Computer And Information Technology

As society has grown ever-more dependent upon computers for everyday functioning and processes, the need for specialized, well-trained workers has increased, too. That’s a good thing if you’re interested in the field-it isn’t going anywhere any time soon. And despite common conceptions, there’s more to the industry than programming code and garage-based start-ups (which are definitely not for everyone). Innovating, building, and maintaining computers, systems, and computer technology are part of a big industry.

There are wide varieties of opportunities depending on the kind of workplace environment you want. Corporate positions can require large IT (information technology) departments just to maintain basic operations-jobs in network and computer administration can get complicated quickly, which is great for anyone who loves a challenge.

Love computers and like people? Support personnel assist customers and clients with technology problems, requiring solid knowledge of the equipment and programs, not to mention great customer service skills. But that’s not for everyone-some professionals would rather manage complex network systems for large companies, or help design the next generation of computer processors. Do you have a creative mind and a solid knowledge of computer coding languages? (Even if you don’t, you can learn!) Check out software development opportunities and see the many ways that your fundamental skills and future education can be put to impressive use. In other words, jobs in this industry accommodate many interests and expectations; check out individual career profiles to see if these may be right for you.

Depending on the career you shoose, tasks can include:

  • Installing software and updates to computers as new versions are produced
  • Training and educating co-workers and customers on usage and troubleshooting for many kinds of computer and technology problems
  • Designing and implementing new programs and/or software for companies or creative projects
  • Evaluating data and network information to improve functionality, sometimes by analyzing user experiences and activities
  • Inventing new computer programs and technological processes to make computers faster and more powerful
  • Maintaining computers and networks to keep them in good working condition and protected from security threats

CAREERS IN COMPUTER AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Many positions require a bachelor's degree in computer science (or a related major) to get started. Supplemental degrees, like those in business, engineering, and mathematics are also beneficial, depending upon the career you choose.

Students can also intern at companies in the department of their choice, providing them valuable experience when they are ready to start their career. Additionally, certification programs are offered in highly specialized careers, like for computer systems administrators. Unlike other professions, they are not mandated to get hired, but they can demonstrate your competency levels with specific tasks. Some professionals pursue these to give themselves a resume boost.

Technicians, especially those supporting customer services, rely on training received as an employee. Training often becomes more detailed and complex the longer an employee stays with the company and proves to be dedicated to the position. This allows people without bachelor's degrees to get work in the industry; the faster and better they learn, the more opportunity opens up for long-term job opportunities and advancement. On the other end of the education spectrum, computer and information research scientists need a PhD in computer science and further competency in a related field. Higher degrees also provide opportunities for career advancement.

IMPORTANT QUALITIES

  • Analytical skills Architects and engineers must evaluate information carefully and be able to solve complex problems.
  • Computer skills. Required!
  • Detail oriented. Computer programmers, database managers, and analysts all need an eye for detail. The complexity of computer language codes, let alone the data in general, require strict attention. A simple code line in the wrong space, a word spelled incorrectly, any number of tiny and seemingly insignificant errors can derail a project or program.
  • Problem-solving skills. With complicated hardware networks and endless data analysis and management, something will inevitably go wrong (again and again and again). The ability to troubleshoot and repair faltering systems is an essential quality in this field.

JOB OUTLOOK

Job growth in this industry, through 2022, will be at average to better than average rates compared with the national average for all occupations. The healthcare industry is expected to expand its use of information technology, which may increase job opportunities in some technology categories while reducing the availabilities of others. Much of the projections depend upon the future evolution and adaptation of new technology and programs to the industry overall. How that will precisely affect one profession versus another is difficult to say, definitely.

But in one case, security analysts for example, will be in increasingly high demand over the next several years. Major security and hacking breaches of large corporations and individual accounts have already taken place. With the continued dependence upon digital technology for everyday activities, improved security technology and services will be much sought-for.

  Occupation Description Entry-Level Education 2012 Median Pay
Computer and information research scientists Computer and information research scientists

Computer and information research scientists invent and design new approaches to computing technology and find innovative uses for existing technology. They study and solve complex problems in computing for business, medicine, science, and other fields.'

Doctoral or professional degree $102,190
Computer network architects Computer network architects

Computer network architects design and build data communication networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and intranets. These networks range from a small connection between two offices to a multinational series of globally distributed communications systems. '

Bachelor's degree $91,000
Computer programmers Computer programmers

Computer programmers write code to create software programs. They turn the program designs created by software developers and engineers into instructions that a computer can follow.'

Bachelor's degree $74,280
Computer support specialists Computer support specialists

Computer support specialists provide help and advice to people and organizations using computer software or equipment. Some, called computer network support specialists, support information technology (IT) employees within their organization. Others, called computer user support specialists, assist non-IT users who are having computer problems.'

Education requirements vary $48,900
Computer systems analysts Computer systems analysts Computer systems analysts study an organization’s current computer systems and procedures and design information systems solutions to help the organization operate more efficiently and effectively. They bring business and information technology (IT) together by understanding the needs and limitations of both.' Bachelor's degree $79,680
Database administrators Database administrators

Database administrators (DBAs) use specialized software to store and organize data, such as financial information and customer shipping records. They make sure that data are available to users and are secure from unauthorized access.'

Bachelor's degree $77,080
Information security analysts Information security analysts

Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organizations computer networks and systems. Their responsibilities are continually expanding as the number of cyberattacks increase.'

Bachelor's degree $86,170
Network and computer systems administrators Network and computer systems administrators

Computer networks are critical parts of almost every organization. Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of these networks.'

Bachelor's degree $72,560
Software developers Software developers

Software developers are the creative minds behind computer programs. Some develop the applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or other device. Others develop the underlying systems that run the devices or control networks.'

Bachelor's degree $93,350
Web developers Web developers

Web developers design and create websites. They are responsible for the look of the site. They are also responsible for the site’s technical aspects, such as performance and capacity, which are measures of a website’s speed and how much traffic the site can handle. They also may create content for the site.'

Associate's degree $62,500
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