Question: What does it take to get a good job these days?
Answer: Plenty of math and science.

The average salary for IT jobs in 2012, for positions from Web Administrators, Network Engineers, to Database Managers & Architects was $76,601.
According to David Kotfila, Director of the Cisco Networking Academy at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, “There are five or more jobs for every student we graduate.” These jobs are everywhere, but in the Washington metro area, the need is especially great. “Washington is a major IT center,” explains Louis D’Allessandro, professor of IT at George Mason University. In networking alone, 25,000 jobs are projected by 2018. These are good jobs, too, Kotfila adds. “Starting salaries range from $64,000 a year to $100,000.”
Prep work
It’s a great time to enter the IT field, but how do you get there? The road to IT success is paved with math and science — as much as it is possible to take, says Kotfila. Sadly many students abandon hope of satisfying and lucrative IT careers, because of the math and science involved. “This field is complicated and takes a lot of hard work,” D’Allessandro admits, “but most students are
motivated and do just fine.”
Motivation is key, and kids aren’t motivated by prospective jobs. They are motivated by joy. Jumping in and playing with computer technologies is as important as aceing math tests. We may be failing children not as much in the classroom as out of it. “Where we’re failing kids,” says Dennis Frezzo, Senior Manager at Cisco Systems, “is in conveying the beauty, awe and wonder of the thing — how beautiful this subject really is.” Once students are fascinated by computing, once they fall in love, learning the necessary math is joyous effort, not drudgery. “Children need to be encouraged to tinker, to take things apart,” says Frezzo. “Once they say ‘How does that work?’ they are off and running.” At that point, the math becomes a matter of how they figure out what they want to know.
Real Life
“No matter what you want to do with your life, you need to have some type of computer skills. I think that’s exciting,” says Ashley Covington. Covington got a chance to learn about computing through Cisco Networking Academy courses at Edmonton-Westlake High School. She completed an electronics and computer repair program and landed a job with the Baltimore City Public Schools
network security department, where she assists in diagnosing network and connection problems. She now works part-time while studying information systems and networking at the University of Maryland at Baltimore. “I am very happy and successful in my field,” she says.


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