STACK Infrastructure And NOVA Community College Spearhead US Data Center Education Revolution

Empowering tomorrow’s workforce amidst soaring industry demand

As the digital era accelerates, Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA CC) has positioned itself at the epicenter of a vital educational shift. In 2019, NOVA CC introduced the United States’ first Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree that includes a specialization in Data Center Operations, which was designed to address a critical skills gap in a rapidly expanding sector. This pioneering program is not just an educational milestone, but a strategic response to the urgent needs of a data center industry experiencing unprecedented growth.

The global data center market, valued at approximately 187 billion USD in 2022, is projected to reach 304 billion USD by 2026, which means it is growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13 percent. This expansion is driven, in large part, by the increasing adoption of cloud services, the proliferation of big data analytics (including AI and machine learning), and the deployment of 5G networks. However, this growth is not without its challenges. A 2021 report from the Uptime Institute highlighted that 45 percent of data center operators struggle with recruiting qualified staff, and 30 percent cite retention as a significant issue.

A glimpse into teaching at the Artemis Summer Program

In response, NOVA CC’s A.A.S. degree in Data Center Operations provides a comprehensive curriculum that equips students with the necessary skills to navigate and excel in this complex environment. The course offers an in-depth understanding of key aspects, such as power management, energy efficiency, and mission-critical infrastructure in order to address the industry’s need for well-rounded professionals.

NOVA CC is fully committed to promoting and enhancing this program further, as the college is dedicated to providing quality education and preparing students for successful careers in the dynamic field of data centers. The college’s President, Dr. Anne M. Kress, has acknowledged the transformative impact of the program.

How It All Began

In 2018, NOVA CC handed me a blank notebook and said, “We’re starting a data center operations program. This is what we have so far. What do you think?” I told them I thought it was a great idea.

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