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Irvine Valley College Computer Information Management Professor Michael Salviani Feature Story
The world of computing is constantly changing, and Michael Salviani, a Computer Information Management professor at Irvine Valley College, is constantly updating his knowledge to keep up with it.
“In this career, the things I taught 10 years ago may not be relevant now,” says Salviani, who frequently attends conferences and workshops to keep up with the ever-evolving field. “You have to keep up to date with it.”
As a child, Salviani had always been interested in computers.
“When I was a little kid, my parents got us a computer,” Salviani says. “I took it apart and put it back together so many times that I wore out the screws.”
After graduating from high school in New Jersey, Salviani spent two years working toward a degree in computer engineering at the University of Illinois, but decided he wanted to work and travel instead. He joined the Air Force, where he spent 12 years with assignments in Hawaii, Georgia, and Fresno.
Being in the service enabled Salviani to earn his bachelor’s degree at Hawaii Pacific University and a master’s in business administration degree at Fresno State University. He also earned a master’s degree in Networked Systems at the University of California at Irvine.
While stationed in Fresno, Salviani worked as an ROTC instructor at Fresno State. “Through that assignment, I discovered I really loved teaching,” he says.
After leaving the Air Force, Salviani worked as an Information Technology project manager for the City of Beverly Hills before coming to Irvine Valley College. This experience is critical according to Salviani.
“The instructors have been in the industry for years,” he says speaking of himself and his IVC colleagues. “I know the functions and the operations of the jobs and careers that students will be going into. I can give students real-world examples.”
Salviani also observes that while information technology is a growing field with plentiful job opportunities, universities aren’t offering degrees in the field.
“The IT field is lagging behind,” he says. “We need more people in these fields, but the four-year universities aren’t training people. Community colleges fill a big niche there.”
Entry-level jobs in computing often pay $60,000-$70,000 a year, with jobs ranging from Computer Support Specialist to Help Desk Technician. Cybersecurity jobs are particularly in-demand, with a negative unemployment rate – meaning more openings exist than there are people to fill them.
Irvine Valley College offers associate degrees in Computer Applications, Information Technology, and Web Authoring. It also offers short-term certificates that provide training in a wide-range of computer applications and systems. Courses in the program are designed to prepare students for immediate employment, professional careers, and/or transfer to a four-year university. The program combines classroom lectures with hands-on training in a laboratory setting.
To make things even better, textbook costs for students in the program have been nearly eliminated by the adoption of free online resources. Additionally, first-time, full-time students can attend the college for free through the Irvine Valley Promise program.
Around Orange County, community colleges are working hard to interest future students in computers and cybersecurity through a Strong Workforce-funded mentorship program called CyberPatriot. Part of a nationwide cyber education program for middle and high school students, CyberPatriot puts on the largest cyber defense competition in the country. In addition to offering free training and resources for regional CyberPatriot clubs, IVC also hosts competitions.
It was through CyberPatriot that Salviani met one of his department’s star students, Michael Franklin. After Salviani introduced him to IVC’s IT courses, Salviani started with the Computer Essentials night class while still in high school. As a result, Franklin was able to earn the CompTIA A+ certificate, a cornerstone credential for the IT and computer industries.
“It was a good opportunity to get a head start,” said Franklin. “I am grateful for him and the opportunity to take that [first] class.”
In the end, Salviani remains committed to helping students find fulfilling careers in the IT field. Why?
“There are so many opportunities!” Salviani says.