Millions of college graduates accepted their degrees this May and officially entered the work force, though many are finding a turbulent job market. The graduating class of 2014 saw an unemployment rate of 8.5%, compared to an overall national average of 6.7%. This doesn’t include underemployment—graduates working part-time jobs or jobs that don’t require a degree—at 16.8%. Career success is highly dependent on students’ field of study, with graduates of art, design, architecture and social sciences showing higher unemployment than graduates of science, math, technology or engineering fields.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports Information Technology as one of the fastest growing fields in the nation, with employment projected to grow 3.9% over the decade, compared to 1.3% for comparable fields. This growth in information processing, software and hardware engineering, systems management, and IT assistance makes knowledge of technical devices and applications a top priority for grads. As more businesses are downsizing infrastructure in preference of a cloud-computing model—using online applications to store, organize, or communicate data—knowledge of and access to reliable broadband is a must-have.
Businesses as well as governments are following this trend, employing more IT workers and employees with technical knowledge.
Will Inman graduated in May from the University of South Carolina (USC) with a bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications and transitioned directly to work for the Richland County, South Carolina IT department. As part of an upper level IT class project at USC, Inman and his classmates helped Richland County complete an assessment measuring broadband access, adoption, and use in the area, resulting in obtaining the necessary scores to be designated a certified Connected community with Connect South Carolina.
“We were able to meet with representatives from Richland County, make phone calls, visit organizations and gather information that pertained to our area of study,” said Inman. Following the project, Inman began an internship with the Richland Co IT department. “I was able to continue my research for the project. It was a good chance for me to know the area and get a good feel for what the county has to offer.” When the internship concluded, Inman applied for a position within the IT department and started work following graduation.
Students that participate in internships in college are more likely to be successful in their careers. Inman advises students and recent graduates to explore possibilities within their community. “Meet people, network, go to professional functions, try to get to know your local officials, like at your city and county, and network through them. IT professionals both in business and in government are willing to help,” said Inman. “They’re dying to teach the students that are willing to listen.”
Learn more about opportunities and developments in broadband and technology through http://connectmycommunity.org/.
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