get-go.
If you’re looking at getting a quick start in the growing IT industry, Harrison College offers a 9-month diploma program that will help you get your foot in the door. Meadors says that’s where many Harrison College IT students start their educational journey.
“After a while, many of them realize they are basically already halfway to an associate degree,” Meadors says. “So they come back to ‘finish’ their associate degree and improve their career opportunities.” The diploma program leads seamlessly into the associate degree program.
For the ambitious, all of those credits can ladder up to a bachelor’s degree as well. This means you can advance your education while you’re already working in the field — and no credits go wasted.
“Everything you do in the 9-month program matters for the associate and the bachelor’s,” Meador’s explains. “It’s up to you to decide how far you want to go.”
3. The curriculum is constantly updated to meet employer needs
No matter how strong a technology curriculum is, it will soon become worthless if it isn’t kept up to date. The Harrison College School of Information Technology has built a curriculum that supports the constant evolution of IT.
Milliner explains that the curriculum is meant to meet the current needs of IT employers, which means it has evolved over time. “It was intentionally designed with flexibility, allowing us to add courses when employers have a demonstrated need without having to redesign the entire program,” he adds.
As an example, Milliner points out a new workshop on 3D printing which may eventually be incorporated into the official School of IT curriculum. “This class came about from employers’ suggestions.”
4. You can get credit for existing certifications
Have you already completed a few IT certifications? Maybe you just got certified in CompTIA A+ or CCENT. If your certification was obtained in the last two years, the Harrison College School of Information Technology will award you credits for the certification to allow you to earn your degree faster.
“If students come to us with a CompTIA A+ certification,” Meadors offers as an example, “we would award them the two quarters of credit our curriculum spends covering the CompTIA A+ course material. They would be two quarters ahead.”
5. The curriculum prepares you for certification
Meadors worked as an IT hiring manager for 30 years before joining Harrison College. In the industry, he says he noticed students right out of college were hired (or not) according to two main criteria: their education level and their certifications.
“Some hiring managers swear by certifications and don’t care if you have a degree. Some demand a degree with certifications as a nice bonus,” Meadors says. “So we thought, why not both? The student with industry-relevant certifications and a degree has the best job opportunity.”
IT certifications are offered globally by their respective vendors. For example, to be certified in Cisco CCNA Cloud, you’re only option is to take the Cisco CCNA Cloud test offered by Cisco. Each of these certifications has corresponding course materials, but schools only have access if they are partnered.
“Many schools will have academic partnerships with one certification provider, like Cisco or Microsoft,” Meadors says. “Few have partnerships with five providers like we do.”
Meadors says academic partnerships allow Harrison College to not only teach toward the certifications, but to use the official curriculum of each provider while doing so. “Every update is automatic,” he says. “So you know you are getting the information you need for the test.”
Depending on the courses you take in the Harrison College School of Information Technology, you will be taught the course material for many of the in-demand industry certifications. It’s up to you to then take the exam to be certified in each area. “Obviously we strongly encourage students to take that last step and get certified, but those tests can only be taken under each provider,” Meadors adds.
Now you have a sneak peek at the Harrison College School of Information Technology. But if you are considering an investment as significant as going back to school, you probably have more questions.
If you’re at all curious about what this program could offer you, you owe it to yourself to learn more. Click here to connect with Harrison College and start planning your future in the IT field.
*Earnings information represents national, averaged salary data for professionals of all education and experience levels. This data does not represent starting salaries and conditions will vary based on location.< Back