KEARNEY, Neb. -- Trevor Gordanier isn’t worried about finding a job after graduation.

As an information networking and telecommunications major, he’s entering a field where skilled workers are in high demand.

“My opportunities are pretty much endless,” the University of Nebraska at Kearney senior said. “I will always have a job because nearly every business and organization needs IT support. And I can work from wherever I am, as long as I have a solid internet connection.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the computer and information technology industry will add 667,600 new jobs from 2020-30, a 13% growth rate spurred by greater emphasis on cloud computing, big data collection and storage, and information security. Those positions pay a median annual salary of nearly $100,000.

“You’re going to get a job upon graduation, but the level of what you’re capable of getting increases immensely when you get experience prior to graduation and you have that on your resume,” Gordanier said. “That’s something companies are looking for when they hire employees.”

At UNK, students in the Department of Cyber Systems gain on-the-job experience through the university’s internship programs and business partnerships.

Gordanier, a Deweese native, recently completed a two-month internship with Peraton thanks to connections he made on campus.

He met Fred Trofholz, a systems engineer technical specialist at Peraton’s Bellevue location, when the UNK alumnus spoke during a computer science class. Trofholz is also a member of the College of Business and Technology Dean’s Leadership Council.

The following day, Gordanier, Trofholz, and another Peraton employee chatted for more than an hour during a career fair on campus.

“It felt very welcoming before I even made any agreements with them. They were my No. 1 choice from the very beginning,” said Gordanier, who started his internship in mid-May.

Peraton is a technology company that specializes in areas such as intelligence, space, cybersecurity, national defense, homeland security, and health. The government contractor has a decades-long relationship with the Department of Defense and extensive experience in providing technological solutions across the U.S. intelligence community and military.

From his home office in North Platte, Gordanier worked with a team of electrical, networking, and software engineers who are updating and upgrading a satellite system that collects weather information for U.S. Air Force bases. Using a development environment, they’re implementing better security measures and improving software to speed up the network and data transfers.

“We’re trying to provide the best options to keep the satellites up and running and providing data to the Air Force bases,” Gordanier explained.

Gordanier has always been interested in technology – he builds his own computers – but he didn’t change his major to information networking and telecommunications until the fall 2021 semester. He’s learned a lot over the past year.

“The training I’ve received at UNK brought me to a level of understanding where I feel comfortable working in the setting that I’m in,” Gordanier said.

He’ll continue working with Peraton throughout the current school year and hopes to move into a full-time position with the company after graduating from UNK in May.

“This experience will definitely set me apart from other candidates if I ever have to look for another job outside Peraton,” he said.