Get behind the wheel of an IT career with CompTIA's Creating IT Futures Foundation

Test drive concept

Last month, CompTIA collaborated with its philanthropic branch (the Creating IT Futures Foundation) for a short "Test Drive" campaign. The concept is simple: Help people who might be considering the IT field learn from those already working there via a series of short videos posted on YouTube.

 

As far as subjects, CompTIA didn't have to look far.  About half of the 17 videos focus on members of CompTIA's own technical staff, while the rest feature IT pros from ASI System Integration. The videos are given titles beginning with "Test Drive," ending with the interviewee's name, and including a short description in the middle (for example, one video was titled "Test Drive/The Go-To Person/Adrienne").

 

After a short cinematic intro, each interview begins with the pro stating their name and position at the company, followed by a short bit on the challenges and rewards that come from their position. Each video ends shortly after suggesting the viewer check out the CompTIA "roadmap" page.

 

While the videos aren't exactly blowing up the internet (most have not quite gotten a hundred views), they're tight, concise and easy-to-share — so here's hoping. They're also a little vague on details; out of the videos I personally watched, only one person explained what it is they actually do. While I have to fail them on being informative, I think the primary goal was to dispel certain stereotypes about IT work, such as the following:

 

1. You have to be a programming genius.

2. You have to like working alone.

3. IT is boring unless you're an international spy hacker thingy.

 

Most of the videos include either a bit about how engaging the work is, or how collaborative, or both.

 

Those who take the time to tap comptia.org/roadmap into their browsers will be directed to an easy-to-use page asking for your IT-related interests before opening up a few colorful menus based on your choice. With a few more clicks, a bored teenager can find out which certifications can begin them on the road to a satisfying IT career, as well as the first steps to earning them. One can view the videos on either CompTIA's or the Foundation's channel.

 

The videos underscore a problem the IT industry is facing. From the press release: "There were nearly 620,000 core IT job postings in the United States during Q4 2014, according to Burning Glass Technologies Labor Insights. The IT industry needs more qualified applicants to fill those positions." Despite IT consistently being the fastest-growing job market, the way traditional education views computer science is still a bit archaic.

 

Though some primary schools might allow Computer Science to fulfill a math core credit, most consider it an elective, and even those who do include it in core curriculum are often too application focused without being technical enough to make any positive difference.  The end result is that students interested in IT jobs must rush to learn and certify after a fruitless decade-plus without preparation.

 

Hopefully, campaigns like CompTIA's "Test Drive" will help get potential IT pros interested and certifying early. Who knows? The next great tech entrepreneur could be just a YouTube link away.

 

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About the Author
David Telford

David Telford is a short-attention-span renaissance man and university student. His current project is the card game MatchTags, which you can find on Facebook and Kickstarter.