Defining Information Technology: Keeping Up With a Moving Target

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Computers have changed our world – they are present in virtually every facet of our lives and humming in the background of communications, entertainment, finance, government, health care, education . . . everywhere! Information Technology enables integration, communication, database management, complex computing and coordination of tasks and information.

Information technology (often referred to as IT) has defined and re-defined itself multiple times. New breakthroughs happen every day with new software, new hardware, new applications – the next generation of a device is now coming along at breakneck pace, expanding not only what computers can do, but how they affect even the smallest details of our daily life.

This growth is fueling a demand for well-trained people in the field. And that is where Eastern Iowa Community Colleges are stepping in. Information Technology and computer training is certainly not new to EICC. We’ve had high quality programs for many years and have many successful graduates out in the workforce. What all this innovation IS leading to is a need for training that is customized to the workforce needs of our regional economy.

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Working with  Local Businesses

Recently, the EICC Information Technology faculty has invested considerable energy in evaluating curriculum, equipment and facilities.  This started NOT at the colleges, but with area businesses. Talking with employers about their hiring needs, what information technology looks like in their companies, and what it might look like in 5 years or 10. Drilling down to dissect what skills and training today’s IT professional needs, including mapping out the daily activities of their current IT staff members. This has led to everything from a list of job titles to itemized lists of the tasks typically performed in each technician level occupation.

The goal was to match up training with the skills employers are looking for – and to provide graduates of the EICC Information Technology program with the theoretical, academic and hands-on experience that will help them be successful in the field — and provide area companies with the focused, proficient workforce they need to keep their businesses growing.

Creating New Curriculum

The EICC Information Technology faculty have now created two tracks – one in Programming and one in Networking – that reflect the findings of the research with companies. These two tracks and the areas of focus underneath each one allow an IT student to find a niche that fits his or her unique skills and interests. “The most positive thing about a career in Information Technology is that there are so many areas of specialization that almost everyone can find something they are passionate about,” notes Lori Walljasper, EICC IT faculty member. “Whether you’re the person who loves taking the back off your PC to see how it really works and building your own system out of components, or someone who likes the creative flair needed with graphic interfaces and simulations, you can find a career in IT.”

She also points out that EICC has the latest technology and software. “Students will have a very hands-on experience. Our program focuses on practical experience – actually working with system components, setting up networks, experimenting with software and databases, and dealing in real-world scenarios,” she adds. The IT program is available at all three campuses and offers many classes online, making it a great choice for students who may already be working and need class options that fit their schedule.

Here’s a quick overview of the focus areas in each track:

Programming Track:

Computer Programming 

A Computer Programmer writes computer code that turns designs created by software developers into instructions a computer can follow.

Database Management 

The Database Manager uses specialized software to store and organize data. They make sure that data are available to users and are secure from unauthorized access.

Web Development 

A Web Developer designs and creates websites. They are responsible for the look of the site and the site’s technical aspects, such as performance and capacity. They also may create content for the site

Games and Simulation 

A video game designer develops the layout, concept and gameplay of a video game. This may include playfield design, specification writing, and entry of numeric properties that balance and tune the gameplay.

Networking Track:

Networking

Networkers design, install and support an organization’s LAN/WAN, Internet/Intranet systems. They provide on-site administrative support for computer users in a variety of work environments.

Server Administration

A Server Administration Support Specialist is responsible for effective provisioning, installation/configuration, operation, and maintenance of systems hardware and software and related infrastructure.

Hardware/ Help Desk Support

A Hardware/Help Desk Support Specialist is responsible for providing technical assistance and support related to computer systems, hardware, or software.

Security and Forensics 

A Security and Forensic Specialist is responsible for analyzing output from various technologies in order to effectively investigate security incidents.

Awards Available at Eastern Iowa Community Colleges

  • Associate in Applied Science in Information Technology (with emphasis in)
  • Programming
  • Database Management
  • Web Development
  • Games and Simulations
  • Networking
  • Hardware and Help Desk
  • Server Administration
  • Security and Forensics
  • Diploma in Information Technology
  • Basic Networking

Certifications for Networking:

• Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA)

• CompTIA (A+, Network+, Security+, Linux+)

• Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)

• Windows Operating System

• Windows Server Administration Fundamentals

• Networking Fundamentals

• Security Fundamentals

Certifications for Programming; 

• Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)

• Software Development Fundamentals

• Web Development Fundamentals

• Windows Development Fundamentals

• NET Fundamentals

• HTML5 Application Developer Fundamentals

• Gaming Development Fundamentals

• Mobile Development Fundamentals

• Software Testing Fundamentals

• Database Administration Fundamentals

• Oracle Academy Certifications

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