Ivy Tech Community College is preparing to offer a new academic program, Cloud Technologies, aimed at closing Indiana’s skills gap and qualifying graduates for jobs in high-paying, in-demand career fields.

Graduates with an associate degree would qualify for employment as system administrators as well as other career fields. In Indiana, the mean wage for system administrators is $38.39 per hour and the annual mean salary is $79,860, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Students can start introductory coursework in spring and take more of the advanced program-level classes in fall.

Cloud computing refers to running software and services on the Internet, instead of locally on a physical computer or server.

“When we talk about the cloud, we’re talking about providing services and infrastructure through the internet, in the most basic of terms,” said Melanie Hurst, Ivy Tech department chair. “Instead of having huge server rooms like we used to have, we now purchase space on say Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure services, and they provide the big, massive server room and we just rent space off of the products they provide.”

The cloud is composed of a network of servers that make up the internet. Fortune 500 companies across the United States and globally are investing billions of dollars to adopt cloud platforms as part of their digital transformation, according to Ivy Tech.

Cloud technology is an emerging field and much in demand, Hurst said.

“There are a lot of companies right now that are not able to take on the projects they want to take on as far as converting a lot of their equipment, infrastructure and software to a cloud-type environment,” Hurst said.

“That’s because we just don’t have enough of these cloud technology employees in Indiana,” she said.

Last year, there were 14,000 jobs in the cloud technologies that went unfilled in Indiana. “That’s a significant number,” she said. “That’s one of the things the state is hoping to improve as far as workforce training.”

The program is brand new and will include a certificate aimed at information technology professionals who need to upgrade their training. Ivy Tech also will offer an associate of applied science for students “that maybe need a little extra education in the basics along with the cloud technologies,” Hurst said.

Certification takes one year, while the AAS program is two years.

For those interested in the two-year degree program, “We start people from hardware and software basics and build skills up through a lot of hands-on experience and hands-on training,” Hurst said. “As long as you have an interest in computers, you are good to go. We can hopefully get you trained up.”

The average salary range in Indiana for a systems administrator is $30 to $38 per hour, she said.

Training more people in Cloud Technologies is important for the local and state economy, she said. “If we don’t have people trained in this emerging technology, it’s going to keep the emerging technology dragging instead of moving forward at a pace we need it to move forward.”

Those pursuing the programs can earn industry-recognized certifications:

• Current information technology professionals can earn the Ivy Tech cloud administrator certificate and obtain the following certification: Amazon Web Services Cloud Practitioner, AWS Solution Architect and Network+.

• Ivy Tech also will offer a technical certificate and Cloud Technologies associate of applied science degree. Associate degree graduates will earn: CompTia A+, Network+, Security+, AWS Cloud Practitioner, and AWS Cloud Solution Architect certifications.

Individuals could start pre-requisite classes in the program in spring and start program level classes next fall. Information can be found at ivytech.edu/cloud-technologies. Ivy Tech spring classes start Jan. 9 and enrollment is open.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at sue.loughlin@tribstar.com Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.

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