Originally Published: July 17, 2016 5:55 a.m.
Computer science is ubiquitous in society today. Occupations in this industry flow through all types of small and large businesses providing increased capacity to produce products and services efficiently. Although technological advances require the consumer to learn new and different ways of getting things done, it often ultimately means lower costs to the consumer.
Preparing the local workforce for analyst and technician jobs in this field provide resources for maintenance and expansion of the local economy while also preparing a workforce for business attraction in high-wage IT occupations. Information technology (IT) is defined as the application of computers to store, retrieve, transmit and manipulate data, often in the context of a business or other enterprise. In Yavapai County, 60% of the jobs in Information Technology reside in four occupations: computer systems analysts (those who analyze data processing problems to implement and improve computer systems), software developers (people who design, customize, create, and modify general computer applications software with the aim of optimizing efficiency), web developers (those who design, create, modify, and integrate websites to enhance graphics, performance and capacity), and computer user support specialists (people who provide technical assistance for computer users).
Average hourly wages in these occupations in Yavapai County run from $30.59 and $36.20 for systems analysts and software developers, to $17.72 and $20.31 for web developers and support specialists. Since 2008, jobs have increased in systems analysis by 12%, software design by 5%, web design by 84%, and support specialists by 2%. Preparing youth for employment in these fields is quintessential to the local economy and necessary to provide incentive for high-wage IT companies and professional and technical consultants seeking to relocate in the Quad City Area.
Alexandria M. Wright is director at Yavapai College Regional Economic Development Center. The center provides analysis and services that facilitate economic development throughout Yavapai County and build wealth in our local communities.