Data Processing Schools

SIC 8243

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

The data processing schools category encompasses establishments primarily engaged in offering data processing courses or training in computer programming and computer peripheral equipment operation, maintenance, and repair. Schools offering an academic degree in computer sciences are classified in SIC 8221: Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools.

Computer consulting and training is a multi-billion-dollar industry. The growth of this industry, however, does not necessarily translate to the data processing schools industry, which is limited by competition from computer-related training in secondary and other postsecondary schools and the availability of self-tutorials. On the other hand, the market for data processing schools could increase as employers demand specialized skills from their workers and other postsecondary education becomes more expensive. Successful marketing of data processing schools as a less expensive and more job-specific alternative to college and university education is essential for growth.

Data processing schools are profit-making institutions that teach specific skills required for computer-related jobs. The types of schools range from residential vocational training schools to correspondence school programs. The U.S. Census Bureau showed that there were 10 exclusive establishments in the data processing schools industry in 1992. In 2010 the Census Bureau called these "computer training" institutions and counted 1,893, up 7.6 percent from 2009. The National Center for Education Statistics (NECS) classified 1,067 establishments as data processing schools in 2010, and another 17,375 institutions as "computer and information science" schools.

According to Dun and Bradstreet, annual revenues for data processing schools in the United States reached almost $1.5 billion in the late years of the first decade of the 2000s. The top five states in terms of revenue in the industry in 2008 were California ($150.5 million), Florida ($142.7 million), New Jersey ($128.7 million), Virginia ($121.2 million), and Texas ($100.8 million).

During the late 1990s, data processing schools benefited from Y2K software concerns and the general information technology (IT) boom. In the early 2000s, the IT training industry struggled to recover from the aftereffects of dot-com failures and widespread economic difficulties. In 2002, global market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) reported that among the top 15 training providers, there were cases of double-digit growth as well as double-digit negative growth. Overall, the industry survived the economic recession of the late 2000s better than most in the United States.

As the first decade of the twenty-first century neared a close, data processing schools were recognizing the need to work closely with the computer industry to train workers adequately. Computer hardware and software changed frequently, and schools strove to utilize state-of-the-art equipment to prepare students for employment in an increasingly computer-reliant business world. In addition, security concerns were growing, and by the late 2000s schools such as the Academy for Computer Education were offering "certified ethical hacker" (CEH) courses. The CEH certification could be earned by passing an exam from the EC-Council (formerly the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants). According to PR Newswire, the training taught people "how to scan systems, identify security breaches and combat the issues discovered" and that "security professionals are given the tools they need to fend off destructive and disruptive hackers and save millions of dollars of damage to corporate networks." By the early 2010s, the EC-Council also offered certification as chief information security officer and network security administrator, as well as licensed penetration tester and computer hacking forensic investigator.

Most instructional staff members at data processing schools hold bachelor's degrees and have worked in the data processing field prior to becoming instructors. According to U.S. Census Bureau information, employment in the industry in 2002 was 27,587, up from 8,200 in 1987. In 2009, Dun and Bradstreet reported that 26,187 people were employed by data processing schools.

In the early 2010s, the U.S. data processing network was among the world's largest. Much of the industry's growth potential existed in foreign markets, with more than 28 percent of computer education and consulting revenues coming from foreign countries. In the early 2010s, Pennsylvania-based New Horizons Computer Learning Centers dominated the computer training industry, with 300 centers located in 70 countries. As of 2012, the center had trained more than 30 million students.

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