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Can a Felon Get an IT Job?

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Felons know all too well how difficult life is once they get that conviction. Then when they are released, they have to find a job. While felons may think no one will hire them, there are resources available.

They may have to be willing to begin a different career. This blog post will address the issue of whether or not a felon can get an IT job.

  • What is Information Technology?
  • What Education/Training Does Someone in Information Technology Need?
  • How Much Does Someone in Information Technology Earn?
  • An Opportunity for Felons?
  • Recommended Action

What is Information Technology?

Information Technology (IT) is an area of business that deals with computers, including hardware, software, telecommunications, and information management. Responsibilities range from writing computer software to keeping a system and data secure along with maintaining a network.

Information Technology jobs include:

  • Computer Tech Support – This employee is involved with keeping computers operating.
  • Computer Programmer – He or she writes the computer code to run computer software.
  • Computer System Analyst – This employee researches a company’s needs and recommends software development.
  • Network Administrator – This person runs an organization’s network and performs administrative duties.
  • Database Administrator – This person manages a company’s database system.

What Education/Training Does Someone in Information Technology Need?

A bachelor’s degree is required for some IT positions, but an associate’s degree or specific coursework may be enough for others. More technical positions frequently require a bachelor’s degree in a field such as computer science, engineering, or information science.

There is typically no certification required to work in Information Technology.

How Much Does Someone in Information Technology Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that there were approximately 835,300 working in the field of Information Technology in 2016.

The median annual salary for an IT employee was $62,670 in 2016. The median salary is the income where half of the incomes are above and half below that.

Experience, specialization, and geographic location could have a significant impact on these earnings. Those working in IT in California, Texas, Georgia, and New York have the highest salaries. Generally, someone in IT on the East or West coast or in the South receives a higher salary than in other areas.

This occupation is expected to show an 11% growth by 2026 due to increasing demands for individuals knowledgeable about computer systems and electronic-data management.

An Opportunity for Felons?

A felon can pursue any degree he or she wants. Approximately 60% of colleges consider criminal history in their admissions process, although there is no standard policy regarding a background check. For many colleges their background check consists of a single question on the admission application regarding any history of criminal convictions.

Any felon that wants to get a degree in preparation to working in IT can find a college that will accept him or her. A felon may have difficulty getting accepted into many schools, but there are ones that will accept him or her.

Getting an IT job is a possibility for felons. It continues to be a growing field and doesn’t require a license or certification. There are many training programss available through universities, community colleges, and trade schools.

Felons do tend to have an easier time getting a job that doesn’t involve direct contact with the public. They may still experience limited opportunities finding an IT job that includes working with personal records and information along with financial data.

Any felony conviction appearing on a background check could disqualify an individual from working in IT. Lying about their conviction will prevent them from getting a job. Felons deserve the chance to show they can be good employees.

If a felony isn’t disclosed but is found on a background check, this constitutes as fraud and is a punishable crime which would require an attorney and could result in their being sent back to prison. They are already viewed as being dishonest, untrustworthy, and unwilling or unable to follow directions from authority figures.

Having their felony expunged can give them the chance they need to begin with a clean record and succeed in getting an IT job. Expunging a criminal record allows anyone to honestly state on an application that they have not been convicted of a crime.

Recommended Action

It may be a difficult road for felons to get an IT job, but how do they do that? The same way they did their time in prison: one day at a time.

They have to give themselves the best chance. Having their record expunged could make a critical difference. Then, it would be beneficial to document any education or training they have completed since their release. Taking time to develop a strong resume will boost their chances of getting an IT job.

Having support from family and friends is essential. We aren’t defined by the mistakes we make but by how we recover from them. A felon doesn’t have to be defined by his or her crime. He or she can begin again and establish an honest life no matter how tough it may seem.

What do you think about this blog post?  Are you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to get a job in IT with a felony? What was that like for him or her, and how did he or she achieve success?  Please tell us in the comments below.

5 thoughts on “Can a Felon Get an IT Job?”

  1. I currently have a bachelors in IT security and am working on my masters in Cyber Security. Unfortunately, I have ten felonies and numerous misdemeanors all from 2010 and earlier. I’ve also spent 4 1/2 years in prison. Let me assure you that this degree is useless for felons. I started this degree in hopes of second chances and that if I was able to get these degrees, that it would prove I was a different person than that on paper. This is not the case and no matter where you go, if you check that felony box, regardless of education, you are done. Now I have over $70,000 in tuition with absolutely no way to make a living good enough to pay it back before my life expires. If you are a convicted felon, do not waste your time or money on an education.

    Reply
    • I have a felony conviction, and a BSIT: networking and telecommunication. Degree. I currently make $70k a year. It’s about working past the convictions not using the fact that one company or two hundred turned you down. There are some who might give you a chance. Stop being a victim and work for what you want. Own your past and your choices.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the encouragement Tim! I’ve struggled to get an IT job with an Associates degree and currently considering getting my Bachelor’s just to qualify for most/all of the IT jobs in the area. I’m still not sure with my record I’ll be able to beat someone else, but I’m trying to see a silver lining. I’d love to make $70k. I’ve been struggling to make more than $40k. Though I’m thankful to be making that!

        Reply
  2. I can see the frustation and understand the disappointment. I to have a past with a prison stint from when i was young. Its been over 20 years since I was that reckless young idiot and the repercussion of it still follows me through my career. I’ve had 150k a year job offers letters only to be rescinded bc of my past convictions. Lawmakers have create laws that practically threw me out of whole field of work i was employed. I’ve had management take advantage of my situation and offer me less than my worth. There is very little prison can offer you thats useful but one thing it can show you is how really unfair life can be. When I got out and chose this profession to pursue I did it kinda of backwards working for a smail wireless isp company installing wireless internet in residential homes(basically a cable guy). They had server/network consulting company i convinced the owner on my days off to let me come in and work with their admins for free got so good over time they would send me out to troubleshoot problems for 4 years at 9 hr i did this while taking a college core class here and there. By the time I started to pursue a degree full time in computer science the classes and books they were teaching i had already seen it or worked with it myself. Degrees are useful they show perserverance and in my opinion really heighten your skillset if you already have real world expeirence it allows the theory part of it to mesh together. Anyway I was so well versed they allowed me to work in there IT department as a network tech under a work study program until i graduated at the top of my class. Since then I have over 15 years of expeirence I have worked in the IT field holding various job titles sys admin, network admin and network engineer for the military, US airports, fortune 500 company,a major hospital, and a managed services company all while being ex felon. Of course some of these fields I can no longer work in because of new laws that have passed over time restricting felons to work in these places now. But you can work in this field you just got understand that every job opportunity you go after your walking in with a disability (record). Lots of IT guys get their degree and learn their job and thats it. They never keep up with the new technologies and features. I’m not talking just reading about them build labs break stuff learn it behaviors. The goal is standout among rest of them smart IT managers like to have resourceful skill people especially in those unexpected nightmare scenarios. Any place I was employee at I always wanted to be the smartest guy in the room but this wasn’t always the case. And anytime I met someone sharper than me i made it priority that individual would become my new best friend. To be a good master you gotta be able to be great student.

    Reply

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