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Hot Careers in Tech

Feb 1, 2019

Careers in computer networking technology and cybersecurity are virtually limitless

Diablo Valley College works closely with industry partners to ensure students are job-ready. Our programs offer the chance to launch a new career, or retool for an existing one.

Nick Vasallo teaching AV tech students

Careers in computer network administration, information system analysis and cybersecurity Students on computersare projected to be among the fastest growing jobs over the next decade. DVC offers training to prepare students for work in these industries.

Jobs may involve installing and using firewall and data encryption software, conducting testing, monitoring networks, helping users install new security products and more.

Bijan Houshiar“We use Cisco Network Academy curricula and equipment, and we have courses taught by certified CCNA faculty with over 10 years of teaching in Cisco Authorized Centers. Our NetLab+ membership provides students access to lab outside the classroom. With our subscription to Microsoft Imagine, students receive free software,” said Bijan Houshiar, Program Lead for Computer Network Technology at Diablo Valley College.

“After completing the program, students will be ready to take certification exams, such as A+. Network+ and Security+ from CompTIA, CCNT from Cisco and FOA Cabling,” said Houshiar.

Potential salary:

According to PayScale, the average California salary for a computer / network support technician ranges from $40,000 – $50,000 per year. Network administrator positions may range from $55,000 – $75,000, with management roles coming in at $70,000 or more. Note that some advanced positions may require a bachelor’s degree.

Degrees and certificates:

  • Associate in science – information and communication technology
  • Certificate of achievement – information and communication technology
  • Certificate of achievement – network cybersecurity
  • Certificate of achievement – network technology fundamentals

For further information, visit


Gerardo De La Torre – Computer Network Technology

Gerardo De La TorreGerardo De La Torre enrolled in the DVC Computer Network Technology (CNT) program to further build his technical skills.

“I had held positions with retail electronic companies that offered both computer repair services and home services for repair and networking. While the work was great, without obtaining certifications or possibly a degree, I knew my opportunity for growth would be capped. DVC’s classes did a great job of presenting the skill set I needed,” said De La Torre.

“Many of the classes feature Cisco learning modules and curriculum, which will make the certification exams feel more familiar,” said De La Torre.

De La Torre notes that the CNT program is focused on getting students job-ready, but he also knows that continuing his education will help him grow in his field. After the CNT program, he plans to transfer to obtain a BS in Computer Engineering.

“CNT at DVC is the perfect blend of a college and trade school. I have access to resources that I might not have at a trade school, and also have the opportunity to transfer to continue my education,” said De La Torre.

Create the right mix with a career in audiovisual technology

AV tech studentsThe audiovisual technology program is the latest addition to DVC’s music programs.

“The audiovisual technology program prepares students for employment in the booming AV tech industry. Part of the program prepares students for the Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) certification exam administered by AVIXA,” said Dr. Nicholas Vasallo, Director of Music Industry Studies, AV Technology and Music Composition and Co-Nick VasalloChair of the Music Department at Diablo Valley College.

Audiovisual technicians set up and operate microphones, speakers, video screens, projectors, video monitors, recording equipment, wires and cables, sound and mixing boards and related gear for concerts, sports events, meetings, presentations and news conferences.

Vasallo feels that a career in AV technology might be a good fit if you:

  • Love learning something new every day
  • See the beauty and creativity in projects
  • Tackle hands-on challenges with enthusiasm
  • Are in a band or work as a DJ
  • Embrace your inner geek
  • Want to make a difference in the world

Potential salary:

The AV technology field offers an array of career options, ranging from positions in installation to staging to engineering and more, along with roles involving sales, customer service and management. According to the AVIXA 2017 AV Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis (IOTA) report, the median salary for junior-level positions may run from $36,000 to $40,000, while more experienced technicians may earn $55,000 or more. Positions in programming, engineering or management can run $70,000 or more. Note that some advanced positions may require a bachelor’s degree.

Degrees and certificates:

Associate in science – audiovisual technology
Certificate of achievement – audiovisual technology

For further information, visit


Michael Melo – AV Technology

Michael MeloMichael Melo is an audio engineer, songwriter and performer.

“I have always had an interest in the audio program here at DVC, as it is by far the best program in the area. I commute 45 minutes to attend classes at this college for that reason. I want to better develop my skills as a mix engineer by getting hands-on training, feedback and insight from the awesome instructors in the program. In the long-term, I want to build a production team where I can spend the rest of my life doing what I love with people who have passions like my own,” said Melo.

Melo recently applied for the Music Industry Studies Certificate and plans to obtain the AV Technology program certificate as well. He is also working towards an associate in arts. He also plans to take the AVIXA Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) certification exam and DANTE certification exams to demonstrate his knowledge and skill in the field.

“This program gets you to think about the complexity of sound and how science is used to engineer, control and reproduce that sound. Techies, musicians and electrical engineers meshed into one program. It is quite the experience,” said Melo.

Find your path with a career in GIS / GPS

GIS/GPS studentsGeographic Information Systems (GIS) technology enhances the power of mapping. Global Positioning System technology (GPS) provides spatial data needed for GIS operations.

“GIS, GPS and remote sensing are used as tools in government, engineering and surveying, natural resource management, emergency and hazard management, waste management, public safety, Binita Sinhatransportation and utilities services,” said Binita Sinha, Program Coordinator for GIS/GPS at Diablo Valley College.

The GIS/GPS program at DVC provides training in the most current tools. Students learn field data acquisition techniques using GPS and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers. A course in drone remote sensing will be offered this fall, providing training in geospatial data collection. Use of drones is important to industries that rely on this technology.

“There are many career choices and most students who complete the program are able to find a good fit. Entry-level technicians typically create, obtain and organize data, possibly including field survey and data collection using GPS, or scanning and digitizing paper maps. An entry-level cartographer is responsible for creating and designing maps. An analyst manages, manipulates and processes the data to help make decisions and solve problems,” said Sinha.

Students have found internships or jobs with Contra Costa County IT Department, City of Concord, BART, City of Berkeley, City of Oakland, O.C. Jones and Sons, Contra Costa County Flood Control and the Contra Costa County Public Works Department, among others. Students who have completed the program have moved on to full-time work with companies such as Apple, AECOM, Lawrence Livermore National Lab and Geotech Consultants.

Potential salary:

According to the 2017 URISA GIS Salary Survey, the average salary for a GIS Technician is $47,225 while a GIS Specialist or GIS Analyst may earn over $60,000. Positions in GIS management or GIS programming may earn $80,000 or more. Note that some advanced positions may require a bachelor’s degree.

Degrees and certificates:

  • Associate in science – geographic information systems / global positioning system
  • Certificate of achievement – geographic information systems / global positioning system
  • Certificate of accomplishment – geographic information systems / global positioning system

For further information, visit


Katherine Walton – GIS/GPS

Katherine WaltonKatherine Walton came to DVC with a bachelor of science in earth science from UC Santa Cruz. She was introduced to the basics of GIS/GPS through that program, but realized that she would benefit from deeper skills and knowledge.

“I compared DVC’s certificate program to certificate programs from a 4-year college or a master’s degree. I found that DVC was going to provide me with the same knowledge without leaving me in debt,” said Walton.

“I was hired as an intern with Contra Costa County. Many of the engineers have taken DVC GIS classes, and they reach out to the program when they are looking to hire or include students in projects,” said Walton.

Just one month after completing her internship, Walton was hired as Staff Scientist at Geosyntec Consultants.

“I would recommend the DVC GIS/GPS program. The classes had a good mix of lecture, textbook and hands-on work. DVC also offers night and online classes, making it easy to balance other responsibilities,” said Walton.

Whitney Kirkendall – GIS/GPS

Whitney KirkendallWhitney Kirkendall already had a master’s degree in geophysics prior to starting at DVC.

“After finishing my degree and working as a geologist, I found I was most interested in computational work with a geospatial spin. Completing the GIS/GPS program at DVC gave me the tools to start my career as a GIS Analyst,” said Kirkendall.

Kirkendall is now a Senior GIS Analyst/Developer at Lawrence Livermore National Lab. She develops web-based GIS applications and is responsible for the desktop GIS and python scripting required to support those efforts.

“I would recommend this program to anyone who is looking to develop or refresh their GIS/GPS skills. The coursework provides a solid basis with which to start or advance in your career,” said Kirkendall.