According to the North Carolina Technology Association (NC TECH), there were 21,621 IT job postings in the state in May of this year. While that figure is down from the 31,116 IT job openings in February, those numbers demonstrate that employers are still seeking tech talent despite a downturn in the U.S. economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Three North Carolina Cities appear on CompTIA’s list of Top 20 Best Cities for IT Jobs, tying us with California and Colorado for states with the most cities mentioned. Raleigh came in at #2 on the list, Charlotte was #6, and Durham-Chapel Hill (yes, we know it’s not one city) came in at #13.
Job growth in the IT field, especially in North Carolina, is certainly one reason why WGU’s College of Information Technology has been experiencing a surge in enrollment from residents. At the beginning of June, 921 North Carolinians were enrolled in the College of IT (798 undergraduate and 123 graduate students), trailing only the 1,321 residents enrolled in WGU’s College of Business. Nationwide, WGU had 24,884 students enrolled in the College of IT in early June.
“At every tech conference I’ve attended in the state, there’s been a big emphasis on cybersecurity and the need to ‘grow our own’ talent as opposed to importing it from other regions,” said WGU Chancellor Catherine Truitt. “There is also a lot of interest in microcredentials, and WGU will continue building out its portfolio of these short-term and affordable programs. One additional benefit is that our microcredential programs are stackable, meaning they provide credit toward a bachelor’s degree should the student decide to pursue that option.”
WGU’s College of IT offers seven bachelor’s degrees and three master’s degrees. Related degrees include a B.S. degree in health information management from the College of Health Professions, and a B.S. business administration degree and MBA in information technology management, both from the College of Business.
Looking forward, WGU predicts that these IT roles will thrive in the next five years: Amazon Web Services (AWS) administrator, information security analyst, database administrator, and machine learning engineer.
Raleigh resident Carla Wilkins, who is working toward a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity and information assurance, likes the fact that certifications are built into WGU’s degree program. “I will earn 13 certifications to go along with my degree,” she said. “It will let my employers know that I have the particular skillsets that they desire.”
Students looking to further their IT education online have many options, but WGU offers something they don’t. “WGU’s unique model delivers quality degree programs according to the individual student’s personal, professional, and academic needs,” said James Ashe, Ph.D., Course Faculty of Computer Science, and Mathematics. “We award degrees for demonstrated competency, not time in the classroom, allowing working and aspiring IT professionals to pace themselves according to their existing skillsets.”
“Our goal is to give you the skills and training you need to be marketable in the IT field,” said Jason Gribbins, Ed.D., MBA, MA, a Senior Manager, Program Faculty in the College of IT. “The opportunities in the IT field are limitless, but a surefire way to protect your career is by tackling a degree. Unlike certs, a degree never fades, becomes outdated, or ceases to be recognized.”
For more information on WGU’s College of IT, visit www.wgu.edu/online-it-degrees.html.