IT Technician Pathway
“The California Community College IT Pathways program describes an effective balance of training, certifications and experience to develop IT Professionals without a 4 year degree ...”
James Brady, PhD, FHIMSS
Chief Information Officer, Kaiser Permanente Orange County, Information Technology
Are you ready to work in IT? You may be closer to landing your first job than you think! Follow these four steps and you’ll be on your way to a successful career.
Find out what courses you need to take and where they’re offered.
CONNECT WITH PEERS
Connect with other students, both online and in person, to stay updated on the IT industry.
Learn about the industry certifications that will help you get hired.
Don’t wait too long to get an entry-level job handling tech equipment or sales. The sooner you get into the business, the sooner you’ll become an IT Professional.
Three Stages Along a Single Pathway to Career Success
COMPUTER RETAIL SALES & SUPPORT - Basic SkillsTake the first step into the world of information communications by working in retail sales of computers, handheld devices, networking services or cell phones.
Increase your marketability and on-the-job success by taking the first six IT Pathways courses and the A+ Certification exam.
HELP DESK / USER SUPPORT - Add Skills
A greater knowledge of computers and networking can lead to employment in Help Desk/User Support. This function can be performed in-store, onsite, or more commonly, online.
Build on the IT Pathway by completing four additional courses listed.
IT TECHNICIAN - Add More Skills
Advancing beyond basic Help Desk/User Support requires greater technical knowledge and specialization, as there are different directions of employment growth.
The IT Pathways courses listed teach advanced concepts in security, database management, programming, and virtualization.
While the suggested curriculum can be completed in two years, keep in mind that experience and practice are true keys to success and advancement in IT. Pacing your learning and experience together may be a better long-term investment.
IT Pathways Participating Colleges
CONNECT WITH PEERS
The challenges and rewards of making progress in IT are often demystified by socializing with others online or at events for IT Professionals in your area.
Want to know what other students are saying about the CompTIA Certification Exams? Follow the Facebook page CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+ (students group).
Click one of the logos below to get connected with your peers and start making connections to advance your IT career.
A Great Starting Point For Peer Support and Guidance!!
A Deeper Dive
Tech is a Great Career Path for Women!
Industry certifications are a critical part of the IT Technician Pathway and are required for many IT-related jobs. Many of the pathway courses help prepare you to take certification exams. You might also choose to use test prep workbooks or software to help you prepare.
Some of the most widely recognized and useful certifications include CompTIA’s A+, Network+, Security+, Cisco CCENT and CCNA, Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and more.
The California Community College system provides its students discounts on certification exams through the xVoucher program.
Are you still wondering why you need to get certifications in addition to your education?
Click on the certification badges to go directly to the certification exam site.
Stage 1: Retail Customer Support
Stage 2: Help Desk
Stage 3: IT Technician
According to top employers, experience is the most important criteria when hiring for higher level tech jobs. This means students can best prepare for IT careers by gaining work experience while taking classes and earning certifications.
It’s not too early to start looking for an IT-related job – the sooner the better!
Click the links below for some tips to get you started:
Ask at Your College
Ask your college counseling department and faculty about internships, apprenticeship programs or local companies that may be hiring, as their local knowledge may be best. Try to get personal referrals from faculty to business owners. And don't be a stranger...if you want help, you need to ask.
While searching online may seem efficient, most jobs advertised online require more experience and training than you have initially. Look online to find out who is hiring, but seek a personal interview through people you know at that company, instead of submitting your resume online. Getting to know the local IT manager of a large company could be a very smart move
Remember, IT jobs are found in banks, hospitals, office buildings and with many small- to-medium IT contractors. Big names in IT like Cisco and Microsoft make the products that are sold to these other companies for the IT team to manage.
A very effective approach is to inquire with contract or temporary IT placement agencies in your town. Search for IT placement agencies such as AppleOne, Manpower and Robert Half, who know what companies are hiring. It is common for companies to initially hire temporary workers to see how they work out. Often, after a period of time, the temporary worker will be offered a permanent position.
It may seem old-fashioned, but being well-dressed, making an appointment to meet the manager and expressing a desire to work in the tech industry are very important when seeking a job.
Try Computer Retail
It’s possible to get a tech sales job fast. Consider applying for a job at retail stores that sell electronic communications equipment. This can be an opportunity to begin earning money in your new field.
Look for kiosks that sell cellular phones, tech heavy retail stores like Apple Store, Microsoft Store, Best Buy, Staples, Office Depot, Office Max & Costco and cellular stores (ATT, Verizon) as well as computer service and specialty stores.
Working cellular sales at a kiosk may take a day of training whereas working in a store may require more lengthy, offsite training by the employer. Either way, your stage one courses are a real advantage for you
Retail opportunities rapidly grow your customer service skills as you explain technology to non-technology people – a very important skill. There may also be opportunities to advance to higher levels of retail management, and even business-to-business sales jobs which can be very lucrative.
Add Education & Certifications
The experience you gain working with customers, supervisors, company policies and technology combines with your educational experience to help you become successful. The so-called ‘soft skills’ that you acquire while working are very much in demand for higher-level jobs.
In tech it is normal to change jobs to advance. While it may be wise to stay on a good career track at your company, you may find that you will be approached by recruiters for a higher level ‘help desk’ or other tech position.
The Next Job
Assuming you have completed the first pathway courses and earned your A+ Certification, you are a good candidate for a better job. But don't stop academically…you have only begun. Follow all the stages in the IT Technician Pathway.
With some experience on your resume it may pay to look at the popular tech on-line websites for employment, like Dice.com, ITJobPro.com and Robert Half as well as the IT placement agencies in you region.
Your online reputation (keep your Linked-in profile up to date) as well as recommendations from prior employers are as important as your Certifications and education.
At this point, your discussions with peers that you meet on the job, online or in person will help keep you aware of who is hiring and what Certifications are valued for those jobs. However, you will find that the tech industry keeps growing and specialties develop where general skills were once enough. Depending on the industry in your area, your professional preferences, and who’s hiring, you will have many choices and a well-paying dynamic career if you keep learning!