Information Technology Sector Analysis

IT Sector Overview

Key takeaways from the landscape analysis for the information technology sector in the Chicagoland area:

  • Many roles in this industry, but not all, are middle-skills. A significant number of roles require a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions, or an overwhelming percent of employees have a bachelor’s or higher.
  • Middle-skills roles easily have high-priority occupation potential and those that don’t have a robust career ladder through additional training. While many employees have at least a bachelor’s degree, a significant number have an associate degree or less, or are in roles that shouldn’t require a bachelor’s.
  • Department of Labor data lag on-the-ground changes and adjustments but are still illuminating.

Overview of Private Training Landscape

Based on Chicagoland CareerPathways, the private training landscape features:

  • Ample for-profit and non-profit training providers, with some programs eligible for WIOA funds.
  • Many “bootcamp” or self-paced programs, requiring participants to have a separate source of income while gaining technical skills.
  • Very few programs with earn-and-learn and wrap-around supports, which will impede the desire to diversify this growing sector.
  • Many programs have industry-wide or company specific credentials, unclear as to placement success.

Recommended Improvement Strategies for IT

Based on the landscape analysis, the EdSystems team proposes the following strategies to both prepare residents for living wage roles in the IT sector and meet labor market demands:

  • Focus on non-credit articulation and competency-based models for programs for web developers and computer user and network support specialists. 
  • Expand the Year-Up model for prior learning assessments to CCC to other high-quality nonprofit programs or bootcamps, and link to apprenticeship programs. Encourage programs to align to ACE credit frameworkEstablish prior learning assessments based on major company (e.g. AWS, CompTIA, Salesforce ) credentials and certifications (e.g. data analytics, UX design) for CCC’s programming, networking, cloud, and cyber programs.
  • Establish continued career pathway support system for individuals to progress into High Priority Occupations from Gateway Occupations, e.g., web developer to web administrator, computer user support specialists to network specialists or cyber roles.
  • Integrate Essential Employability Skills into AAS programs or IT coursework.
  • Build out strategic dual credit pathways into the networking, cyber, and programming roles (necessitating a Guided Transfer). Increase math placement flexibility for key strategic dual credit courses.

IT Priority Occupation and Promising Credential Areas

MIDDLE-SKILL CREDENTIAL AREA OCCUPATIONS TYPICAL ENTRY EDUCATION CHICAGOLAND WAGE $/HR CHICAGOLAND PROJECTED GROWTH (10 YR.) ANNUAL CHICAGOLAND JOB OPENINGS TERM
Web Development
Web Developer
Associate/Some College
$35.16
17%
300+
Web Administrators
Bachelor’s/Some College
$47.69
10%
500+

Graphic Designers
Bachelor’s/Some College
$28.64
7%
500+

Networking, Cloud Computing, and Cybersecurity
Computer User Support Specialists
Some College
$24.98
12%
1,100+

Computer Network Support Specialists
Associate/Some College
$30.47
9%
400+

Network and Computer Systems Administrators
Bachelor’s/Some College
$41.83
6%
400+

Information Security Analysts
Bachelor’s/Some College
$45.56
2%
200+

IT Pathway Progressions​