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Information Technology Careers

There’s no doubt that technology is driving our world today, especially information technology (IT). For the last twenty or more years, individuals and businesses have become dependent on computers to meet their needs. Computers have automated many processes that were handled previously by "hand," through individual workers.

But computers are machines, and as such they require maintenance, programming, updating, and repair. Because of this the IT industry has evolved into one of the largest industries in the world, and also one of the largest employers.

IT workers are usually programmers, analysts, tech support, network engineers, maintenance or repair workers, or customer technical service employees.

Most IT employees must choose what kind of work they want to perform and specialize in a specific branch of the industry.

The good news is, computers are here to stay, and there will be a growing demand for IT personnel in the foreseeable future. See the high tech employment page also for additional position listings.

The working environments for IT personnel can vary. For example, some employees’ work must take place after regular business hours or on weekends when they can work on company computers and servers without interrupting normal business processes.

Therefore these employees may work irregular or overtime hours. For the most part though, conditions are good, with most employees working regular hours in a comfortable office.

Here is a list of the most common jobs in the IT industry:

  • Analyst programmer
  • Application integration engineer
  • Application support manager
  • Computer operator
  • Computer programmer
  • Computer systems manager
  • Desktop support
  • Desktop technician
  • JAVA developer
  • Local area network engineer
  • Network engineer
  • PC maintenance technician
  • Program analyst
  • Project manager
  • Software engineer
  • System administrator
  • System analyst
  • Wide area network engineer

IT Work photoThere are many more job titles than these, but the titles listed should give you a good idea of the many kinds of IT jobs available. Now let’s look at more information about IT jobs.

Employment Outlook

If you enjoy working with computers and want to work in this industry, chances are good there’ll be a job for you over the next several years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the number of computer-related jobs will increase by 39% by 2025! That’s four times faster than the average job. This growth is linked to the continued increase of computer use by companies and individuals, as well as the many new technologies such as smart phones that require engineering, applications, and a lot of technical support.

One exception to this extreme growth will be managers. The number of computer and information technology manager jobs is expected to increase by 17% according to the Bureau. While it is not as high, it is still excellent growth.

Salary Outlook

IT workers and professionals usually need to have highly specialized skills and knowledge. Because of this, they typically earn high salaries. However, there is a wide range of salaries, depending on the job and the skills it requires. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average hourly wage for computer engineers is approximately $54, while less-skilled workers, such as computer support specialists earn an average hourly wage of approximately $28.00 per hour. Managers can earn the highest salaries. The Bureau says the average annual salary for computer managers is approximately $121,000.

Keep in mind that salary ranges vary from company to company and state to state. Smaller companies may pay smaller salaries, while some areas of the country also offer smaller or larger salaries. For example, computer managers in Ohio may earn a smaller salary of $99,000 per year.

Education and Training Requirements

If you don’t already have a bachelor’s degree, it would be a good idea to earn one if you want a career in the IT industry.

Most employers require computer-related workers, and especially supervisors and managers to hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. Some less-skilled positions may not require a bachelor’s degree, but will at least require a two-year associate’s or technical degree or certification. If employees wish to get promoted or earn higher salaries, though, it is a good idea to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

Many employers prefer candidates who hold specialized certifications for their fields. For example, network engineers can become Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers (receiving their MCSE designation), which tells employers they have taken coursework and passed an exam related to Microsoft systems hardware, software, and applications.

The demand for computer-related and technically skilled workers will continue to increase in the coming years. If you find yourself drawn to this line of work, the outlook is promising, and chances are good you can obtain a good-paying job in the IT field.

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