The Information Technology Support Associate (ITSA) Program has a new focus to help high school students develop the latest, sought-after IT skills.

The ITSA IT Security concentration helps students learn the basic premises of privacy and security in a networked or home-Internet environment. Basic threat analysis and mitigation are covered. Students examine security devices and appliances such as firewalls and cryptographic servers. Various important Internet-based security protocols are investigated.

The ITSA Database Systems concentration introduces students to the concepts involved in designing, using and accessing home and small business databases. Students create representative databases using software such as Microsoft Access, Microsoft SQL Server and MySQL. Once the database has been created, they learn how to populate it and perform queries to access data in the database.

“The two new concentrations are innovative and timely extensions of the ITSA core program. Students with these skills will be well prepared to further their education in technology, and be an asset to home-based businesses and computer users,” said Paul Swinwood, president of the Software Human Resource Council, which developed ITSA in conjunction with industry leaders.

The ITSA program prepares secondary school students with technical, business/entrepreneurial and employability/essential skills. The program is delivered through a unique business simulation model. Students work in teams to establish and operate their own computer sales and service organization. They complete two projects in grade 11 and two projects in grade 12, related to their chosen concentration. This flexible format allows the potential for a class to have some students focusing on ‘computers-networking’ related projects and others on the ‘security’ or ‘database’ related projects.