About the program
2 year programs
Computer Information Technology
If your passion is less about developing software, but more learning it, and teaching others how to use it as well, then being a Computer Technician might be a good job for you! Keep in mind, working with hardware is only part of the challenge of a Computer Technician. Someone has to keep up with the network, maintain the software, and answer any user issues that a user might be experiencing.
As you will begin to notice, very little people know as much about technology as you will. Like a detective, it is up to you to decipher what caused the issue, what needs to be done to resolve it. Part of solving answers is being ablt to to know the right questions to ask the end users since they are the ones using the equipment all day. Just like a real detective, the people being interviewed aren’t professionals, so you can expect to be give some difficult to understand challenges.
Being asked “to install Malware on my computer” is actually a reference to an update for the Malwarebytes antivirus. Getting a call about “The Internet being down,” is code to a singular device having network issues. Since the likelihood of the most critical hardware for your company going down is much less likely. That being said, you might experience times when the network truly is down, but rather than having 1 upset user, you will have many non-stop complaints and the phone is ringing constantly.
If working with technology and helping others is something you enjoy doing, then Information Technology might be a good degree for you!
All the devices in your company needs to be connected, and they all need to provide Internet capabilities of some kind. This doesn’t just magically occur; it takes someone like you to do this! You can expect to work with servers, routers, switches, and anything that can establish a connection. You will be responsible for establishing protocols, opening/closing ports, providing security among the network, working within an IOS to issue commands and set things up, etc.
Software works perfectly fine exactly how it is intended, so why would anyone every have an issue using it? Well, as much as every developer, and even technician might believe or hope this is to be true, it really isn’t. There are a ton of moving parts, a lot of things can go wrong, and working at a Help Desk, you will find out 100 ways this software or device you thought was perfect could break. You will deal with troubleshooting issues, answering calls, resetting passwords, gaining remote access to client’s computers, creating tickets, and doing whatever is necessary to solve the computer related problem the user is experiencing.
There are times when you might be contracted to work for many different businesses. Or maybe the company you work for has many different branches. As a field tech, you will travel from place to place maintaining the equipment and setting up new devices. If enjoy technology, but hate working in the same place over and over, then this job might be interesting to you.
Software development has become a significant part of our culture and is used to perform various activities many of us all take for granted. You can use software to make a phone call, pay for something online, or even play a video game. In fact, you will find anything that has computer equipment of some kind will require software to control it.
Coding requires lots of critical thinking, patience, and discipline. While coding is exciting, you won’t find it to be quite exciting as it appears in the movies. One does not simply figure out how to write software in a matter of seconds. Instead, you will be working on a team to accomplish 1 small task of many that are required for this software to work. Applications like windows, Google, or Facebook take hundreds of employees to develop over an extended period of time!
There are 2 common types of programmers, those that work front end, and those that work backend. When working on the front end, you can be given tasks like developing the UI on a website, where you will work on things like buttons, navbars, etc. You will be responsible for anything the user visually will see when they interact with an application. Then, there are backend developers, who worry more about what happens behind the scenes. How does that calculator work, what is allowing this website to authenticate with user accounts, etc. In this degree, you will be able to work with both. Generally, you will find that you revolve strongly around 1 or the other.
You cannot just assume code works perfectly how you wrote it. There are many moving parts, which means there is plenty of room for error. One common task you will find yourself doing is constantly writing out tests to ensure the code works as expected. As the code gets improved, the tests must change, when you fix a feature, a new test will need to be made again, and so the cycle continues. So now when the code gets released commercially, you will have proof that it works as intended!
Whatever path you choose with this degree, know that there will be a team behind you to get the task accomplished! If you enjoy building things that make a huge difference in people’s lives, then this is the right job for you!
As a software developer, you might find yourself working with languages such as Java, Python, C#, or whatever language your employer requests of you to develop in. Some tasks you can be expected to perform might be creating a timesheet for employees to sign into, or maybe a purchase requisition application. You will find this path to be more focused around developing in the back end.
As a web developer, you will work primarily on designing the layout of a website. Some important skills to have will be knowledge in HTML, CSS, and JS. It will be your job to take all of the tools developed from the backend and actually put them to use. You might find yourself with tasks such as designing the webpage for a timesheet application or creating a blog page. This position will have much more creativity, and you might even find yourself working with applications like Adobe Photoshop to create the art that gets placed on the website.
Student Developed Applications
Author: Alex Life
4 year programs
As a cybersecurity expert, you will be the front line of defense, fighting online crime and ensuring exploits are caught and taken care of before they cause too much damage. Cyber crime is a real threat, with billions of dollars having been lost due to data leaks, exposed trade secrets, hardware damage, and much more. With the 4-year program, the courses will revolve around cybersecurity, as well as more advanced networking and hardware maintenance.
The criminals are going to find a way inside of the system whether you like it or not. So, as a penetration tester your goal is to push the limits of a system and find out what these weaknesses are so they can be taken care of. You may find yourself using social engineering to get into a secure area, using software to try and take down a network, and doing whatever it takes to stress the system and prove that this network is battle ready.
As a sys admin, you will remotely control hundreds of devices on your network. You will be responsible for pushing out updates, keeping up with software licensing, and ensuring business requirements are established. You will be able to speak with the businesspeople of your company and be the persuasive first line of defense into getting the equipment needed for a fully functional network. Unfortunately, most people won’t notice you unless something goes wrong, so it is your job as the sys admin to demonstrate the importance of the program to others. You can be expected to present new technology and even train users on security best practices.
With a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, rather than being responsible for writing and maintaining any piece of code, you could be the one that designs the software for others to create. You could be tasked with leading a small group of programmers, or maybe you could work for a big company like Google or Microsoft! Getting a BA will increase your salary and improve your job availability in the market. You will find this to be a common option for students attending WVUP.
You will be responsible for establishing the business rules that were given to you by your superiors. Something like establishing purchase requests over $2,000, or setting the rules for auto-renewal of a subscription. You don’t code this yourself though, that is the job of the Software Programmer. Simply wanting something to occur and saying “Go do that” isn’t nearly that simple. What you request has to be possible, and you need to be able to do research and have a clear understanding of the technologies, frameworks, and business rules that make a project possible! You will be like the architect, creating the blueprint for the programmers to apply. If the structure is weak, the program will turn out badly. It is reasons like these that make Software Engineers a very sought out profession!
When you are playing your favorite video game, someone had to develop the landscape in the background, or the physical players that you are controlling. As a game developer, it is your job to ensure the code depicts the creative vision of the game writers, sound technicians, etc. When you are playing a game like Doom, how does the sound of the weapon, along with the landscape play a role in the overall story of the game? You are the one that puts these two things together to add to the overall story of the game! Game developing can be an incredibly fun career where you can mix both hobby and career together.
While some jobs allow employees with an Associates degree to become a programmer, if you have a bachelor’s you will be in much higher demand. As a computer programmer, you will find yourself being the person who writes the code that a software engineer will instruct you to develop. You might be given a business rule to follow, such as “When will the auto-renewal of a subscription occur” and then be expected to code this. For beginners landing their first job, you might find yourself doing a lot of testing more than developing. It all depends on the competitive nature of your job. Are you 1 of 10 developers, or 1 of hundred developers. This will play a huge role on what position you might start off as when you are hired.