It is so frustrating when your computer “freezes” or, worse yet, when it shuts down while you’re in the middle of an important project. That’s when a technical support specialist is needed. It’s his or her job to help people who are experiencing technical, hardware or software issues with their computers or other electronic devices. You call your company’s technical support specialist to troubleshoot and, hopefully, resolve your issue.

That’s an overview of the general job of a technical support specialist. However, these are five job responsibilities of a technical support specialist that you may not be aware of.

1. Takes remote control over customers’ computers

Most often, a technical support specialist can walk a customer through steps necessary to remedy the problem, install software on the computer and start a program for the first time via the phone. He or she can also help troubleshoot issues a customer may face while using a software program and recommend tips to remedy the situation. If that doesn’t work – or if the customer just doesn’t understand – the tech support specialist may need to take over the computer remotely and perform the necessary steps to resolve the issue.

2. Trains customers on how to use hardware and software

Some companies assign their technical support specialist with writing operating instructions and training employees on the software or hardware needed to perform their jobs. When the customers learn how to use equipment properly, it protects and preserves both the hardware and software.

3. Maintains and upgrades network systems

A technical support specialist keeps a company’s network systems up to date by upgrading components as needed. He or she also gathers and records data to ensure that the system is working efficiently, studying workload and the network’s capacity. When the tech support specialist conducts a cost analysis, he or she lets the company know what to expect when upgrading or purchasing new hardware or software.

4. Tests software and hardware

Even with new equipment or software, there can be issues or incompatibility with existing programs and hardware. A technical support specialist is often tasked with the duty of testing for compatibility and computer components. This is also a way to confirm program objectives and specifications, make certain they operate in accordance with established standards and improve existing programs. If there is an inconsistency or issue, the tech support specialist can recommend changes or make modifications.

5. Oversees and administers data

The security of client, employee and internal corporate information is of prime importance to any organization. The technical support specialist may be in charge of overseeing the company’s data, maintaining passwords, backing up and securing databases, and restoring files when necessary. It’s important that he or she remains professional to protect the confidentiality of the company’s information. 

The skills needed for the job

It goes without saying that anyone who plans to work as a technical support specialist should have an interest in computers and be technically adept. However, there are additional traits that employers look for when hiring technical support specialists:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to make technical information and instructions user-friendly
  • Strong customer service standards
  • Patience
  • Ability to multitask
  • Analytical ability
  • Above-average problem-solving abilities
  • Software maintenance and testing
  • Knowledge of database performance

How to become a technical support specialist

Computers play important roles in everyday life, and that means that they constantly need upgrading and maintenance. That’s why technical support specialists are in such demand. MTI’s Technical Support Specialist diploma program teaches you the competencies needed to earn a globally recognized CompTIA A+ certification, an essential starting point for an exciting career in IT.

MTI’s program provides you with hands-on education and a foundation in common hardware and software technologies, giving you skills to support the complex IT infrastructures present in most industries.

You’ll learn to:

  • Install, configure, upgrade and restore PCs
  • Identify security breaches
  • Help end users connect their computers so they can work from multiple locations
  • Configure and service mobile devices
  • Evaluate and choose hardware components to customize systems
  • Troubleshoot and solve computer problems
  • Understand the ins and outs of multiple operating systems

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities in computer and information technology fields are growing faster than those in any other field. Studying at MTI gives you valuable hands-on experience and a working knowledge of most types of computer hardware and many applications. MTI trains you to service and maintain computer systems and networks for small businesses and large corporations. Once you receive your MTI diploma and earn CompTIA A+ certification, you will be qualified for an entry-level position as a technical support specialist.

Get the skills and certification you need from MTI College, and you can help customers resolve their computer hardware and software issues.

The age of Internet technology has come with advantages, certainly, but it has also brought vulnerabilities and new ways for criminals to profit. As computers get smarter, so do cyber criminals. IT security programs are more important than ever to businesses and individuals to help protect them from information breaches and more.

These are the top IT security trends to watch for in 2018:

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)

PC magazine heralds GDPR as the most anticipated and important security factor in 2018. The regulation requires companies that do business in the European Union (EU) to protect the personal data of those they do business with. Those companies that do not comply risk fines of as much as 4 percent of their global revenue. To prepare for the GDPR, which goes into effect May 25, 2018, most companies are performing security assessments and hiring additional security professionals, as well as lawyers.

Ransomware

Ransomware takes corporate “hostages” virtually when cyber hackers infiltrate a company’s industrial or transport automation or control system. They complete control, leaving the owners powerless to regain control. The only resolution is to pay the hackers a “ransom” to restore rightful control to the company. It is likely that in 2018, new targets for cyber hackers will emerge: high-profile or wealthy individuals and home-connected devices. The best course of action for companies is to be proactive – run backups frequently and keep fixing and updating systems.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

AI-based attacks are likely to increase. As machines get smarter and detect network vulnerabilities, so do the cyber criminals who use machine learning to dismantle them. Companies will need to up their game with new AI-enabled security tools, but it’s a good bet that criminals will come up with their own set of cyber battle tools. Some of those tools include new-and-improved spam and phishing schemes that automate intelligence gathering for advanced attacks. Automation or AI also may be used to infiltrate data sources by guessing passwords, and ML can let criminals know exactly whom to target in an organization to get past security protocols.

Breaches

Identity theft and POS (point of sale) breaches, including those of store computers and ATMs, are rising concerns. In 2017, there was a rash of data breaches that affected major organizations, including Yahoo!, Dun & Bradstreet, Saks Fifth Avenue, FAFSA, DocuSign, Gmail, Equifax and Verizon, leaving the personal data of millions at risk. The breaches led to interruptions of service and loss of revenue, forcing companies to patch vulnerabilities and implement better IT security programs.

Spoofing

The creation of fake IP (Internet Protocol) addresses by a hacker to impersonate legitimate sources is known as spoofing. It enables intruders to bypass security measures because of the “trusted” relationships between machines. Spoofing is often used in denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, in which applications or systems are held hostage by hackers, preventing legitimate owners from accessing information or services. The most common DoS attack involves overloading a network with so much information that it is unable to handle the barrage of data. The computer can’t process the request, so it becomes a “denial of service.” In related IP spoofing attack, it attempts to modify a DNS (Domain Name Server) to a specific IP address, which is often used to spread viruses and computer worms.

Unfortunately, new vulnerabilities to our technology are coming about every day, and the need for IT security specialists is growing. MTI College offers a fast-paced, hands-on Network Administration and Security associate degree program that prepares you for an entry-level position as a networking professional. Computer networking is critical to large companies and industries, such as health care and banking, that rely on secure, shared databases. Completing your associate degree in Network Administration and Security, and earning CompTIA Network+ and Security+ certification, may open the door to an entry-level job as a:

  • Network administrator
    You would be responsible for setting up and maintaining an organization’s computer network to keep costs down and production up.
  • Security specialist
    In this important role, you would protect a company’s computer network and make sure that only authorized people could gain access to confidential information. You would also have to monitor the network’s infrastructure and firewalls.
  • Information security analyst
    You would look for security breaches and investigate violations, install firewalls and generally help keep a company’s computer network safe from hackers.
  • Systems administrator
    This job entails taking care of the day-to-day operation and upkeep of a company’s computer network.

Get the skills and certification you need from MTI College, and you can be on the road to fighting cyber crime and protecting our IT security.

If you were to ask Robert Young when it was that he first knew he wanted to be a teacher, the answer would be a little tricky. He has always believed in the power of education and for a long time has felt something of a calling to have a role in its delivery.

But as far as serving as a teacher in the traditional sense of the word, Young, an instructor of information technology at MTI College, never really pictured it for himself.

“I just hadn’t really thought of it. I wanted to do theatre. I’ve always loved doing theatre. But at the same time, I love giving away knowledge and the things I know, and performance can be a powerful way of doing just that.”

Most people might hear “performance” and “information technology” and think there couldn’t be a stranger pairing of academic or professional disciplines. But for Young, bridging the two fields makes perfect sense, and it tells the story of his journey to MTI.

Born and raised in Marin County, Young grew up in a time when information technology, at least the way we know it today, didn’t exist. One thing that did exist, however, was the “starving artist”—a phrase that refers to artists, musicians, and performers who try to turn their passion into a way to earn a living, often without luck.

So while he embraced his love for the arts, he also knew he had to be practical. He began working temp jobs in the banking industry, initially in accounting.

“When I first went to work back then, it was a time when a ‘computer’ was this huge machine in a huge room. It was kind of this mysterious thing.”

As Young continued in the banking industry, he impressed his supervisor with his work and started moving up the ranks. From accounting he transitioned to loan operations, which is where he first started working in the information technology field. Eventually, he became a database administrator, a role he served in for several years.

But after 30 years of working in the field, he knew it was time for a change. “After so many years, you just kind of get tired of the keyboard.”

Throughout all of that time, Young never stopped doing theatre. And he had a particular interest in historical and educational theatre. To him, being able to entertain and make an audience laugh while also learning something along the way—whether they even know it at the time or not—was a powerful thing.

So that’s what he did.

Over the years he’s played the role of many different historical figures, from going into schools and performing for groups of students, to taking the stage as Charles Dickens and performing for thousands at San Francisco’s beloved Great Dickens Christmas Fair.

And at some point, it just clicked. Young realized not only that theatre and performance were powerful avenues for educating audiences, but the craft of performance itself offered tools and skills that are essential for anyone to possess and utilize in the professional world.

“It just all of a sudden seemed apparent. There are aspects of performance that will absolutely contribute to the level of success you achieve, no matter what your profession may be. You’ve got to be able to improvise; you need to understand body language and voice, and how to communicate in a way that puts things in the appropriate emotional context.”

This is what brought Young to MTI. He joined the faculty in 2008 and began teaching the Art of Live Presentation, which is a required course at the College. While professional presentation typically conjures images of PowerPoint and other software tools used to actually lead a presentation, the course also is about teaching all of those soft skills that employers look for.

At the same time, Young’s extensive professional background in information technology also made him an obvious candidate to teach courses with an IT focus, such as Computing Essentials and the Microsoft Office 2013 Pro Suite of productivity programs, to students studying business management, accounting, legal, medical, IT, and cosmetology.

For Young, using technology is about more than simply plodding through programs and a series of executions. What he expresses to his students is that technology is something that has a very real impact on the living experience of people everywhere. Being able to connect with people, whether through theatre and performance or by understanding what they need and want from technology, is what drives him.

“From my early days working in the industry, that’s what interested me. How people relate to technology. And I think that’s the unique thing that my background in theatre brings to an IT setting.”

And he’s found the ideal home at MTI.

“The culture here is amazing. Everyone here is really devoted to student outcomes, which is why our students and graduates achieve the levels of success they do. Students here get a lot of guidance and support along the way. What I would say to a student who’s thinking of attending MTI is that you should expect to come out of the experience as an improved ‘you.’”

When he isn’t teaching, Young enjoys traveling to places like New York City—where he once lived briefly—and London. And, clearly, he spends much of his time away from the classroom performing as a way to entertain and enlighten. He enjoys playing the role of Charles Dickens at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair.   But he says there’s a unique sense of fulfillment that comes from teaching performance and information technology at MTI and seeing the transformation that his students experience.

“For me it’s about service and being there for students who are motivated to achieve meaningful goals. It’s really great to see people become awakened to these dynamics and gain an understanding of how to apply them to their careers. Knowing that I’ve played a part in that feels good.”

You’ve made up your mind that you want a career working with technology. Whether you are just beginning your career, you have career experience in other industries or you work in tech and want a different job, you need to know how to apply for jobs in a way that helps you land interviews.

There are certain things you should and shouldn’t do during the process that is looking for a job, tech jobs being no exception. “What are some of those things?” you may be asking. Well, we’re glad you asked because we’ve compiled a list of dos and don’ts below to help your application get noticed, secure an interview and land a job. Good luck!

DON’T home in on just one company or a few different companies

There is no shortage of tech jobs in need of passionate applicants. Wanting to work for Google might be your dream job, but that doesn’t mean it has to be your first job; nor is Google the only tech company looking for employees. If you decide on having an unwavering staunchness in your unwillingness to work for any other employer, you might be waiting a while to get into the tech industry.

Be sure to diversify the companies you apply to and submit quality applications to each one. A wider net will typically result in landing more fish, or jobs, to choose from.

DON’T emphasize quantity over quality when it comes to applications

Notice how in the previous tip we mentioned submitting quality applications. Putting effort into a smaller number of applications for jobs you can truly see yourself doing will, more often than not, yield better success when it comes to getting interviewed for tech jobs, as opposed to blindly firing resumes at hundreds and hundreds of postings across the web.

Submitting a quality application and well-thought-out cover letter shares more about who you are with the potential employer than a simple resume ever could. It takes more time and effort to craft company-specific cover letters, and while it might not be the most enjoyable process, if you submit a few at a time on a consistent basis, your labor should yield more fruits in the form of job interviews.

DON’T hide your employment experience, even if it seems like it is not applicable

Your previous work experience is valuable when applying for tech jobs for a couple of different reasons. It allows prospective employers to see what you have been up to and what kinds of skills you can bring to the table.

Another reason to disclose your work experience is to harness the power of networking. They can see where you have worked or are currently working, which may lead to the discovery of some mutual acquaintances who, in turn, may be contacted to speak highly of you. Many employers fill jobs by hiring people they know or whom their employees know. IT and other tech industry jobs are no exception.

DO APPLY, even if you do not have a tech-related degree

You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take, or so the old adage goes. Searching for a tech job is no different. Even if you think you might not be qualified and you still apply for the position, you have already increased your chances of landing an interview exponentially. If you have the knowledge needed to do the job but not a degree in computer science, it may be enough in some cases if you are able to demonstrate your skills.

Something on your application may catch the employer’s eye. And, if you never hear from him or her again, that’s basically the worst thing that can happen when you apply. You will not know if you don’t put in the effort and try.

DO differentiate yourself from other applicants

We hit on this earlier in the quality-over-quantity section, but it is important to stand out when applying for jobs in tech or any other industry. Writing a carefully crafted cover letter is a great way to do that. Cover letters allow you the opportunity to tell your future boss who you are, what makes you tick and, perhaps most importantly, why you would be a great fit at the company. Doing that would be rather difficult if you were to simply utilize a cookie-cutter cover letter template. Be yourself and make the most of your cover letters.

DO build your skill set

Are you interested in breaking into the tech industry but worry that you do not quite have the skills or knowledge to start your new career? You might not be as far off as you perceive yourself to be. The IT programs at MTI College are crafted to prepare qualified candidates for the current tech job market.

With a better understanding of what to do and what not to do in your hunt for a position in the tech sector, perhaps you are considering enrolling in an IT program.

MTI College can help you achieve your tech dreams

A stellar education can make all the difference in your pursuit of your dream tech job. Luckily for you, MTI College in Sacramento is proud to offer two unique information technology programs to aid you in starting a rewarding tech career: Technical Support Specialist and Network Administration and Security Associate.

MTI College’s IT programs provide comprehensive computer and information technology training that will help prepare you to be a competent employee in your respective tech specialty. Courses help prepare students for the successful completion of CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications. Network Administration students aim for Microsoft MCSA certification in Windows Server 2016.

As a student in MTI College’s IT programs, you will learn a crucial set of skills you can utilize on a daily basis in your future career. You will have the opportunity to learn from MTI’s knowledgeable and experienced instructors who place an emphasis on your IT education.

MTI College full-functioning lab rooms, small class sizes, individualized attention, and resources from Microsoft Imagine Academy, CompTIA Academic Partnership, and LinkedIn’s Lynda.com.

MTI College Career Services Department offers students a wealth of job placement assistance prior to the completion of their respective programs. MTI’s job placement staff helps students and graduates in their quests for employment with resources such as:

  • Resume-writing assistance
  • Mock interviews
  • Other job-searching tools and resources

If you have a passion for working with computers and computer networks, one of MTI College’s IT programs might just be for you. Explore the advantages of MTI College and begin your journey toward your diploma today.

MTI College can help you realize your tech career dreams. Get in touch with us by visiting https://www.mticollege.edu/.

Sean graduated from MTI College’s IT Network Administration program in November 2015. He chose this degree because he believes it to be a skill that is in high demand and realized it is something he is very passionate about. It took him some time to come to this understanding, but the payoff has been well worth it. Immediately after high school, Sean enrolled at his local community college, bouncing from major to major, unsure of what he wanted to pursue. “I really couldn’t find something that would hold my interest and be able to pay the bills,” he recalled. He began looking into IT at the community college but became frustrated with the timeline. If that was something he was going to pursue, it would have taken him about three or four years, because classes were only offered at certain times and dates. Unfortunately, it was something that was just not able to work out with his schedule. “So, I looked around and tried to find a place to get IT training done,” Sean explained. “I found MTI and I loved them because the whole campus works in conjunction with one another. You never had a problem getting the classes you needed to graduate on time.”

According to Sean, the other main factor that determined his decision to enroll at MTI College was the Career Services department. After his first year at MTI, he would have access to temp agencies and job listings that would be mailed out to him to help find jobs within his field. “The job placement rate, within six months after graduation, was 95% when I was there. It couldn’t be beat. I wanted to go to school, and after I was done, I wanted a job. And a 95% chance I’d get a job after the program? That is icing on the cake.”

Sean’s experience at MTI was both humbling and impactful. “My first year there, I walked in thinking I knew so much about computers and the first several classes were introductory and would be very easy.” Although Sean was innately skilled at IT work, his courses were not as easy as he expected. He had one professor in particular who really made an impression. “He is an amazing human being and changed the way I looked at the IT field. Previously I looked at it as something I was good at. Something I could do to support myself and make decent money doing it. But, he helped mold it into a passion for me.” With both respect and a laugh, Sean added, “He really cultivated me and my fellow students into IT professionals as opposed to computer nerds.”

Prior to MTI, the extent of Sean’s experience was fixing computers for his family members and friends. But now, he just finished signing a contract to work as a PC technician for the Roseville Joint Union High School District. He was drawn to this position because his family is in education, as well. His mother works in upper-level management for a university in California and his father is a professor. This position combines his passion for IT and working in an educational environment. “I love being around people who want to learn,” he explained. His responsibilities will range anywhere from basic troubleshooting, to hardware and software updates, to fixing malfunctioning machines and removing viruses. Previous to this position, Sean worked at a software company as a helpdesk analyst, his official title being Customer Experience Specialist. He would work over the phone with employees, utilizing remote control assistance, for a CRM program that the company had built in-house. Sean would also troubleshoot email problems as well as help people get set up with new email addresses and domains.

Sean’s confidence in his ability to perform well in the IT field is inspiring. He attributed this to how well prepared he was through his education at MTI. “I learned enough there that I have not had any problems at all,” he explained. Not once thus far has he felt he did not know what he needed to in order to succeed. “So far with the credentials I earned there, if I get an interview, I get the job. I’ve only interviewed twice since I left MTI and I got the job both times. Partly because of the credentials I earned that they offered and partially because of the shop courses they had.” Sean also had two courses that were focused on preparing students for their career search. These classes taught him how to interview and how to write a resume. “They taught me everything I needed to know about walking into an interview and making the best possible impression.”

Looking back on his journey, Sean undoubtedly made the right choice. “One of the things that a lot of people don’t realize about the IT field is how fulfilling it could be. Because everyone thinks it’s just sitting behind a computer and typing, but really, in all of the jobs that I have had so far, I very much enjoy the fact that I am making other people’s days better.” Before MTI, Sean was a bit of a wanderer. He did not know what he wanted to do with his life and went through multiple majors to figure it out. He started off in culinary science, then went to biology. From there, he tried chemistry and then nutrition. But now, Sean is fixing problems for people and he could not be happier. “A lot of people discount just how people-oriented the IT field really is. And that’s my favorite part of it. I arrive with a smile on my face and leave with a smile on theirs.”

Moving forward, Sean wants to continue building his work experience to move into a higher-level position. He would enjoy being either a network engineer or a server administrator. He has all of the certifications he needs for a server administrator position because of additional courses he was able to take at MTI. He will have to take additional courses in order to be certified as a network engineer, which he plans on doing soon. In this moment, however, he is embracing how far he has come. “I’m employed. I’m a proud member of society. A few months ago, I was able to move out and am paying the bills on my own. MTI really was the launching platform for my adult, professional life.” He even referred his “better half” to MTI, as well. “I basically dragged her behind me,” he laughed. She went through one of MTI’s healthcare programs and had no problem getting a job in the medical field once she graduated.

Honestly, Sean would recommend MTI College to everyone. “MTI really sparked a fire in me that nowhere else really had. And every day now I go to a job that I love doing. I wake up in the morning happy to go to work. I don’t think that had I picked one of those other fields that I could have said that.”

Throughout history, boys have been encouraged to enter technical fields, and girls directed toward the arts because some have felt girls aren’t as competent as boys in those fields. What a misconception! Although this stereotype of women has permeated the work force for years, corporate leaders—especially those in technology —are rethinking that unfair classification.

According to NCWIT’s Women in IT, women in technology are making strides, but the numbers are not there yet. In the computing workforce, only 26 percent are women; just 7 percent are minority women. Only 20 percent of Fortune 100 companies are led by female CIOs. Even though women do the work, they are not getting the compensation they deserve.

On average, women must work 15.5 months to reach the salary a man earns in 12. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is one of those leaders who is trying to close the gender gap, hoping for a change that will bring equality to the work force and put more women in technology. Many Silicon Valley tech firms—Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Dropbox, Facebook and LinkedIn—are following suit. Last year, they signed the White House Equal Pay Pledge, promising to conduct an annual gender pay analysis and review hiring practices to check for biases.

Although there are still some roadblocks to overcome, there are opportunities. LinkedIn reports that the rate of female technical new hires rose 24.4 percent between 2008 and 2016. That’s promising—especially for women contemplating studying information technology. MTI College is the place to start. MTI’s IT program prepares you for an entry-level position as a technical support specialist.

Women have made tremendous achievements in the field of technology. Perhaps one day you will make your mark in the world as these women did with their breakthrough discoveries in computing, communications and gaming.

First computer programmer, a 19th century royal

Ada Byron, Duchess of Lovelace, could have followed in the footsteps of her famous father, poet Lord Byron. Instead, she chose mathematics—unusual for a female born in 1815. She helped document notes on the “Analytical Engine” that her boss, Charles Babbage, invented in 1843. Ada’s algorithm to help Babbage’s machine count Bernoulli numbers earned her recognition as the first computer programmer. Sadly, Babbage was unable to secure funding, and his “computer” never came to fruition.

Rear admiral at the forefront of programming

Grace Hopper was a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy during World War II, but her other titles included “Queen of Software” and “Grandma COBOL.” She was known for developing English-language programming language, including FLOW=MATIC language that Common Business-Oriented Language (COBOL) was based on. In the 1950s, she was senior mathematician for a company that developed UNIVAC, the second commercial computer produced in the United States. At the same time, she created the “A compiler,” a program that translates source code from one computer language to another. Curiously, Hopper was the first to coin the word “bug” to describe a computer glitch after she discovered a real moth that got into her computer and caused a problem. To honor her legacy, the largest conference of women in technology, Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, is named after her.

From Golden Age of Hollywood screen sensation to Wi-Fi pioneer

In the 1920s, Hedy Lamarr dazzled Hollywood as a beautiful screen star, but during World War II she used her talents to fight the Nazis. She and her co-inventor, George Anthiel, developed spread spectrum technology, an early form of encryption technology. They manipulated radio signals to control torpedoes remotely, forming an unbreakable code to prevent the interception of classified messages by the enemy. The technology was first used on naval ships during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and years later was the foundation for Bluetooth technology, Wi-Fi and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMI).

“Necessity is the mother of invention”

Police were slow to respond to emergencies in Marie Van Brittan Brown’s crime-riddled Queens, New York neighborhood. She took matters into her own hands to keep her home and family safe and secured a patent in 1966 for a home security system that featured peepholes, a camera, a monitor, a two-way microphone and an alarm button that reached the police. Her system was the basis for modern CCTV systems used for home security and police work today.

Bell Labs employees make strides in communications

Talk about multitasking! Dr. Erna Schneider Hoover worked in the technology department at Bell Laboratories during a time that they had an excessive volume of incoming calls. While she was in the hospital after giving birth to her second daughter, Dr. Hoover developed a telephony switching computer program that kept phones functioning during periods of heavy call volume without dropping calls. Her patent in 1971 was one of the first software patents issued.

Another Bell employee, Dr. Shirley Jackson, a theoretical physicist and the first African-American woman to earn a PhD from MIT, conducted breakthrough scientific research that enabled others to go on to invent the portable fax, the touchtone telephone, fiber optic cables and the technology behind Caller ID and Call Waiting.

Contributing toward a big slice of the Apple pie

Back when Steve Jobs was creating the Apple computer, graphic designer Susan Kare worked alongside him as the artist who, in a way, humanized the Mac. She crafted many of the now-standard pixelized interface elements, like the Mac smile, the trash can icon, the invaluable command icon and more. When Jobs left Apple in the mid-1980s, Kare followed. She worked for Microsoft, making Windows 3.0 user friendly, and then went on to do work for Facebook and PayPal.

Small screens and big dreams

Mary Lou Jepsen is an innovative technical executive and industry leader in screen display and imaging. At Facebook, she worked with Virtual Reality. At Google X, she created Google Lego TV. And as founder and former CEO of Pixel Qi in Taiwan, she helped develop low-power, sunlight-readable screens for mobile devices. Jepsen had a dream, however, to provide a computer to every child. She produced the XO, a low-power, low-cost notebook prototype for the nonprofit she co-founded: One Laptop Per Child. Her latest endeavor is Openwater, a company she founded with the goal of using a high-resolution 3D camera to see far into the body with explicit detail.

Fun and games that pay off

A pioneer and visionary in the graphic adventure games industry, Roberta Williams is best known for her PC adventure game series King’s Quest, which has had seven sequels. She and her husband, Ken Williams, founded Sierra On-Line Systems (later known as Sierra On-Line). Roberta popularized the gaming industry with her games’ intricate storylines and complex puzzles that enticed players to fight their way to victory.

Technology’s potential is limitless, and job growth looks good. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for technical support specialists is expected to grow faster than average for all occupations. Industry leaders continue to acknowledge the importance of female workers and are vowing to employ more women. If you would like to be among the growing list, MTI College can help prepare you for a career in technology.

Frank Devai graduated the IT – Network Administration program at MTI College in October 2016. Frank moved from Los Angeles to Sacramento with his family when he was just two months old. His dad needed a job, so they relocated, and Frank has lived there ever since. As a young adult, Frank began his educational experience at Sierra College, but he had little direction and much distraction. Around this time, Frank and his wife happily welcomed their first daughter. It was then that he decided he needed to start working to provide for his family. Putting his education on hold, Frank decided to start picking up odd jobs here and there. “I had every odd job under the sun – delivery driver, fabricator, construction worker. When you have a little one and not much education, you do what you have to do.” He was also able to pick up smaller, non-enterprise IT jobs. He would work for several months in small companies as needed, being the sole IT guy on site. He experienced IT work in a small manufacturing company and mom-and-pop shops. These smaller jobs were good experience but did not allow for IT to be Frank’s main focus. However, as Frank gratefully stated, “MTI College afforded me the opportunity to change that dynamic.”

MTI College allowed Frank to truly revisit his career options moving forward. When asked about his overall experience, without hesitation, he replied, “Incredibly positive.” He further explained how valuable his fellow classmates were to him. He made friends with many different people. In particular, he became part a group of about eight or nine people who continued to have the same classes together, building that bond even more. “Those guys are my friends for the rest of my life. The connections that I made, the people who became my friends, I feel like I’ll have forever.” Another vital aspect for Frank was his instructors. “The professors in the technical program are some of the best teachers I’ve ever had,” he explained. He referenced two professors in particular who would work all day and then come straight to MTI to teach class. “Whether it was a good or a bad day, they would always be honest about their experience so we could be prepared for the real world. They held us accountable. I credit them a lot for shaping how I work today. I had really positive interactions with faculty there.” More specifically, Frank had a speech class that was also utilized to help students with interviewing. Essentially, every class was set up as if students were interviewing for a job. Frank expressed how this course made a significant positive impact on how he began moving forward once he graduated, saying that it gave him self-confidence and the ability to present himself in the best light. Other classes he enjoyed were his CISCO, security and server courses. Frank laid it out like this: “From year 1 to year 2 is like going from JV to varsity. The speed and amount of information we were expected to absorb was a dramatic difference. At first it was overwhelming, but it trained me to roll with the punches and work as hard as I could. If other people are able to do it, I’m able to do it.”

Today, Frank works as a tier 1 technician for a construction company. He has only been there for about four months now, but his role has already evolved. He has been trained to be the enterprise license manager as well as the head of the PC Replacement team, which consists of five people who report directly to him. This goes to show how hardworking Frank is and how well-prepared he was for a full-time role in IT. On a daily basis, he works with robust construction software. If machines are broken or outdated, it is up to him to determine what is required for each machine, working on the technical side to get the appropriate information. Also, his team approaches him with various technical problems, which as a manager he is there to help resolve. In regard to the licensing aspect of his position, Frank is responsible for ensuring the company’s software remains fully licensed, negotiating licensing contracts, and making sure all software remains current.

What lies ahead for Frank? According to him, he will continue to strive at being the finest mediator between his eight-year-old and four-year-old daughters, as best he can. Besides these heroic fatherly duties, however, he will also continue learning everything he can about the field he is in. “I have a passion for technology, and I want to increase my knowledge and build off of the tools that MTI gave me. I want to make a difference wherever I end up.” Not only does Frank have a great sense of humor, he also has a good heart and an incredible work ethic. He wants to “essentially help others work through the same problems I had. I just like to do a good job, be technically competent and see how high the ceiling goes.” When asked to share some advice for students so they too can become as successful as him, Frank quickly replied, “Show up to get a parking spot. The parking lot fills up really fast.” After sharing yet another laugh, Frank ended on a more serious note. He explained his experience in a way that everyone could relate to. Throughout his time at MTI, he realized that no matter how overwhelmed he was feeling, even if other people were not openly expressing it, they felt the same way. “If you’re struggling, ask around, share what you’re going through. You might be surprised other people are too.” He encourages all students to communicate with each other, express what they are struggling with. Once he started doing that, other people would share similar sentiments, or another person would find that particular topic a strong suit of theirs and would offer some help. At the end of the day, going to MTI College was one of the best things Frank could have done. As he expressed, “Going to MTI changed my life. I did not have many prospects going forward as far as a career, aside from odds-and-ends jobs. MTI gave me the opportunity to change.”

Every day, innovations in technology come along that make personal and work tasks easier, as well as more efficient. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs in computer and information technology will grow by 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster on average than any other industry.

The rapid growth in technology occupations is partially due to an emphasis on cloud computing, mobile devices and the unlimited potential of IoT (the Internet of Things) to connect everyday items to a central core of operation. This is all good news for all of you technology students at MTI College, who are learning valuable skills that prepare you for a career in IT.

Your training is getting you ready for an entry-level position in technical support, or network administration and security. With technology advancing at such a frenetic pace, it’s not easy to predict what’s going to happen this year and during the near future. However, industry leaders have some pretty good ideas of what’s new in the world of technical support. Here are a few of them.

Consumer-focused IT help desks

As the home and business computer user becomes more tech savvy, the IT personnel supporting them must stay on top of the latest technology and be continually improving response time. Applications are being developed at a rapid pace to upgrade and replace out-of-date technology toward a goal of increasing efficiency and productivity. The desired outcome is end-user satisfaction … and they are demanding it.

  • Quicker help for end users
    IT departments are trying to implement industry best-practice standards, such as IT service management (ITSM) methodologies, to result in speedier and better-quality support.
  • 24-hour self-service support
    Online FAQ support services and resources that help consumers solve their own problems save them time and avoid call-in situations.
  • Live chat and video chat
    These options for IT help desk support are growing in popularity and offer an easy-to-use printable record of the conversation between the support specialist and the end user.
  • Personalized technology
    When customers call in for technical support and their name or phone number is recognized, they really like it. The advantage – and trend – is to make the customer experience easier and faster.

 Mobility challenges

Many companies are offering work-from-home options for their employees, and this has brought new challenges to the IT support realm. With the advances in mobile devices and Wi-Fi networks (sometimes unsecured networks), IT support technicians are having more trouble controlling assets. To help, some companies have opened mobile support departments that are responsible for offsite workers and the IT problems surrounding them.

Security concerns of personal devices

Going along with mobility challenges, employees and users not only want to be able to work from anywhere; they want to work on their own computers and mobile devices. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) means added security concerns for IT support technicians who must work to create a secure, collaborative environment while still allowing these offsite workers to perform their duties from anywhere.

An additional challenge for the technical support specialist is being able to support the large variety of mobile devices in use. This requires being able to quickly understand the particularities of multiple devices, and better tools and networks are needed.

Accessible support

Consumers are demanding and want instant support. Thanks to the Internet and its instant gratification, consumers expect 24/7 access to problem resolution. That means that IT support teams need to collaborate and be accessible problem solvers whenever they’re needed.

Changing roles

Organizations today are using virtualization and cloud services, and although they do not eliminate the need for support personnel, their roles will be modified. To achieve the bottom line of improved process efficiency and end-user satisfaction, IT support technicians will need to help them find innovative ways to use technology, streamline services, reduce costs and meet the demands of end users. Because of the way support is accessed – on mobile devices, personal electronics, screen chats, etc. – IT technicians will have to stay on top of current technology and application trends.

Technology is a driving force of 21st century life and has no plans of slowing down. It’s a demanding field that needs IT support technicians who are committed to quality customer service, proactive in solving problems, collaborative within a team situation and always curious about new trends.

If you are interested in entering the growing field of technology, get the training and background you need at MTI College.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth in computer and information technology fields is faster than that in any other field. By 2018, jobs are expected to grow by 20 to 53 percent. It’s no wonder — there are new products, ideas and technology solutions happening in every industry every day. If you have a passion for computers and technology, why not turn it into a career?

MTI College offers two information technology programs.

  • The Technical Support Specialist diploma program teaches you the competencies needed to earn the globally recognized CompTIA A certification, an essential starting point for an exciting career in IT.
  • The Network Administration and Security associate degree program readies you for an entry-level position as a networking professional, providing the experience you need to earn the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), Network+ and Security+ certifications.

With the in-depth, hands-on training you’ll receive at MTI, you will be equipped with the skills you need to handle the responsibilities that IT careers demand. Let’s dig into whether a technology position is right for you.

Deciding whether a technology career is right for you

Have a knack for computers? If you feel comfortable behind a computer screen, enjoy solving problems and love to learn, a job in the IT field might be perfect for you. As with most careers, having great communication skills will help you go far in this field.

Thriving in the technology field

If technology is your passion, you’ve chosen a good industry that has more demand than supply, according to USA Today.  Why is IT support and network security workers in such demand? Computers and mobile devices play crucial roles in everyday life, and that means that they constantly need upgrading and maintenance.

Systems analyst and technical support specialist jobs are expected to increase by 43.1 percent by 2020. For someone just entering the workforce, that’s a promising outlook. What’s more, technology is important in every industry, from manufacturing to restaurants to health care to government.

Although getting the proper credentials never guarantees that you will find an entry-level job in technology or any field, it is the best way to increase your chances. For computer-savvy job seekers, the odds are even higher.

Learning the skills you need to succeed

If you are the go-to person when family and friends need help with their computers, MTI’s Technical Support Specialist program could be for you. It provides a foundation in common hardware and software technologies, giving you skills to support the complex IT infrastructures present in most industries.

You’ll learn to:

  • Install, configure, upgrade and restore PCs
  • Identify security breaches
  • Help end users connect their computers so they can work from multiple locations
  • Configure and service mobile devices
  • Evaluate and choose hardware components to customize systems
  • Troubleshoot and solve computer problems
  • Understand the ins and outs of multiple operating systems

If you like managing projects, analyzing equipment and making sure components work well together, the Network Administration and Security associate degree program might be the right choice for you. Companies need network administrators, as they play an integral role in almost any large business, regardless of the industry. It’s a career choice for people who like to learn about technology and then put it to use in the real world.

With this program, you’ll learn to:

  • Manage and support Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Work with Linux
  • Use networking simulators to build virtual server-based network infrastructures
  • Design, configure, manage and troubleshoot wireless and wired networks
  • Identify best practices in IT security
  • Understand the principles of network security and risk management
  • Secure a computer network to deter hackers

Technology Careers

Qualifying for entry-level jobs in technology

Studying at MTI gives you valuable hands-on experience and a working knowledge of most types of computer hardware and many applications. It’s the solid foundation you to need to be able to service and maintain computer systems and networks for small businesses as well as large corporations.

Once you receive your Technical Support Specialist diploma and earn CompTIA A+ certification, you are qualified for positions such as:

  • IT support specialist
    You’ll set up, install and troubleshoot a company’s computer and mobile technology and software while working closely with customers and vendors.
  • Help desk technician
    How many times have you had to call in to your Internet provider because of an issue? Chances are, you were speaking to a help desk technician.
  • Desktop support technician
    When your coworkers have issues with their computers, you’re the one they’ll call. You’ll look for network and wireless issues, configure and test their computers, set up new user accounts and format their computers.
  • Computer repair technician
    You could work in the public or private sector repairing and maintaining computers and servers, configuring new hardware, and installing and updating software.

Computer networking is critical to large companies and industries, such as health care and banking, that rely on secure shared databases. Completing your associate degree in Network Administration and Security and earning CompTIA Network+ and Security+ certification may open the door to an entry-level job as a:

  • Network administrator
    You would be responsible for setting up and maintaining an organization’s computer network to keep costs down and production up.
  • Security specialist
    In this important role, you would protect a company’s computer network and make sure that only authorized people could gain access to confidential information. You would also have to monitor the network’s infrastructure and firewalls.
  • Information security analyst
    You would look for security breaches and investigate violations, install firewalls and generally help keep a company’s computer network safe from hackers.
  • Systems administrator
    This job entails taking care of the day-to-day operation and upkeep of a company’s computer network.

 Get the skills and certification you need from MTI College, and you can be on the way to turning your passion for technology into a good career.

Our next faculty spotlight is on John Alcorcha, department chair and instructor for MTI College’s IT department. John has been working at MTI for an impressive 19 years and oversees programs such as Technical Support Specialist and Network Administration and Security. His commitment and hard work have not gone unnoticed, as he has received the Excellence Award from MTI as both a faculty member and as department chair. His own educational background consists of a bachelor’s degree in history from San Jose State University. John holds certifications as a Microsoft Office Master Instructor, a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), and CompTIA A+. He is currently working his way through the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) exams in support of Windows Server 2016. Teaching has always been the route John wanted to take. He majored in history with the intention of teaching it. After college, he did become a K-12 instructor in the New Haven Unified School District in the Bay Area, his alma mater. Teaching at that level was a great deal of fun, however, after a few years, he realized his passion and skill set were better fit for teaching adult learners. He moved to Sacramento and joined the technology faculty at MTI. As John explained in regards to teaching, “I always wanted a career in education. It’s something I always had an interest in. If I truly understand a skill or concept, I know that I can communicate the skill to others. I took advantage of that ability. I have built my career around education to share everything I have learned over the years.”

It is not difficult to see the passion for teaching that John is explaining. He has a great deal of responsibility as the department chair, but still teaches courses each semester as well. As the department chair, John works directly with faculty to support them in their classes. If they need any resources or support he is available to assist them in any capacity. He also works directly with students, even outside of the classroom, to make sure they have what they need to succeed in their program. In addition, he attends regular meetings for the Employer Advisory Board to determine what is needed for the local employer market, making sure students are being properly prepared. He also directly oversees the curriculum in the technology department to implement necessary updates and make sure the programs are up to speed to support student readiness. An advantage of MTI College is that department chairs are still active as instructors every term, working “in the trenches.” This allows John, and all department chairs, to see how the curriculum is looking and be able to ensure proper curriculum updates are being made. It is a very hands-on and successful approach. Therefore, on top of his department chair duties, John teaches all of MTI’s Microsoft Office computer application courses, CompTIA A+ helpdesk support courses, and some networking classes as well. These are the courses that lead to students getting certified, specifically the CompTIA A+ certification. Other exams students will be prepared to sit for are the Security+ and MCSA certifications, all of which are incredibly valuable when looking to obtain a professional position within the field.

John’s own IT background is expansive. As he began to realize making a living with a history degree was a bit of a challenge, he started to enhance his own technological skills. When he started out in the field, it was during the web boom in the late 1990s. He had a long interest in, and natural inclination towards, technology so he started working on the side as a web developer. He also worked a great deal with spreadsheets and databases. With this, John began working at MTI as a computer applications instructor and taught classes in web development as well. “I think the cool thing is that I’ve always enjoyed technology and at MTI there’s always something new to learn. I have been able to maintain my own personal interest in working with web development and computer applications, technology support, hardware, and software.”

With administrators and instructors like John, students learn so much through MTI’s program. The college is a Microsoft Imagine Academy partner, which provides an incredible amount of resources to students in the technology field. Students are provided with Microsoft software and can download additional software through the Imagine Academy store. They receive Windows Server, Windows 10, and other operating systems, saving students a great deal of money. Also, students get access to Lynda.com accounts as part of their program, which provides them with supporting online courses. If a student were to miss a day of class they would have the ability to catch up there as well as the option to take supplemental courses that may not be a part of their program. John is not hesitant in expressing his pride in MTI’s program. “I think I am most proud of the fact that I’ve seen a large number of students, who I am still able to keep in touch with, who are successfully employed in the field.” He went on to say that students end up working in various capacities, whether it be in web development or technology support, for example. It is exciting to John to see students find their own career paths and do what they love. “I’ve been very happy to have had a small part in helping them on their way.”

When asked what advice he would give to both prospective and current students, John had a few things to share. “The biggest thing is to make sure they have an interest in and a passion for learning.” The program itself is challenging and it is a great deal of information for anyone to move through. Students just need to have a genuine interest in learning. It takes a lot of work, but students should come with a motivation and desire to learn. For those who do, there are plenty of resources to help them succeed. As John put it, “For me, I am always learning new things. That’s what I would do if I was working or not. I am very fortunate that I have a job that helps others to learn and I get to continue my own journey of learning on a daily basis.” He powerfully added that “if you have a real interest, something that you really enjoy, then work is not work, it is just what you do.”

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