Recognized Skill Standards
May 12, 2009
The Information Technology occupational area skill standards were developed as a national effort by the National Workforce Center for Emerging Technologies (NWCET) with major funding from the National Science Foundation in 1999 and revised in 2003. The skill standards describe nine occupations in information technology that reflect how work is typically organized in the industry, and that illustrate mobility and progression among representative job titles. They are: database development and administration; digital media; enterprise systems analysis and integration; network design and administration; programming/software engineering; technical support, technical writing; web development and administration; and cyber security. This summary introduces the skill standards developed for the cyber security occupation.
Importance to Texas
Information Technology skill standards are essential for the preparation of Texas’ future workforce and the development of high-tech careers in information technology, biotechnology, health care, digital media, and other industries.
The Information and Computer Technology industry is one of six industries included in the Texas Industry Cluster Initiative, which is leading the state toward realizing a vision to build the future economy of the state by focusing on strengthening competitive advantage.
According to the State of Texas Information and Computer Technology Cluster Report (Cluster Report) of August, 2005: “Texas has identified six ‘high-tech’ industry clusters as key to its future prosperity at the very time of a precipitous drop in the supply of Texas-grown high-tech-ready graduates, whether from high schools or colleges. This is a broad and multi-faceted societal problem and the concern surfaced consistently in every region of the state. Industry, government, and education sectors must unite to address and attack this problem.”
Among other recommendations, the Cluster Report recommends support for the ongoing creation of dynamic curriculum to better meet workforce needs now and for the future. Skill standards are a vehicle for implementing this recommendation.
The Cluster Report indicates that Texas ranks 2nd nationwide in the number of high-tech workers, in the size of the high-tech payroll, in the number of businesses and in the value of high-tech exports. As an emerging occupation, there is little occupational data available for the cyber security occupational area. The military presence in San Antonio and South Texas has helped those regions develop recognized expertise and industry in this occupation. As more and more companies are impacted by hackers or illicit activity taking place on their networks, more investment in security will be required, creating an ever-increasing need for qualified security and computer forensics professionals.
Kingwood College’s Computer Information Technology program’s industry advisory committee requested that Texas recognize the NWCET Information Technology skill standards on behalf of its member Texas employers including: Hewlett-Packard Corporation, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Hospital, Fiesta, and AIG Technologies.
The NWCET skill standards were recognized on March 2, 2004.
The skill standards’ recognition was extended on May 12, 2009 at the request of the National Center for Information and Communication Technologies.