With the data center industry booming in northern Virginia, Northern Virginia Community College is partnering with the data center community to pilot a course to prepare students for this expanding career field.
The new program, “The Engineering Technology: Datacenter Operations Technician,” is meant to be a bridge between unskilled high school graduates and entry-level data center workforce.
NOVA is developing a curriculum and classes to fulfill entry-level job requirements at data centers. To facilitate hands-on training, NOVA is working with local businesses to create a lab data center, which will provide a realistic data center environment. Classrooms will be outfitted with the latest trainers, testing and demo equipment to mimic job requirements, officials said.
RagingWire hosted 50 Loudoun high school students Tuesday at its Ashburn VA2 Data Center to tour the facility, learn what the daily work is like and hear about NOVA’s new Data Center Operations specialization, to be offered for the first time in the fall.
After the tour, students listened to a panel discussion where data center employees shared their experiences.
RagingWire's Supervisor of Critical Facilities Operations Charles Wade shared that he transitioned from a job that required mechanical knowledge to one that required electrical expertise. He urged students to be ready to explore all kinds of opportunities.
“Don’t limit yourself,” Wade said. “I came here not knowing anything about electricity, but I worked my way up to a supervisory role. It’s been a great ride.”
Wade also advised the students to ask questions if there’s something they don’t know.
"That’s the only way you’ll get ahead,” he said.