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Celebrating Cyber Monday, FastForward style

If you’ve been following Virginia workforce news lately, you may have seen a trend: information technology (IT) jobs are on the rise. Don’t let the Meta and Twitter layoffs steer you away from the future of the IT industry, as companies such as Hitachi Energy, FiberX and ARDX all recently announced plans to expand operations in Virginia. What does that mean for you? There are hundreds of high-paying IT jobs waiting—and for many of these jobs—all you need is a workforce credential that can be earned in as little as six weeks.

To help you wrap your head around the IT world, here are some trends that can help you put a pep in your step when making the decision to go back to school.

Driving the demand.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, jobs in computer and IT departments are expected to grow by 15% from 2021 to 2031. This rapid growth is significantly higher than other occupations, and the trend is only expected to expand as more companies speed up production using the latest technology.

Virginia is for technology lovers.

While the demand for tech workers is being felt across the nation, Virginia is experiencing an especially intense demand for IT jobs in the cybersecurity industry. Recently named the No. 1 cybersecurity leader in the country, along with having the second largest total cybersecurity workforce (88,000 workers), Virginia is leading the charge and investing in new talent pipelines to fill the demand, according to VEDP. In addition, the Tech Talent Investment Program, launched in the summer of 2021, invests $2 billion to produce more than 32,000 graduates in computer science-related fields, many of which come from one of Virginia’s community colleges. The program also creates more apprenticeship opportunities for students looking to work full-time while earning a credential or associate degree in the IT industry.

Wondering what credential programs are offered through FastForward’s training programs? Some of the most popular credentials include: CompTIA and industry credentials in cyber and network security, computer and network support, network administration and ethical hacking. As more funding becomes available in 2023, the list will only continue to grow.

Don’t just take our word for it!

There’s a lot of jargon in the industry, and many job openings require specialized certificates. If you’re anxious about turning a new page and going down the IT path, don’t be! Our career coaches work with you one-on-one to make sure you are enrolled in appropriate classes for the jobs that match your interests. Career coaches also help you access financial aid, through programs like G3 and VA Ready.

Take Christine for example, a student in Hampton Roads who decided to do a 180-career change to the IT industry and now works full time using her CompTIA A+ certificate. Natalie, another student who enrolled in FastForward, also earned her CompTIA A+ and now works as an IT Inventory Specialist Tier I for Liberty University. With courses offered online, in-person and with hybrid modalities, at times most convenient for your schedule, FastForward training programs are catered to the career switchers looking for a fresh beginning.

Find your place on the tech map.

There’s no shortage of tech companies along all of our interstates, and even the small towns are feeling the tech love! If you’re curious which major tech companies are located near your hometown, check out this guide courtesy of Virginia Economic Development Partnership. Plus—there are many other job openings not on the map, as the IT world has pivoted to include many more remote jobs based across the U.S. and abroad.  

IT map

If you’re interested in earning an IT-related credential, the first step is meeting with a career coach at your nearest community college. Reach out to get started.