Brittni Hardie, a Computer and Information Science Instructor at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana, was selected by Governor Asa Hutchinson to serve as the Arkansas Data Science and Computing Ecosystem (ArDSCE) group representative for nineteen counties in the southwest Arkansas region. ArDSCE is a statewide community of practice from education, government, business, industry, and nonprofits committed to data science and computing economic growth and workforce development through data-informed education and training pathways for Arkansans. The group works to build and maintain Arkansas’s competitive edge in data science and computing and coordinates efforts to ensure a robust, highly skilled future workforce in Arkansas.
“We are proud to have highly talented faculty such as Brittni teaching students at UAHT,” said Laura Clark, Vice Chancellor for Academics. “She is not only dedicated to training our students for good jobs in technologically advanced fields but also works to create a skilled workforce for our entire state. UAHT is on the forefront of preparing students to fill these in-demand, good-paying jobs.”
Brittni and her fellow instructor, Nicol Sutherland, have been instrumental in developing two new computer and information science programs that begin this fall at UAHT. The college will offer a new Certificate of Proficiency (CP) in Cybersecurity and a new CP in IT Technician. The certificates are designed to lead to an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Information Technology.
The CP in Cybersecurity is a partnership in the CyberLearn Network consortium led by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The consortium will allow sharing of curriculum and instructional resources to provide cybersecurity programs across the state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), cybersecurity is expected to see a 33% industry projection over the next decade, and the expected starting salary is $50,000.
The CP in IT Technician will prepare students to take the CompTIA A+ certification exam. This certification is the industry standard for establishing a career in IT and is the preferred qualifying credential for technical support and IT operational roles. According to CompTIA, it is the only industry-recognized credential with performance-based skills to prove competency. The BLS projects the overall employment of computer support specialists to grow 9% from 2020 to 2030, and the expected starting salary is $30,000 to $40,000.