Career Pathways

IT & Innovation

IT & Innovation Consists of: Data Centers, Software, Defense Technologies, Fintech / Financial Security Software, Healthcare IT, Smart Infrastructure, Autonomous Vehicles, Energy, and Solar & Water Technologies.

Industry Resources

Spotlight on Success

IT & Innovation continues expanding its presence in the region. Areas of excellence include corporate IT operations, telecommunications infrastructure, and software development. A crosspollination of IT jobs are represented in all high growth, high-demand as well as support sectors.

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Business Success Story—Emtec, Inc.

Emtec, Inc., An IT Strategy and Consulting, Digital Transformation Company

Emtec, Inc., an IT Strategy and Consulting, Digital Transformation company recently relocated its global headquarters to Jacksonville from Pennsylvania. The company has worked in the Jacksonville market for 18 years; they are interested in continuing that work as well as expansion in cybersecurity. To keep up with demand for talent, Emtec has taken a proactive approach, particularly regarding their internship program with Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) students.

In conjunction with Emtec, DCPS sponsored 105 student interns in summer 2019 who were selected from 10 schools to work on 75,000 computers to perform a preventative maintenance cleaning and reimaging prior to the new school year. Students receive a week of training which equips them to travel to various schools and refresh student and teacher laptops as part of imaging and cleaning teams. The program has blossomed from its inception 5 years ago in which fewer than 10 students were involved. While students have a great deal of responsibility for costly equipment, they have “risen to the challenge and gained important soft skills,” according to Doug Goodall, Managing Director of Emtec Infrastructure Services. Students work 32 hours a week at $10 per hour.

The internship is truly a workforce development strategy. As a result of the summer internship, 10 to 15 students are extended an additional 5 or 6 months with Emtec to complete the yearly PC refresh project. Any students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in IT will graduate with six years of progressive IT experience. According to Mike Marino, Operations Manager, Emtec employees rally around the interns, providing support and expertise. The program has become an important aspect of the company culture.

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From Career Academy to Career Ladder

Lex Walton - Production and Application Support Specialist at VyStar Credit

“They said it paid $10, so I was interested,” says Lex Walton, Production and Application Support Specialist at VyStar Credit Union, of his opportunity as a student intern and student manager at Wolfson High School’s VyStar Academy. “I never thought about going into the financial sector, but that was the start of my IT career.”

Lex learned tremendous lessons while involved in the VyStar Academy in high school in 2012 and 2013. He assisted in teaching fiscal responsibility to other students. He assisted with branch efficiency and modified processing systems. Lex also learned computer repair, which included hardware and software, sparking an interest in Information Technology (IT). Lex learned about the multitude of career opportunities available at VyStar while a high school student. He reviewed active job postings and saw the education needed to obtain IT positions, as well as the average wages he could earn with specific IT skills.

Lex continued working for VyStar post-graduation as a Teller Specialist 1 and Teller Specialist II. These positions allowed him to craft listening and empathy skills, as well as master cash handling and balancing a bilities. Lex knew early on that he wanted to pursue a career outside of direct customer service.

However, his transferrable experience as a teller consistently proves valuable as he grows his IT career. His career ladder has allowed him to interface with customers, the end-users of the apps he works so diligently to support. “I’ve worked with our customers and I know how they’re going to react if technology isn’t working. It gives me a sense of urgency to make sure everything’s right.”

While working as a Teller, Lex continued his education in IT. While at Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ), Lex was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Lex received his Associate of Science degree in Computer/Information Technology Administration and Management and continued on at FSCJ for his Bachelors Degree in Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications. Lex took advantage of scholarship opportunities via Career Source Northeast Florida to assist with tuition. VyStar also provides an outstanding tuition assistance program.

As Lex continued to complete educational milestones, he continued taking new steps in his professional career. Averaging a job change at least every 1-3 years, Lex continues to progress. He has been with VyStar for over 8 years now and only continues to progress.

In his current role in Production and Application Support, he troubleshoots application software issues and ensures successful resolution. Lex is an example of how motivation, strategic planning, and resiliency has tremendous impact. He has successfully leveraged opportunities available to him in high school and college. Lex has taken advantage of the high caliber of education and the high-growth IT occupations in Northeast Florida to craft an enviable career with limitless possibilities.

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Advice from an IT Professional

Jason Holmes - Cisco Network Engineer Bank of America

In 2014, Jansen Holmes began pursuing education at St Johns River State College (SJR State). After working outside the United State for several years, he returned to Northeast Florida and obtained his Associates Degree in Computer Network Engineering. He has also completed the Cisco Networking Academy and is currently a Network Engineer at Bank of America through Select Group.

Jansen was always interested in dissembling and assembling computers. While working overseas, he spoke to many in the IT field and was intrigued. Upon returning to the States, enrolled at SJR State. After observing the other students, Jansen felt like he needed to take additional classes to supplement his knowledge. Professor Bell encouraged him to stick with it and just ask questions. Jansen found he put in many late nights to persist, but he was motivated to succeed and determined to feel comfortable in IT. He flourished in the hands-on classroom environment fixing equipment and learned to manage his expectations about the industry from hands-on, real-world examples. He said, “I didn’t realize how far I had come in a year until I was able to help other people. You have to have a passion for it.”

Jansen shares helpful advice with young professionals entering the IT field, saying, “You get your foundation in school but it’s a totally different world at work. You will be nervous at the beginning, but people will help you. Be sure to run things past people, but try to solve the problem first.” Jansen finds he’s constantly learning and communicating best practices with his team.

“If you like fixing it, it’s fun. There will be long nights when something goes wrong. There will be pressure to perform, but the satisfaction in fixing a problem is great.” He advises that IT professionals hone the skills of paying attention to detail, becoming calm to think under pressure, multi-task, make decisions and think for yourself. Jansen also sees merit in taking advantage of internship opportunities and avoid discouragement when looking for an entry-level job.

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“Have an insatiable curiosity to adapt to changing winds of your environment because nothing stays the same.”

Jason Domizio
Director of Technology & Software Architect, SS&C

“It’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove.”

Keason Drawdy
Senior Cyber Security Solutions Consultant, Emtec, Inc.

"This is one of the most democratic industries you can work in.  People who are self-taught work next to others who have formal education from the best universities in the country."

Matt Obringer
Vice President of Operations, Forcura

“If you like fixing, it’s fun. There will be pressure to perform, but the satisfaction in fixing a problem is great.”

Jansen Holmes
Network Engineer, Bank of America

“Don’t be motivated by fear that you’ll be left behind if you don’t learn to code. You’re a maker if you code.”

Jason Domizio
Director of Technology & Software Architect, SS&C

“I never thought about going into the financial sector, but that was the start of my IT career.”

Lex Walton
Production and Application Support Specialist, VyStar Credit Union