Information technology (IT) is critical to our business world today. Every business, no matter what size, depends on computers and the information stored on them. IT specialists handle, protect, and manipulate that information. IT jobs range from network or database administrators to computer systems analysts to computer and information systems managers.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects favorable growth for this field. Job expansion is estimated to be much above average from now through 2018.
What is the IT job?
IT jobs cover a large area of responsibilities. Network and database managers set up and test computer systems, such as local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), data and email communications, and Internet portals. Systems administrators perform regular maintenance and repair when needed to keep the operation of the business running smoothly. Security analysts ensure the safety of the information on the system. Network architects handle network modeling and analysis. Computer systems analysts choose and design the computer set up for a business. This may include specialized software, such as financial or scientific applications. Finally, the IT job also includes managers over all these specialties. Possible job titles are Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Management Information Systems (MIS) Directors, or IT Project Manager.
What are the qualifications for IT jobs?
Most jobs in this field require at least a Bachelorís degree. Some network and computer systems administrator positions are filled with people who have specialized training and certification or an Associate degree. Certifications provided by software companies, computer organizations, and other training programs are considered the industry standard. Working through a certification program gives you a step up in the hiring process. The most desired degrees are Bachelorís degrees in computer science or programming, computer or software engineering, and management of information systems. Management positions often require Masterís degrees in either computer fields or a Masters in Business Administration (MBA).
A person in the IT field should have analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills. They must be good multi-taskers and pay close attention to detail. Many jobs require close teamwork, so being able to be a good team player, as well as to work independently, is also essential.
What is the work environment?
People in the IT field work in offices. They may be in most any business or industry in the country. Most work 40 hours a week, but a substantial number work up to 50 hours a week. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that about 15% of systems administrators and 25% of computer systems managers worked more than 50 hours a week. Many of these positions will be on call for system failures that can develop at any time.
Like everyone who spends a lot of time using computers, IT workers must guard against repetitive stress injuries, eyestrain, and back and neck strain.
What are the job outlook and the chance of advancement?
As information technology advances, there will be an increased need for people with these skills. Systems become more sophisticated and every industry increases their dependence on computer systems, so more people are needed to keep them up-to-date and running. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the job growth for network and database administrators to be 30%, well above the average for all professions. The growth for computer systems analysts is project at 20% and that of managers about 17%.
Advancement opportunities are plentiful. Each of these positions can be promoted to lead analyst or to a managerís position. The person wanting to be advanced should seek additional education or training, making sure to keep current with new systems.
Last Updated: 08/20/2013