Frequently Asked Questions
Q1How much does the class cost?
Creating IT Futures’ classes are underwritten by grants and financial donations, so that students can attend classes for free. While our classes offered free to enrolled students, the program costs donors $5,000 per pupil. Our students recognize that Creating IT Futures is an extraordinary opportunity — one that can pave the way toward an upwardly mobile and financially rewarding career path. Our students are committed and highly motivated individuals who are willing to work hard for their benefit and success.
Q2How do Creating IT Futures’ classes work?
We provide IT job training and placement free of charge to admitted students. Our program is rigorous and requires each student to take ownership of his or her success — reflecting the kind of personal responsibility necessary for you to secure and keep a professional job. The instructor shares material in a lecture format, but leaves plenty of time for questions, group projects, hands-on labs and one-on-one attention.
Q3How long does the class session last and how many people are in class?
All classroom-based Creating IT Futures classes take place over eight weeks with one instructor and up to 25 students. The instructor shares material in a lecture format, but leaves plenty of time for questions, group projects and one-on-one attention, as well as hands-on labs. The online-only classes take place over 12 weeks with up to 35 students per session.
Q4How long does each class run and is it every day?
Classes are held five days a week, Monday through Friday, beginning promptly at 9 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m. Students are required to be on time every day; the program allows only one absence and two tardies. Most classes run for 8 weeks. Online classes run for 12 weeks and are held for either 3 hours in the morning or afternoon, depending on which session the student is enrolled.
Q5What materials do I need to take to class?
A pencil and paper to take notes are all you need for class. Textbooks and in-class computers are provided for students. However, students must dress as they would in an employment setting in “business casual” attire.
Q6What does the Technical Support class teach?
IT-Ready Technical Support students learn skills such as building a computer from parts, installing software, troubleshooting problems and setting up and managing networks. They also learn softer professional skills such as communication, customer service and job interviewing.
IT-Ready Technical Support covers these entry-level IT principles and skills, all of which are tested in the final week of class when students sit for the CompTIA A+ certification exam:
- Security: Supporting and securing access to data by properly using authentication, access control and encryption for an organization. Help desk and technical support professionals serve as the front line of defense for any organization.
- Networking: Applying core concepts and protocols and subnet mask to set up and support wired and wireless networks.
- Operating systems: Working with mobile, server and traditional operating systems ranging from Android and iOS to Windows and Linux.
- IT Operations: Using the basics of virtualization, cloud computing, desktop imaging and deployment to support today’s IT infrastructures.
- Troubleshooting: Following and using decision trees for diagnosing, resolving and documenting common hardware and software issues across a variety of devices.
- Technical Support: Applying principles of customer service to help resolve IT issues.
IT-Ready Technical Support imparts the knowledge and skills a person needs to successfully complete the CompTIA A+ certification exam, and then secure an entry-level position within the IT industry, such as help-desk technician.
Q7What does the QA class teach?
IT-Ready QA students learn the best practices for breaking software and squashing bugs. IT-Ready QA teaches you what’s required to test and support software throughout its life cycle, principles of test design, risk management, agile development, and identifying best practices for mobile software testing.
Students who successfully complete this program obtain three certifications that prove working knowledge of software testing and are uniquely prepared to take on an entry-level position as a software QA tester or analyst.
Students train and test for the following industry certifications:
In preparation for this exam, students learn:
- Why testing is necessary
- Principles of software testing
- How to test and support software through the life cycle
- Several types of testing
- How to design various tests
- Test management best practices
- To identify and use the best tools to support a variety of different tests
In preparation for this exam, students learn:
- To identify the differences between testing in traditional and agile approaches
- The importance of communication and constant feedback on an ever-changing project
- Managing risk in an agile project
- Tools and techniques employed in agile projects
- The importance of a people-centered approach to agile projects
In preparation for this exam, students learn:
- What challenges to expect in testing mobile applications
- How to plan and design testing for an increasingly mobile world
- Functional and non-functional testing
- To choose the correct tools and environments for testing
- To automate testing of mobile applications
- Build testing that can change and grow rapidly to meet requirements of an agile mobile market
Eligibility for IT-Ready QA is the same as for our other IT-Ready classes, but prior knowledge of computers and a familiarity with various software packages is preferred.
Q8What does the Business Analyst class teach?
IT-Ready Business Analyst students learn entry-level project management, soft skills and business analysis skills, while earning certifications in CompTIA Project+ and International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) Level 1 – Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA).
Students have access to the CompTIA CertMaster Practice for Project+ and receive additional reading materials/homework to help reinforce the learning objectives. Homework includes interactive activities such as watching videos and reading articles and posting comments or videos with classmates.
Q9What does the IT Core Skills class teach?
Working in the technology field is about a lot more than just understanding bits and bytes. It’s also about:
- Being ready to process new knowledge on a continual basis.
- Knowing how to communicate with teammates and customers—verbally and in writing—to tackle projects.
- Using computational skills to solve problems both of a technical and business nature.
- Feeling confident in presenting one’s ideas to a group.
In our IT Core Skills class, students earn CompTIA’s IT Fundamentals+ Certification while exercising the math, reading, writing and presentation skills that are key to the work of IT professionals. Students also receive instruction in Microsoft Office (PowerPoint, Excel and Word). This eight-week course is designed to prepare the student for additional learning to earn industry certifications for a career in technology.
Q10What is CompTIA A+ certification?
The A+ certification exam is offered by CompTIA, a non-profit trade association and the leading provider of vendor-neutral IT certifications in the world. CompTIA A+ serves as the blueprint for up-to-date skills needed for entry-level IT support and operations positions. It validates understanding of the most common hardware and software technologies in business and certifies the skills necessary to support complex IT infrastructures. The first part of the exam covers PC hardware and peripherals, mobile device hardware, networking and troubleshooting hardware and network connectivity issues. The second part covers installing and configuring operating systems including Windows, iOS, Android, Apple OS X and Linux. It also addresses security, the fundamentals of cloud computing and operational procedures.
Q11What is CompTIA Project+ certification?
The Project+ certification exam is offered by CompTIA, a non-profit trade association and the leading provider of vendor-neutral IT certifications. CompTIA Project+ gives business professionals – inside and outside of IT – the basic concepts to successfully manage small- to medium-sized projects.
Students who pass CompTIA Project+ have the knowledge and skills required to:
- Manage the project life cycle,
- Ensure appropriate communication,
- Manage resources and stakeholders, and
- Maintain project documentation.
Q12What is CompTIA ITF+ certification?
The IT Fundamentals+ certification exam is offered by CompTIA, a non-profit trade association and the leading provider of vendor-neutral IT certifications. CompTIA ITF+ helps professionals to decide if a career in IT is right for them or to develop a broader understanding of IT.
The CompTIA IT Fundamentals exam focuses on the essential IT skills and knowledge needed to perform tasks commonly performed by advanced end-users and entry-level IT professionals alike, including:
- Using features and functions of common operating systems and establishing network connectivity,
- Identifying common software applications and their purpose, and
- Using security and web browsing best practices.
Q13How much money does an IT job pay?
Students who secure paid internships following graduation from IT-Ready generally are paid between $12 and $15 per hour. Full-time, entry-level help desk support positions pay, on the national average, about $48,000 annually for workers with some prior tech experience, with computer support specialists earning an average of $55,000 annually.
What’s important to remember is that when it comes to IT careers, the place at which you start is not the place at which you end. The IT industry offers tremendous opportunity for growth once you “get your foot in the door,” so to speak. Many IT-Ready graduates end up securing additional CompTIA certifications—such as Network+ and Security+ — which, in turn, open new doors of opportunity for them professionally. Systems administrators typically earn $78,000 annually. Your desire to learn and your ambition to succeed professionally can take you great places.
Q14What type of job can I expect to get after completing IT-Ready and where?
Within four months of graduating, 85% of IT-Ready students are working in a paid IT role in local area companies. Technical support graduates move into help desk tech roles, building and maintaining a business’ IT environment and assisting its internal and external customers. QA graduates move into software testing roles. BA graduates move into project coordinator and junior business analyst roles. IT-Ready students who pass their certification exams are eligible for a tech job paying up to $15/hour. IT-Ready graduates are effectively employees of that company on a temporary, contract, or full-time permanent basis. IT-Ready staff remain in touch with graduates to ensure all goes smoothly. ITCS graduates are prepared for additional learning to earn industry certifications for a career in technology.
Q15Do you guarantee a job placement after IT-Ready?
In short, no. But we have dedicated staff members who work with local employers to connect students to jobs. After students graduate from IT-Ready, they may apply for jobs our partners offer. Those positions are not guaranteed; students interview for those positions. However, our experience has been that the vast majority of IT-Ready graduates secure full-time employment in the IT industry within months of their completing the program and earning certification.
Q16Do IT-Ready students receive any college credit for their training and certifications?
Rasmussen College has partnered with Creating IT Futures to offer a 20% discount on all Rasmussen College Programs for IT-Ready graduates that are CompTIA A+ certified. Programs are offered throughout Minnesota, Illinois and other national locations, as well as an online option. Plus, enroll in the Rasmussen College School of Technology programs and, in addition to your 20% discount, the courses Hardware and Software I and Hardware and Software II will be waived toward completion for qualifying students with CompTIA A+ certificates. To learn more, email email@example.com or call 763-496-4596.
Q18Are classes available online?
Traditionally, our courses are offered in a classroom environment only, led by an IT expert who serves as the instructor. We have found the classroom setting critically important for supporting group discussions and hands-on practical labs that foster our students’ learning and understanding. Currently, we have classrooms in Charlotte, NC; Chicago; Minneapolis / St. Paul; Phoenix; Portland, OR; San Antonio; and San Diego. Our partner Per Scholas offers a similar program in Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Cincinnati, OH; Columbus, OH; Dallas, TX; Newark, NJ; New York, NY; and Washington, DC.
Starting in May 2019, we’ll offer two other types of courses: a hybrid course in which part of the class is done online and some in class, to accommodate students who cannot commit to being in the classroom from 9-4 every weekday; and an online-only class for students who cannot physically get to a Creating IT Futures classroom every day.
Q19Am I too old for the program?No one is too old to pursue a career in IT, and IT-Ready accepts students ages 18 and up. Currently, the IT industry is experiencing a profound shortage of both workers and job candidates. What matters most to potential employers is not age but, rather, a person’s ability to learn, adapt and do good work.
Q20What are the minimal application requirements? How does the selection process work?
Students must possess a high school diploma or GED. People who are interested in our classes must submit a formal application, which is available online.
Creating IT Futures staff will interview select applicants by phone to gauge their motivation and interest. Highly motivated and interested applicants will be asked to complete an online workplace personality assessment, which helps us better understand an applicant’s skills for working successfully within a professional environment.
Applicants who successfully complete that assessment and are found to a be good fit for our program will be invited to take written literacy and basic math tests using the Test for Adult Basic Education™ (TABE). You can prepare for the test by reviewing the TABE Study Guide. Applicants must score at least at the 10th grade level on their TABE tests to be eligible for IT-Ready classes or at the 7th grade level for IT Core Skills classes. If they do, we often conduct a face-to-face interview on the spot, so we can learn more about an applicant’s interest and any barriers to training. Online-only students will have their interviews conducted via online conferencing.
Q21Do I have any options if I am not admitted? Can I apply again?
You can apply to IT-Ready more than once. If you are not accepted into the current IT-Ready class, our staff may consider you for future opportunities. Applicants that do not pass the TABE assessment will be referred to our IT Core Skills class or other local programs to help them improve their written literacy and basic math, before being reconsidered for a future IT-Ready class. Applicants that do not pass the workplace personality assessment or interview section of the application process will not be considered for future IT-Ready classes. Some applicants may pass the interview section, but the current class roster is already filled; if that happens, the applicant may be offered a spot in a future class.
Q22What is Creating IT Futures? How is it related to CompTIA?
CompTIA has recognized for quite some time that the IT industry needs more workers —and that more workers need more advancement opportunities. As the IT workforce charity of CompTIA, Creating IT Futures is tackling this industry challenge through research, program development and partnering with companies and other organizations.
We create on-ramps like IT-Ready for more people to prepare for, secure and succeed in IT careers. We particularly encourage IT as a pathway for populations that traditionally have been under-represented in the IT workforce, such as women, people of color and veterans.
In 2012, Creating IT Futures launched IT-Ready in Cincinnati and Minneapolis / St. Paul to bring individuals in need of opportunity into the IT field. Our white paper, "Finding a Sustainable Career in Information Technology: First-Year Results of the IT-Ready Program," reports outcomes from the first year.
Founded in 1998 by CompTIA, Creating IT Futures is registered as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization with the Internal Revenue Service.