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Information Systems and Technology


There are plenty of opportunities for job candidates who make it their business to stay even with or ahead of the technology curve.


What’s new in your job? Chances are that the latest advances in your industry—whatever it is—have something to do with technology. Just as innovations in technology impact the way jobs are done, the way employees should prepare for those jobs has changed. 

There are plenty of opportunities for job candidates who make it their business to stay even with or ahead of the technology curve. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024. That’s faster than the average for all occupations. Here’s a look at the trends behind these jobs and how to prepare for them. 

A little thing called big data

You’d be hard-pressed to find a corner of the world that hasn’t become reliant upon technology—and the data these tools amass. Those smartphones, tablets, laptops and wearable devices we’ve become so dependent upon spend their lives collecting byte-sized pieces of information. According to tech giant IBM, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are collected each day, with 90 percent of the world’s data coming into existence over the course of the last few years alone. 

This jaw-dropping statistic raises the question, just what do we do with all this information? 

Forward-thinking organizations are strategizing how to use it. A forecast by market research company International Data Corporation (IDC) shows that the market for big data technology and services will grow at a 26.4 percent compound annual growth rate to 41.5 dollars billion by the end of 2018. That’s six times faster than the overall information technology market. 

According to Kirsten E. Hoyt, Ed.D., academic dean for the University of Phoenix® College of Information Systems and Technology, “Data will be one of the biggest pushes in the next three to five years.” 

Where there’s growth, there are opportunities for individuals and organizations willing and able to create solutions to meet the demand. The anticipated boom in data-related jobs will include data operations managers, database administrators, data analysts, software engineers, computer and information research scientists and chief data officers. 

Under lock and key

In the modern age, there’s a trail of zeros and ones that leads back to just about every individual on the planet. Whenever we click “purchase” on a retail website, check our bank balance on a smartphone or pre-register online for a doctor’s appointment, we leave behind identifying information about ourselves. 

New innovations have created a standard of click-of-the-mouse convenience that consumers are growing to expect from businesses great and small. The problem is that modern-day crooks also are tech-savvy, and the price of their crimes is steep. According to the 2014 McAfee Report on the Global Cost of Cybercrime, cybercrime costs the global economy more than $445 billion each year. 

Dawn M. Roller, MBA, vice president of the University of Phoenix College of Information Systems & Technology’s strategic partnerships, has met with leading cyber companies that predict that two sectors will be hit especially hard by cybercrime in the coming year: hospitals and education. Many have adopted electronic records management technologies. Some of those technology systems are ancient, while others have a technology system with cybersecurity tools in place.  

Additionally, the devices consumers rely on to conduct their day-to-day business, such as smartphones and tablets, leave consumers even more vulnerable to identity theft than before, as does readily available code-it-yourself software. “If an average Joe can make your smartphone app, then an average Joe can hack your smartphone app,” cautions Roller. 

Jobs in cybersecurity include information security analysts, computer systems analysts, computer systems engineers and systems software developers. The study by Burning Glass Technologies revealed that there is a demand for cybersecurity professionals with a background in finance, health care and retail trade, too.

Coding knowledge

With strong job growth expected in the field of information systems and technology, job seekers who are serious about their careers should make it their business to be prepared. Most technology jobs in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook require a bachelor’s degree-level education or higher, and many specialized roles require industry certifications and continuing education so candidates stay up to date on the latest technology.

In addition to degree programs and IT certifications, good old-fashioned soft skills are still necessary for success, too. “Things like attention to detail and common courtesy often are overlooked,” reminds Hoyt. “Communication, the ability to work in teams—we hear employers asking for a lot of those skills.”

Roller agrees. “You can’t have a straight IT mentality,” she says, affirming that soft skills are crucial moving forward.

The ability to code is no longer enough. The most eligible job candidates have a broad skill set that includes emotional intelligence coupled with an array of technical capabilities and strategic insight. “The people who are really successful in the IT industry are those who can put the technology in your hands protect it and advance it” Roller asserts. 

A college degree in Information Systems & Technology can help professionals hone specialized expertise, as can certificate programs like the University of Phoenix Advanced Networking Certificate. “We stay very close with industry experts,” says Hoyt of the University’s program and certificate offerings. “It’s the best way to keep our curriculum current and relevant.” 

Hoyt sums up the appeal of the IT field for individuals looking for open-ended career opportunities. “Whether you’re working the register at a fast food restaurant or have a corporate job, technology is prevalent everywhere. It needs to be serviced, operated, managed, maintained and supported. For me, IS&T is a great place to be.” 

For more information on the University of Phoenix information systems and technology-related certificates, visit phoenix.edu/programs/continuing-education/certificate-programs.html. Learn more about IT industry certifications at http://www.phoenix.edu/colleges_divisions/technology/it-certifications.html.  

 

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For gainful employment information, including on-time completion rates, the median debt incurred by students who completed the program and other important information, please visit phoenix.edu/programs/gainful-employment.html.