As one of New Hampshire’s fastest-growing employment sectors, information technology, or IT, is an essential field that involves using computers to store, share, secure, analyze or transmit information or data. IT has become the lifeblood of nearly every organization and is how employees communicate, solve problems and manage daily operations. IT is also prevalent in many aspects of everyday life due to the proliferation of technology tools: from credit cards and banking to booking a restaurant reservation or posting on social media. The innovations that make a difference in the world such as improvements in medicine, transportation and education all rely on the fast-paced world of technological advancements.
With technology intertwined in all that we do, the industry is booming and growing at rapid rates. IT jobs are no longer only for traditional tech companies. Almost every company has been obliged to embrace technology and virtually every industry now has technology-based occupations or outsourced tech support. With email, spreadsheets, presentations, project management applications and networks being a staple for nearly every business, so are IT support roles.
There are several dozen IT occupations in existence, but currently, cybersecurity roles are the most in demand. In today’s digitally driven world, the reliance on data and an increase in sophisticated security attacks and threats force cybersecurity into a role as necessary as human resources. For many companies, business and customer data is the most valued possession, and as is with other valued possessions, protecting it is crucial. Not having access to some level of cybersecurity expertise such as a dedicated role, an employee skill, or a consultant or outside firm is no longer an option for companies.
According to CNN, there are 700,000 unfilled cybersecurity positions in the United States, a number that increased 40 percent in just a few months. Here in New Hampshire, the projected outlook for IT security positions is 16,300 through 2030.
Cybersecurity positions also offer exceptional earning potential. The demand for cybersecurity jobs has gained a lot of attention recently including at the highest levels of government. The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), in partnership with the White House, U.S. Department of Commerce and other federal agencies, recently announced a 120-Day Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint, to promote the Registered Apprenticeship model as a solution for numerous industries to develop and train a skilled and diverse cybersecurity workforce. This national campaign is designed to bring awareness to the massive need by encouraging employers to explore Registered Apprenticeship as a recruitment, training and retention strategy.
As the only program in the state with a Cybersecurity Support Technician Registered Apprenticeship program, Manchester Community College is poised and ready to support this initiative through a partnership with ApprenticeshipNH, a workforce initiative of the Community College System of New Hampshire. ApprenticeshipNH has a history of assisting New Hampshire employers with Registered Apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships and programs with high school students as proven recruitment strategies.
ApprenticeshipNH, in cooperation with the USDOL, Office of Apprenticeship, helps employers fill workforce gaps by creating a pipeline of skilled workers. Known as the “Earn As You Learn” model,” ApprenticeshipNH combines paid on-the-job training with classroom education. Participating employers have experienced increased productivity, boosted employee retention, improved company culture and ensured knowledge transfer when filling retiring positions with qualified, skilled workers.
To begin a Cybersecurity Support Technician Registered Apprenticeship, employers can enter into a simple one-page agreement or attend ApprenticeshipNH’s information session on September 22 at Manchester Community College to learn about all the benefits and to get started. Individuals with an interest in technology or those in IT that want to enhance their skills are encouraged to discuss apprenticeships with their employers. The ApprenticeshipNH website also has much information on the program and how to get involved.
Anne Banks is the High School Apprenticeship Grant Manager at ApprenticeshipNH and Peter La Monica is the Computer Science Department Chair at Manchester Community College.