Stay on Pace: Information Technology

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NICC_ITThe Information Technology (IT) industry has transformed the structure and operation of nearly every industry, product and service.

Whether IT is the primary function of a local computer repair business, or supports the e-commerce systems that processed $107 billion in online purchasing through in 2015 (, this area of the job sector will continually require skilled and knowledgeable professionals.

Our world needs the IT experts who know how to troubleshoot security systems, write the back-end code that keeps computers running smoothly and manage complex networks. Northeast Iowa Community College’s (NICC) IT programs – whether offered as one-day classes, career pathway certificates, diplomas or degrees – meet this ongoing employment demand.

Local companies turn to NICC Business and Community Solutions for the IT training they need to upskill their employees, explained Colleen Callahan, general manager of Dubuque Data Services, a company with 25 employees with an average tenure of nine years.

“We had a very positive experience working on training programs with Northeast Iowa Community College. Our employees enrolled in every single class or training they could want, from Microsoft Windows Server to Crystal Reports, or an A+ course,” Callahan said. “Some companies may not participate in training for their employees because they think it’s too expensive or don’t see an immediate payoff. We’ve always found that if you choose to invest the time to learn new things, you will definitely see a return on that investment in fresh ideas and engaged employees.”

In the near future, Northeast Iowa Community College will roll-out a series of certificates in information technology, a field in which good-paying jobs are growing rapidly in the state.

The first certificate program will require about 50 hours of classroom time and provide basic foundations in information technology. The scope of the course will be wide and provide students with an introduction to programming (desktop and web applications), databases, networking hardware and protocols, information security, and the functioning of the IT help desk within organizations. Having successfully completed this introductory certificate, a student will choose one of two advanced certificates.

The first advanced certificate will focus on programming and require about 90 hours of classroom time. Classes will cover programming theory, program design, testing, and debugging. Students will get hands-on experience writing code in actual languages like C#. In addition, students will learn HTML5, SQL and WordPress – skills that are highly in-demand in today’s workplace.

Alternatively, students can pursue an advanced certificate in networking. In this course, which takes about 120 hours of classroom time, students will learn how to install, configure, and troubleshoot desktop computers and network hardware. Students will be positioned to prove their learning via the industry-recognized CompTIA certification process in computers, security, and networking.

The cost for the first course will be less than $500. Students going on to the programming course will pay an additional $850 while those opting for the networking course will pay an additional $1,250. In other words, for less than $2,000 you can position yourself to get into this hot and growing field! And financial assistance is available for qualified students.

The College offers several other comprehensive certificate and degree opportunities: the Computer Technology, Networking and Programming degree program and five options in the Computer Analyst area – Business and Web Programming, Data Center Technician, Information Security, Mobile Application Development, and Networking Administration and Tech Support.

A $15 million Information Technology, Health, Utilities and Manufacturing (IHUM) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to Iowa’s community colleges is helping the College develop new IT coursework  and programs.

As long as computers continue to dominate nearly every industry in the world, companies will always need highly trained IT professionals to keep operations running smoothly. Be Bold. Learn More.


Our world needs the IT experts who know how to troubleshoot security systems, write the back-end code that keeps computers running smoothly and manage complex networks.

Programming jobs are hot, and the demand for trained workers is expected to grow.

NICC_profile_AndyKeeping up with advances in Information Technology (IT) can be like trying to hit a moving target. Fortunately, training programs through Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) allow professionals to stay on pace with change.

Andy Yarolim, an advertising systems manager for TH Media and Woodward Community Media in Dubuque, recognized a need for more advanced IT project management at his organization and enrolled in an H1B-Skill Up Grant-funded course to sharpen his skills.

The course offered by NICC, IT Project Management Skill Up, arrived at a time when his company would benefit from work flow process improvements for projects of all kinds, large and small, according to Yarolim.

“One aspect that I have been putting in place for myself and hopefully with my organization are templates for project documents. Project documents, such as a Project Charter, Project Scope Statement, and Work Breakdown Structure, are ways to make sure that projects are clearly stated, contain the work that is required to be accomplished – and who is responsible for that work – what will not be included in the project, and the criteria to the successful completion of the project,” he explained.

Andy Yarolim

Andy Yarolim

For large companies, such as Yarolim’s, the implementation of new, advanced IT project management systems make a world of difference – projects can be completed more accurately, in a timely fashion and help to minimize error and cost. His position and range of responsibilities at TH Media and Woodward Community Media also demand a problem-solving mindset and an openness to learn new things.

“Information Technology is an ever-changing field. If one does not continue learning or advancing skill sets, there’s a good possibility that one would be left in the dust,” Yarolim expressed. “While it may be tough to take one’s self out of the daily grind of work activities and responsibilities, the benefits to you and your organization can be significant.”

If you or your employees would benefit from middle- to advanced-skills IT courses, consider NICC your training resource.

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