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Offered for 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders, the Computer Information Systems Program is a study designed for students interested in pursuing careers in Information Technology. The first year of study focuses on basic hardware and software; the second year addresses advanced hardware and software topics with an emphasis on networking. Since the CIS program is based on industry-accepted standards, graduates of the CIS program are encouraged to pursue A+ and Network+ certifications from CompTia. Certification details are available at: http://www.comptia.org/certification/index.htm
Computer support personnel provide hardware and software assistance to individuals, corporations, and any modern organization that employs computer technology. Support specialists install and configure new equipment, maintain existing hardware/software systems, and troubleshoot problems related to both equipment and software failures. They may be responsible for answering telephone calls, analyzing problems using automated diagnostic programs, and resolving recurrent difficulties. Working on peripheral equipment such as monitors, keyboards, and printers may also fall in their job description.
Network support personnel install, configure, analyze, design, test, and evaluate network systems, such as local area networks, wide area networks, Internet, and other data communications systems. Network technicians must be familiar with communication protocols, network design strategies, troubleshooting procedures, and security issues. The typical network analyst is a generalist with specific training in networks. Excellent communication skills are generally a requirement for employment.
The majority of computer support specialists work with other technicians in small, medium and large corporate environments. Those who work independently as private consultants are susceptible to travel and may be away from their offices most of the time; sometimes spending months working in a client's office. Most work is performed in well-lit, comfortable offices or in computer laboratories.
Support specialists generally work 40 hours a week in addition to being "on call" via pager or telephone for rotating evening or weekend work if the employer requires computer support over extended hours. Overtime is often necessary when unexpected technical problems arise.
Like other workers who spend long periods of time in front of a computer terminal, computer support specialists are susceptible to eyestrain, back discomfort, and hand and wrist problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
PROJECTED SALARIESThe table below shows the estimated Employment Wage Statistics for individuals in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania employed as Network & Computer Systems Administrators (No data available for Network and Computer Systems Administrators)
Network & Computer Systems Administrators
Computer User Support Specialists
Computer Network Support Specialists
22Wage Data Source: PA Dept of Labor and IndustryEMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK
Job growth among computer support specialists reflects the rapid pace of improved technology. As computers and software become more complex, support specialists will be needed to provide technical assistance to customers and other users. New mobile technologies, such as the wireless Internet, will continue to create a demand for these workers to familiarize and educate computer users. Consulting opportunities for computer support specialists also should continue to grow as businesses increasingly need help managing, upgrading, and customizing ever more complex computer systems. However, growth in employment of support specialists may be tempered somewhat as firms continue to cut costs by shifting more routine work abroad to countries where workers are highly skilled and labor costs are lower. Physical location is not as important for computer support specialists as it is for others, because these workers can provide assistance remotely and support services can be provided around the clock.
Employment of systems administrators is expected to increase much faster than the average for all occupations as firms continue to invest heavily in securing computer networks. Companies are looking for workers who are knowledgeable about the function and administration of networks. Such employees have become increasingly hard to find as systems administration has moved from being a separate function within corporations to one that forms a crucial element of business in an increasingly high-technology economy. Also, demand for computer security specialists will grow as businesses and government continue to invest heavily in “cyber security,” protecting vital computer networks and electronic infrastructures from attack. The information security field is expected to generate many opportunities over the next decade as firms across all industries place a high priority on safeguarding their data and systems.
POST SECONDARY EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES/ARTICULATION AGREEMENTS
The Pennsylvania State University
Pennsylvania College of Technology
Montgomery County Community College