Sue Wallace on Technologist Talk

How to Launch a New Tech Career by the Winter Holidays

By RC Dirkes

As the summer of 2020 rolls into its final month, the pandemic and its drag on the U.S. economy rolls along, too.

But workers with technology skills are still in demand.

Per CompTIA’s analysis of the latest employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, to date in 2020 IT employment remains in positive territory despite overall job losses in July. The unemployment rate for IT occupations is 4.4 percent, less than half the national unemployment rate of 10.2 percent.

That’s why Sue Wallace, vice president of student and career services for CompTIA Tech Career Academy, believes now is still a “great time” to consider launching a promising new tech career, if the pandemic’s economic strain has you feeling the limits of your current job.

“With the pandemic, the economy took a hit. But as you look across the sectors, technology didn't take as big of a hit as some of the others,” Sue tells host R.C. “Bob” Dirkes in a recent episode of the award-winning Technologist Talk podcast.

“There's still demand for technology jobs,” she says, offering IT Help Desks as an example. “They've actually seen increased demand during the pandemic because everybody's moving to more of a remote environment.”

“We've been able to continue going with our training [programs],” despite pandemic conditions, Sue explains. “We've been able to move [IT-Ready Technical Support courses] online. And we have additional classes that are coming up very soon. If you apply now and you get into one of these classes, you can actually be trained and ready to launch your new tech career by the winter holidays.”

If you or someone you know is considering changing careers, if you are a recent high school or college graduate aiming to launch a career, Sue offers some best practices when evaluating the potential of launching a career as a technologist.

“Changing careers, it's a life-changing decision. And you should consider how it impacts not only you but the people that are most important to you, the people who support you…The best prep that you can do is to talk through this change, build confidence by discussing this with friends, family, mentors because having their support is always going to help you…Then we're really here to guide people through the process of determining if CompTIA Tech is indeed a good fit,” she says.

She adds that neither prior tech education, such as a degree in computer science, nor a tech job is a prerequisite for applying to CompTIA Tech. “You don't need any kind of technical experience to pursue a career in tech. There are many people that have gone through our programs that did not have any background. And we've learned that, through all the years that we have been running this program, there are actually better attributes that can predict your success.

“Because a lot of what we're doing in technology is helping people, helping people solve their problems. Whether that's the help desk role… or if you get into a more advanced role down the line, where you're maybe working in security, where you're helping protect people's information, there's always a component of being able to help people,” she says.

Sue details that CompTIA Tech has designed a straightforward five-step process for applying to IT-Ready Technical Support:

  1. A simple online application,
  2. An online assessment,
  3. An interview, a video chat with our advisors,
  4. A review of your application materials by our Admissions staff,
  5. If you're looking for financial assistance, a financial assistance review.

She elaborates, “Some people don't have the time to go for a four-year degree. And this is an option that's available to them. Some people don't have the money. And because of our financial assistance options, the grants that are available, CompTIA Tech can be an option for them as well.”

Sue also emphasizes that IT-Ready classes include taking exams for CompTIA certifications, notably the foundational A+ certification.

“The CompTIA A+ credential is an industry-recognized credential. It's designed by IT professionals. And it helps validate that people have the skills they need to be successful in an entry-level tech job,” she says. “We also have a network of employers that we work with. They know our program. They know CompTIA and the value of having those certifications. And we help make introductions, help people get a foot in the door. We can't guarantee the placement, but we can make those introductions and set the stage for success for people who are coming out of our programs.”

To hear the rest of the conversation with Sue, click here: Episode 34 – Talking IT Training: How to Launch a New Tech Career by the Winter Holidays.

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