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IT Career Expo Attracts Top Companies, Hundreds Seeking High-Tech Jobs

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Over 500 students were able to network with IT firms, school districts and municipalities from across the region at South Texas College’s 11th annual “Light IT Up” Career Expo held at STC’s Pecan campus. STC Image
Over 500 students were able to network with IT firms, school districts and municipalities from across the region at South Texas College’s 11th annual “Light IT Up” Career Expo held at STC’s Pecan campus. STC Image

Texas Border Business

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By Joey Gomez 

McALLEN, Texas – Hundreds of students packed the halls of South Texas College’s Cooper Center recently for their shot at landing high-paying and prominent careers in the Information Technology industry.  

STC’s 11th annual “Light IT Up” Career Expo was held at the college’s Pecan campus. Over 500 high school students attended along with 13 external IT companies which included school districts and municipalities from across the region.

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“We do this for our students,” said Angelita Teniente, STC Information Technology assistant program chair and coordinator of the annual event. “We want to them to have someone to talk to about industry certifications and what a day in the life of an IT professional is all about. This is their opportunity to break into the business because some of these companies are actively recruiting and hiring.”

Overall employment in computer and information technology occupations, which includes those that create or support computer applications, systems and networks, is projected to grow 15% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau and Labor Statistics.

The increase is expected to result in about 682,800 new jobs over the next decade. More than 418,500 job openings each year are projected to come from growth and replacement needs.

The median annual wage for employees in the field was $97,430 as of May 2021, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $45,760.

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“The job outlook for a student seeking a career in IT is very promising. Through this event, we can show the students what’s out there,” said Juan Betancourt, a Career and Technology instructor with McAllen Independent School District and a graduate of STC who received an associate degree as a networking specialist in 2000. “As a teacher, I am only one person looking to get them familiar with this industry, but here they are able to talk to representatives within multiple companies, so they get a good idea of what it’s like in the real world. There are a lot of opportunities here in the Valley waiting for them.”

Jose Solis, owner of Communications Etc., an IT firm based in McAllen graduated from STC in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in information technology. Remembering he was once one of those students attending hiring and networking events, Solis said he can relate to students looking to break into the industry.

“I attend many expos and events that are IT-related, and the good news is there are a lot of opportunities available for students, especially now with all the exciting developments taking place with technology,” Solis said. “There is a lot of need for qualified technicians in this industry and I encourage students to continue with their education at South Texas College. Technology is always changing, so it’s extremely important for students to keep up with the new equipment and new advances.”    

Liliana Maravilla, an STC student working towards an associate degree in information systems, was among those attending the expo. Seeking a career in data analysis, Maravilla said she was taking advantage of the opportunity to speak to representatives from companies in attendance.  

“This is extremely important to my career and my major and I wanted to get informed about all aspects of this career field and just see what I like,” Maravilla said. “Students need to be informed about all the different branches in this line of work. It’s also an important checkpoint so we know what kind of experience and certifications we need so we can get employed.”

 Teniente, who coordinated the first Expo in 2012 said what began as a small networking event with a few staff and faculty at a table has grown into a vital resource for IT professionals with the assistance of the business community.

“When we started this, I couldn’t have imagined how big it would grow,” Teniente said. “This is one of those industries that is utilized everywhere. You would be surprised how many companies or businesses have an IT department, even for those looking to make an impact on social media or on their company webpage, these careers are here to stay.”

For more information on Information Technology and computer-related programs at STC, visit bachelors.southtexascollege.edu/cit/.

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