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 preparing for (a) Web Developer; and (b) Computer User & Network Support Specialists
    • Expand the Year-Up model for Prior Learning Assessment to CCC to other high quality nonprofit programs or bootcamps and link to apprenticeship programs. Encourage programs to align to ACE credit framework.
    • Establish PLA based on major company (e.g. AWS, CompTIA, Salesforce ) credentials and certifications (e.g. Data Analytics, UX Design) for Programming Networking, Cloud, and Cyber CCC 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 program or IT Coursework
  • Build out Strategic Dual Credit Pathways into the Networking/Cyber and Programming roles (necessitating Guided Transfer)
    • Increase math placement flexibility for key strategic dual credit courses

IT Priority Occupation and Promising Credential Areas

Middle-Skill Credential Area
Typical Entry Education
Chicagoland Wage $/hr
Chicagoland Projected Growth (10 yr.)
Annual Chicagoland Job Openings
Web Development
Web Developer
Associate/Some College
High Priority Occupation
Web Administrators
Bachelor’s/Some College
High Priority Occupation
Graphic Designers
Bachelor’s/Some College
High Priority Occupation
Networking, Cloud Computing, and Cybersecurity
Computer User Support Specialists
Some College
Gateway Occupation
Computer Network Support Specialists
Associate/Some College
High Priority Occupation
Network and Computer Systems Administrators
Bachelor’s/Some College
High Priority Occupation
Information Security Analysts
Bachelor’s/Some College
High Priority Occupation

IT Pathway Progressions​

Explore Other Middle-Skills Pathways in Chicago Sector Analyses