Computer Students Have the "IT" Factor

IT Program Preparing Students for In-Demand Careers

“Business is booming for our graduates as most have jobs before they even graduate, garnering positions as network engineers, technical support specialists, software developers, security analysts, LAN managers, project managers, and database administrators to name a few." - Carolyn Carvalho, Associate Lecturer of Information Technology

Information Technology is one of the top three job markets in need of qualified professionals in Northeast Ohio (NEO), and Kent State Ashtabula can fill that void. Kent State Ashtabula has the total IT factor by offering students a comprehensive four-year bachelor’s degree (BSIT) program or two-year associate degree. Students can choose a traditional classroom setting or opt to earn their entire degree online, giving them maximum flexibility in their schedules, yet at the same time, have the counsel and expertise of the on-site professors available to them at all times. 

Jacob Duritsky, Vice President of Strategy and Research at Team NEO, a company that works to enhance Northeast Ohio's economy, says that currently, only 3.3 percent of all certificate and associate degrees awarded in Northeast Ohio were in computer and information sciences in 2015 — just 2.6 percent of all bachelor's and master's degrees. He says that by 2020, “The number of jobs in Ohio that are going to require some post-secondary education is projected to be around 65 percent, and as a region, we're still 10-12 percent, at least, short of where we need to be."

Team NEO identified more than 30,000 good paying jobs in the 18-county region that could be filled, if only high schools, vocational centers and community colleges trained enough people for them.  Duritsky says that students often invest money and time earning credentials or degrees that don't bring the jobs they had hoped for; meanwhile, companies are scraping to fill vacant IT and computer positions, often multiple times, losing business with every wrong hire.

Kent State Ashtabula can help bridge that gap between worker skills and available job opportunities in the IT industry. The Bachelor of Science in Information Technology at Kent State Ashtabula has concentrations in Application Development, Applied Computer Security and Forensics, Health Information Technology, Integrated Information Technology, and Internet /Multimedia and Networking. Upon completion, Kent State Ashtabula graduates are qualified to work in every type of organization using computing systems.    

Carolyn Carvalho, Associate Lecturer of Information Technology at Kent State Ashtabula, is excited for her students. “Business is booming for our graduates as most have jobs before they even graduate, garnering positions as network engineers, technical support specialists, software developers, security analysts, LAN managers, project managers, and database administrators to name a few.”  

The Computing Technology Industry Association or CompTIA, is the world’s leading technology organization and is considered one of the IT industry's top trade associations. CompTIA issues professional certifications for the information technology industry and maintains the Association of IT Professionals (AITP). AITP is the largest professional association for students and professionals in the IT field and provides students with educational activities, workshops, networking, and mentoring opportunities.  Students are also able to participate in collegiate conferences and competitions at the regional and national level.   The Kent State Ashtabula Student Chapter of AITP has made its mark on both regional and national levels, garnering awards and accolades for individual students and the group as a whole. 

According to Carvalho, “Nearly every year that the students have attended the national collegiate conference, Kent State Ashtabula students have returned home with honors in programming, graphic design, networking, and Microsoft Office solutions. The Student Chapter has received the AITP regional Student Chapter Outstanding Performance Award multiple times, and in 2014 KSUA was also honored to receive the AITP National Outstanding Student Chapter of the Year award.” In January of 2019, CompTIA announced that Kent State Ashtabula AITP had been selected as the recipients of their inaugural Outstanding Student Chapter award.  She adds that “Our students are competing with the best of the best — and winning — up against large schools such as MIT, DeVry, Texas A&M and Purdue University.”

Carvalho says it is extra special to see her Kent State Ashtabula students recognized and honored at the national level for their commitment to education, the IT industry, and their student group. She proudly adds that this year “Every student in my Certification Preparation course passed their IT industry certification exam, including three students who received perfect certification exam scores, earning 100% on all objectives. All three students are now ranked #1 at the top at KSU and in the Top 10 nationally.”

The students themselves have a lot of great things to say about the program. Abby Raikes, class of 2020, says “The Kent State Ashtabula program has been a fantastic continuation of my A-Tech certificate from Jefferson, and it has inspired me to continue to earn my BSIT.” She adds that “The student-teacher ratio is excellent and here at Kent Ashtabula, I am not the only female in the program!”

“The Kent State Ashtabula BSIT program has boosted my confidence. The faculty go above and beyond to help us, and the SI (supplemental instruction) help is incredible — they will meet you anywhere, at any time, they are awesome.” - student Katherine Osborne

Classmate Katherine Osborne enthusiastically agrees and says “The Kent State Ashtabula BSIT program has boosted my confidence. The faculty go above and beyond to help us, and the SI (supplemental instruction) help is incredible — they will meet you anywhere, at any time, they are awesome.” 

Past alumni have gone on to very successful careers. Jennifer Spink, class of 2006, is the Network Manager at Chromaflow; Jay Benedict, class of 2012, is a Defense Aerospace Sales Engineer for AeroFluid Products (USAF); Deborah Dalton, class of 2016, is a Clinical Applications Analyst at Akron Children’s Hospital, and Ryan Moisio, class of 2016, is now the Senior Cloud Engineer at Bluebridge Networks and adjunct professor at Kent State since 2013, along with many others.

For anyone with an interest in computers, looking toward post-secondary education and a great career in a field with high in-demand jobs, contact the admissions office to learn how you can pursue a degree in Information Technology at Kent State Ashtabula . . .  and get the IT factor.
 

POSTED: Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 3:20pm
UPDATED: Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 4:35pm
WRITTEN BY:
Karen Wiese, Kent State Ashtabula Communications and Marketing Intern