Do You Speak Geek?

cheryl>I remember there was a time when it was not cool to be called a computer geek. How times have changed! Just toss out a few names like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerburg and we can redefine “cool” as “cool millions.” So let’s talk a little about their field of Computer Systems Design and related services.

The Outlook
Now I won’t pretend to be an expert in the computer field, but here is what I found. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment for computer systems designers between 2010 and 2020 is expected to grow 22%. Wow, that translates to over 120,400 jobs. The growth in this field is considered above average compared to that in other fields. Performing a quick search on one of the major job boards, I found over 26,000 postings for this occupation.

Chump Change?
I think not. The average salary is about $1,400 a week; even more for specialty designers. And for jobs in the Houston-Galveston Gulf Coast region, check out the hourly rate breakdown in our Workforce Solutions “Focus On” profile of the occupation. For that kind of salary, I would have no problem with people seeing my pocket protector or a USB hanging around my neck. Talk about being a cool geek.

What Exactly Does a System Designer Do?
So if these stats sound enticing, you may be asking, “What exactly does a designer do and how do I become one?” The “Focus On” profile states that a System Designer (SD) may plan and design computer systems that integrate software, hardware and communication technologies. Designers can specialize in writing, modifying, testing or just focus on trouble-shooting existing systems.

You will find jobs in a wide variety of work environments and across many industries–as a private contractor, in-house working for one specific company, or an employee of an outsource agency. You may have to travel a little or not travel at all, but you surely will be using computers.

How do you get there?
There was a time when those who wanted to design learned on the job. This, too, has changed. A bachelor’s degree in computer science is becoming an industry norm, and a master’s degree is required for those wanting to go into management. To learn more, speak with your college career counselors or one of our staff at a Workforce Solutions office. They will be glad to advise you on degrees in the field.

Also know that there are several certifications in the computer design field that can give you experience and make you look more attractive to an employer. These include Certified Computing Professional, Certified IT Consultant, and Associate Computing Professional. The Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals is one of several organizations that can assist you in getting the training.

Finally, if you don’t currently speak “geek,” but recognize that the outlook for a good paying job exists in the Computer Systems Design field, it just might be time for you to learn another language!

Cheryl Sandifer is a Regional Facilitator with Workforce Solutions. In that role she has been able to apply her knowledge and experience as both an educator and social worker to conduct job search skills seminars throughout the Houston-Galveston area. She has had opportunity to work with those ranging from entry level to C-level to help them find a job, keep a job or get a better job.



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