What Is Information Technology?
Ask a group of IT professionals what IT is, and you'll likely get many different answers. Generally speaking, Information Technology refers to anything related to computing technology, such as networking, hardware, software, the Internet, or the people that work with these technologies. Many companies have IT departments for managing the computers, networks, and other technical areas of their businesses. IT jobs include computer programming, network administration, computer engineering, Web development, technical support, and many other related occupations.
What is Computer Information Science?
In it's basic form, computer information science is about problem solving. It's a subset of I.T. If you find yourself not only wondering why your phone works the way it does but also taking it apart and putting it back together, you are a candidate for a career in I.T. If you are fascinated by how a mobile app works and also know how to crack the code to make it better, you are a candidate for a career in Computer Information Science.
So What's Up with I.T. ?
I.T. is an integral part of every industry--from agriculture to pharmaceutical, transportation to retail, marketing to graphic design--many times being the competitive advantage for a business's success. The world of IT is constantly evolving, and if you live to be challenged and love to learn new things, this career path can fulfill those desires.
MATA wants to make IT career exploration easier--for both students and parents. Here are some links to resources you'll find valuable in your search for the IT career path that's right for you.
Take a look at this interactive presentation from an I.T. Certification body known as CompTIA®.
What Do I Need To Know to Get A Job in I.T.?
Since there are so many different careers that classify as I.T. jobs, that's a complex question to answer. There are entry-level jobs (service desk technicians) that you qualify for with hands-on experience or a two-year associate's degree. Other jobs, such as a network engineer or application architect, that require a 4-year degree plus hands-on experience.
Take a look at the 4th row of the INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY COMPETENCY MODEL pyramid. The U.S. Department of Labor, through the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has worked with the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and technical and subject matter experts from education, business, and industry to update a comprehensive competency model for the Information Technology (IT) industry. While the model identifies the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for workers to perform successfully in the field of IT, it is not intended that IT workers possess all of the competencies listed. The model is rather a compilation of competencies that can be included as a basis for preparation in an IT occupation. The National Convergence Technology Center (CTC), Broadening Advanced Technological Education Connections (BATEC), the National Center for Information and Communications Technology (ITC), the Mid-Pacific Information and Communication Technologies Center (MPICT), California Community Colleges Information and Communication Technologies Collaborative (ICT), and CompTIA provided input and will ensure that the model evolves to accommodate changing skill requirements.