One of the best ways to give yourself financial stability and shield yourself from economic turbulence is to ensure that you have the skills that will be needed by employers in the future. Too many people have lost their jobs not because they weren’t good workers but because their industries died off, such as textile and furniture workers.

It’s probably no surprise to anyone that working with computers offers abundant career opportunities and likely will continue to do so throughout this lifetime and beyond. Nearly everything we do is influenced by computers, such as watching movies, listening to music, ordering food, shopping, and more. Even if you don’t work in computer information technology, you likely use computers every day in your job.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that jobs for computer and information system managers will grow 15 percent by 2024, which is much faster than average for other industries. The median pay for those positions was $127,640 per year in 2014, and that is expected to grow.

The field of computer information technology includes many more positions, including computer and information research scientists, computer programmers, computer support specialists, database administrators, and more.

Here are the basic steps you need to take to get into this hot and growing career field:

Education

Typically, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree to enter the field of computer information technology. You need to pick an accredited program like the one at Gwynedd Mercy that will give you a comprehensive education and help you start your new career on the right foot.

Also look for programs that give you some flexibility in your study program. For example, the program at Gwynedd offers several concentrations to allow students to learn more about web design and multimedia, computer forensics, and business. By adding a concentration to your general degree program, you can specialize in a particular area and make yourself more marketable to potential employers.

Some programs may also let you take courses online, at night, or on the weekends, providing you some flexibility to finish your studies while you are working or taking care of family.

Internships

You can start working in your field while you are still in school. An internship is an on-the-job learning experience. You can either work full time over the summer, or you can work part-time during the year.

Search for internships at companies for which you would ultimately like to work. Not only will you be getting the exact kind of experience you need, but you will also be making invaluable professional contacts. If you do a great job at the internship, you could be offered a full-time position by the company after you graduate.

Even if you are not offered a job by the same company, you can use it as a reference to help you get another job.

Networking

Networking can help you make professional contacts that can help you get your next job. Networking might help you meet someone who later gives you a head’s up about a job that’s not even being posted or get to know someone who can vouch for you to get you an interview you might not otherwise have gotten.

Network as much as you can by staying in touch with former classmates, attending industry events like conferences and seminars, reaching out to potential mentors that you admire, and asking your professors for professional introductions.

The more people you meet, the bigger your network will be and the more opportunities you will be creating for yourself. You can also use networking to get professional adviceĀ  to help you move forward with your career.

Making the move into computer information technology can give you career stability for decades to come. You’ll have great flexibility in the types of jobs you can work, and you can continue your education to expand your opportunities and your salary potential even more.