Minnesota West Information Technology Program Prepares Students for Various Careers


The job opportunities in IT today are incredible. Often times when I meet potential students they are unsure of their area of ​​interest. All our majors have a common core of courses taken in the first semester. After the first semester, I meet with the students to make sure they are in the correct major.

With the common core of the courses taken, if a student decides to change major, he can easily change without losing credits.

IT industry certifications are a great way for students to prove their skills to potential employers. In Minnesota West, courses help students prepare for CISCO Certified Network Associate (CCNA), CompTIA A +, CompTIA Network +, and CompTIA Security +. Students taking PC hardware and software maintenance and repair courses can take the TestOut PC PRO certification test for free, and students taking the Introduction to Security course can take the TestOut Security PRO certification for free. .

Minnesota West computer science students will learn and use state-of-the-art tools. VMWare for Virtualization is provided to all computer science students. Students also have access to free operating system software for installation. For example, during the course on operating systems, students will install VMWare and then install Windows 10 in a virtual machine created in VMWare. As technical as it sounds, it’s really easy; or at least that’s after a student has learned how to perform the task.

These tools also help students practice the tasks needed to be successful in their jobs and take certification tests.

I was a computer specialist on the Jackson campus before I started teaching and installed the first IBM PC purchased by the Jackson campus. I also installed one of the first modems purchased by the campus to connect to the Internet.

When I tell this story to my students online, I’m sure they think I’m 110! I tell the story to make students think about how things have changed at a rapid pace, which is one of the reasons why a career in IT is so appealing. There is never a dull moment!

Minnesota West offers a Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) for students in Grades 10-12. I am offering a section of the classroom, CST 1101 Computer Exploration, specifically for high school students.

The Exploration of Information Technology course gives students the opportunity to explore careers and learn about computer hardware maintenance and repair, software development including games, administration network, telecommunications, data analytics and cybersecurity. This is a free online program developed by the Minnesota State Information Technology Center for Excellence.

Minnesota West offers this two-credit course with minimal time away from a student’s high school. Students earn college credit, which can then be used towards a degree in computer and networking technology.

Some students who took this course were not computer science majors and took the course to learn more about information technology and the lingo that comes with it. Since this course is a contracted PSEO class, normal PSEO rules do not apply. If a student is in Grades 10-12 and is interested in technology, they will likely be allowed to enroll. There is no minimum surrogacy requirement.

Fall semester classes begin August 23. Please contact me with any questions regarding majors in Information Technology in Minnesota West at [email protected] or (507) 847-7931.


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