Networking and Bright Outlook Opportunities

If you love your job, you are extremely fortunate. You may even transition to civilian employment and stay in the same career field. This is not always the case though. Others serving beside you may have entered a career field that was assigned to them at the time of enlistment and now they want to pursue another type of work. DANTES programs can help with both your education and career goals. Some programs can even help you decide what type of job is right for you based on your skills, likes, and experiences.

“Bright Outlook” Careers

There are many career fields to choose from. The Department of Labor’s Bright Outlook careers are those jobs that are either expected to grow rapidly in the next several years, will have large numbers of job openings, or are new and emerging occupations. Careers in the Information Technology (IT) career cluster are jobs that involve working with computer hardware, software and/or network systems. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 3.5 million jobs in this career cluster. The median annual wages for occupations in the IT cluster range from $46,620 for computer user support specialists to $101,214 for systems software developers.

Career Planning

When choosing where to start with career planning for IT, using career clusters can help organize your options. Career clusters are a way to group common features of occupations. The Department of Labor recognizes 16 career clusters in IT. Career pathways are small groups of occupations within a career cluster. Occupations within a pathway share common skills, knowledge, and interests.

The following pathways identify career options and education requirements in the IT career cluster:

  • Information Support and Services – Information support and services includes occupations related to information technology deployment – including database management, providing technical assistance and managing information systems.
  • Network Systems – The network systems pathway includes occupations related to network analysis, planning and implementation. This includes design, installation, maintenance and management of network systems.
  • Programming and Software Development – The programming and software development pathway includes occupations that involve the design, development, implementation andmaintenance of computer systems and software. These jobs require knowledge of computer operating systems, programming languages and software development.
  • Web and Digital Communication – The web and digital communication pathway includes those involved in the creation, design and production of interactive multimedia products and services. This includes the development of digitally-generated or computer-enhanced media used in business, training, entertainment, communications and marketing.

DANTES Programs

Identifying IT Pathways with Kuder Journey

Kuder Journey is a DANTES program specifically designed for military members to help plan for the future. A recent blog article titled “Bright Outlook” Business Administration Career Pathways explains how the Holland Codes within the Kuder Journey system can help match your personal interests to careers by enabling you to explore career clusters by your interests.

Voluntary education personnel can use your Holland Codes to identify personality types that are mapped to related career pathways once you take the three career assessments within Kuder Journey. The R (Realistic) and I (Investigative) Holland Codes may signal that a student is well suited for Information Technology related careers.

Most occupations within the IT career cluster generally require a bachelor’s degree for entry. However, education can range from “some college but no degree” and “moderate-term on-the-job training” for computer-user support specialists to a “bachelor’s degree and 5 or more years of work experience in a related occupation” for computer network architects. Kuder Journey can also help with determining what level of education is needed for the career path you choose.

SOC Career and Technical IT Certificates

The SOC Career and Technical Education (SOC CTE) program serves as a pathway to help service members transition from a military career into the civilian labor market by earning short, stackable certificates. Read the blog article Certificate Programs that Leverage your Military Training for a more information on CTE program benefits, features and support resources.

The SOC CTE Information Technology career cluster offers certificates that can be applied towards associate and bachelor’s degree requirements in the following areas:

  • Information Technology Specialist
  • Computer Information Systems
  • Networking (i.e. Design and System Support, Network+, Wireless, Server and Cloud Administration, etc.)
  • Programming (i.e. Visual Basic, PHP, JAVA, etc.)
  • Software Development
  • Database Management
  • Computer Maintenance
  • Computer Forensics
  • Mobile Applications
  • Open Source
  • Cybersecurity
  • Enterprise Computing
  • Computer Support
  • IBMi Application Development
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Virtualization

Certificates in this cluster can lead to occupations as a Software Developer, Database Administrator, Systems Analyst, Application Developer, Computer and Information Systems Manager, Information Technology Analyst, Systems Architect and more.

Use the CTE certificate search tool to access a list of approved CTE institutions offering more than 70 certificates in Information Technology.

SOC Degree Network System IT Degrees

The SOC Degree Network System (SOC DNS) is a Defense educational institution partnership that delivers specific associate and bachelor’s degree programs that have been vetted for high quality to help address some of the challenges military students face. Read the blog article SOC DNS Student Agreements ~ A Win-Win for Military for a detailed description of the SOC DNS program benefits, features and support resources.

IT-related degrees offered within the SOC DNS include:

Associates level: 26 Computer Studies
Bachelors level: 7 Information Systems Management and 19 Computer Studies related

Use the SOC DNS search tool to search available degree programs through member institutions.

More Information

Stay proficient and pursue further education to help secure civilian employment after serving, if you work in IT and like your job. Interested in a career in IT? Get started on your future career and education pathway today.

Do you have more questions? Remember … you can always find more information on DANTES VolEd programs on our website and on our servicemember blog! DANTES is here to help you determine and manage your future career planning and educational success. Start planning today with the new MyVolEdPath mobile app. Download it today!

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Taheesha Quarells

Education Project Manager at DANTES
Taheesha Quarells is a U.S. Army veteran with more than 15 years of experience in expanding academic and career development opportunities for military members and veterans. With experience as both an active duty military and veteran student while completing her bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, she enjoys sharing her love of learning with others.