If you are interested in pursuing a career in Information Technology (IT), it’s important to know what kinds of options are available. IT jobs involve developing and maintaining computer systems, software, and networks to send, receive, and store digital information.
One wonderful thing about IT is that there are a wide variety of jobs and many of them have similar crossover skillsets or qualifications. So you have a lot more flexibility in this field than many others. And this is a job that can sometimes be done remotely or from home, which is a major advantage.
Thankfully, IT is one area that has not been too adversely affected by COVID-19 the way some economic sectors have been. It’s a competitive career field—but one that may be a perfect match for you if you have the qualifications already or if you are willing to invest in specific certifications and/or schooling.
Because computers, technology, and the internet are at the heart of business today, information technology jobs will definitely be in demand going forward. As long as we have electricity and internet connections, we’ll have growing IT careers across the United States and around the world.
Some IT jobs don’t require a college degree but most require at least an associate degree, if not a four-year computer science degree or other related IT degree. And a few IT job titles even require a master’s degree.
US Bureau of Labor Statistics about computer and IT fields:
“These occupations are projected to add about 531,200 new jobs” from 2019 to 2028. 11% growth projected. And the annual median salary is over twice that of the annual median salary for all jobs combined.
What types of information technology jobs are available today?
Networking and Security
Network engineers and network architects develop network systems for a company’s employees or they may work with a larger company to support cloud-based networking instead of working for a specific smaller company in-house. Network engineers work with local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), intranets, and extranets.
Networking jobs generally require a bachelor’s degree in programming, computer engineering, or computer science. An MBA in information systems and experience with IT systems or network administration is highly desirable, as well.
The cybersecurity field protects networks for companies, the government, and other organizations from hacking and digital attacks. They keep information secure by finding vulnerabilities, providing solutions to prevent attacks, and help to develop policies and procedures to improve system security.
IT security jobs include security analysts, security architects, certified ethical hackers (CEH), and security engineers. Industries like healthcare, insurance, financial, and hospitality are particularly vulnerable and need up-to-date protection from criminal online activity from individuals or even from other countries who may intend to cause harm.
Management and Consulting
IT management provides monitoring, and oversight for a company’s IT systems, including hardware, software, and networks. The goal is to help information systems and people work more efficiently and effectively. They protect security and seek to reach optimal performance. An IT infrastructure may include on-premises technology, cloud technology, or a hybrid of the two.
A Chief Information Officer (CIO) is generally in charge of an IT department for an organization, providing and implementing strategies for IT systems. IT management also involves adapting to new technologies, opportunities, and threats to keep up-to-date with the best current practices.
Some IT management jobs include project managers, operations analysts, business analysts, data quality managers, or IT coordinators.
IT consultants provide IT strategy and supervision to help an organization reach its goals. They are often not in-house. Frequently, they also provide IT services to implement the strategies they recommend. Consulting jobs are often more flexible, higher-paying, and faster-paced than other jobs. They provide skills that an organization lacks in-house and give a fresh perspective to improve efficiency, productivity, and profitability.
IT consultants generally go to computer engineering school or major in an IT-related field. They move from IT consultant to senior consultant and then to manager. Jobs in the consulting field include positions like cloud consultants, computer and information systems managers, field technical consultants, and WebSphere consultants.
Customer Service (Customer Support)
When an organization has a computer network, hardware, software, and other technology to power its operations, inevitably, problems will arise. Employees need someone to contact if any of these things break down so the company can get back up and running as soon as possible.
IT customer service (IT customer support) provides a help desk of trained technicians who can walk employees through the steps to get the glitch, technical difficulty, or hardware issue resolved. The customer support team maintains the computer system and network, installing new equipment and software, and problem-solves all the technical issues that may occur.
Careers in customer service include jobs like computer support specialists, desktop support managers, help desk technicians, support specialists, or user support analysts.
Sales and Marketing
Every business needs a sales force, including IT. IT technical sales specialists or IT sales consultants sell hardware and software to clients. They handle pre-sales, sales, and technical support after the sale is complete. For those who love people, enjoy communicating, and like to travel—sales can be a great fit.
Some marketing positions get very technical and may require specific college degrees like computer engineering, computer science, or mechanical engineering. But other sales or marketing jobs don’t require a degree, just sales experience and marketing savvy. Many social media managers learn their skills through online marketing courses, for example.
Careers in sales and marketing include jobs like sales representatives, marketing technologists, content strategists, SEO consultants, or growth hackers.
Computer hardware engineers work in research laboratories, designing, developing, and testing all the new hardware technology they design. They are involved in the manufacture of new computers and other technology. They also help modify existing computer hardware so that it is compatible with new software.
Most computer hardware engineers have a BS degree in computer engineering, electrical engineering, or computer science. Some employers may require a master’s degree in computer engineering or desire candidates who have completed an MBA.
Jobs in the IT hardware industry include systems administrator, computer engineering, network engineer, and computer systems manager.
Computer software developers design all the programs we use every day. Computer scientists research and find new programs to tackle all the information management problems and systems organizations need. They also develop commercial software programs to sell.
Software jobs include positions like software engineers, programmers, web developers, or network systems specialists. Most have a bachelor’s degree in computer science and are very knowledgeable about computer programming.
Another career field in IT includes specialists who perform niche jobs. Jobs in the field of web design and specialists are varied and unique. But they all help create a stunning end-result for customers and users.
User experience designers (UX designers) research how potential consumers interact with an organization’s software and hardware to help improve usability and UX. Video game developers design new games they believe users will enjoy and research and test their ideas to optimize the gaming experience.
Computer graphics animation designers may work for organizations to create training software or for a studio that makes movies. Many companies from large corporations to smaller ones want apps for their customers. App developers design the apps organizations need for their customers to be able to do business with them easily on their mobile devices.
Careers include quality assurance specialists, web analytics developers, web designers, mobile app developers, and video game developers.
IT jobs come in all shapes and sizes. People from any background with any personality and with a variety of interests can find the perfect career path in this field. Many subcategories in the world of information technology have overlap and careers can easily cross over into other related fields if people decide they would like to try something new.