CIT Program Recognized by CompTIA for Industry Excellence

By Mike McKissack

The Computer and Internetworking Technologies (CIT) program at College of DuPage was recently recognized by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) for taking a leadership role in preparing students for entry and advancement in the information technology (IT) industry.

Impressed with College of DuPage's CIT program, CompTIA asked Computer Internetworking Technologies Professors Clyde Cox and Tony Chen to share the highlights of the degree program with CompTIA's international sales team.

This team subsequently plans to use the College of DuPage program as a model that can be replicated by academic institutions around the world.

In addition, CompTIA has announced a new internship program for College of DuPage CIT program students. Beginning this spring, students can submit applications for a nine-week paid internship with the IT department at CompTIA's Downers Grove headquarters.

Established in 1982, CompTIA is a global non-profit trade association that develops competency standards for the IT industry by providing educational opportunities and vendor-neutral certification for established and emerging technologies and through developing research on issues faced by this high-tech industry.

The CIT program at College of DuPage has experienced an annual growth rate of 12.5 percent over the past five years. Cox, who described the recognition from CompTIA as an "honor" and "humbling," explained that the success of the College's CIT program is due to the unique way it has been developed.

"We've built this program around industry standard certifications that are in demand," said Cox. "After completing the A.A.S. degree program, students will have earned up to eight certifications. This is particularly important and helpful, because certifications are as important as a degree to employers, if not more so."

Chen added that the nature of the industry can make previously earned credentials and degrees nearly obsolete.

"Because technology has evolved so quickly, a master's degree from 10 years ago may be practically useless," said Chen. "One element of our degree program that makes it so effective and useful is that it can be broken down into sections, each of which result in immediately upgradeable, employable skills and certifications that are sought after by employers in today's market."

The CIT program at College of DuPage offers a variety of degree and certificate programs that allow students to pursue careers in a wide range of information technology disciplines. This program offers both vendor-specific coursework, such as CISCO and Microsoft certifications, as well as parallel vendor neutral classes. Recently, COD's program was one of only two community colleges, and one of only 11 institutions in Illinois, to earn certification to train Information Systems Security (INFOSEC) professionals under the authority of the Committee of National Security Systems (CNSS) and the National Security Agency (NSA).

Due to growth and popularity of the CIT program over the past five years, classes are now offered at four offsite locations throughout District 502, including regional centers in Addison, Carol Stream and Naperville. For students who are interested in transfer opportunities, the CIT program has also partnered with several universities, including Elmhurst College, the Illinois Institute of Technology, DePaul University, National-Louis University and Northern Illinois University to offer innovative articulation programs that facilitate seamless transfer of earned credits to baccalaureate degree programs.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, the projected growth for common careers in IT range from growth rates of 18 to 31 percent from 2010 to 2020, with the most opportunity expected for well-trained employees in the energy, financial services, healthcare, infrastructure and security fields.

More about the CIT program at College of DuPage.