The following article discusses the most important aspects of a career in technology. You will learn what technology professionals do, where they work, job duties, how to become one, popular career paths, and more.
What Information Technologists Do
Technology professionals hold a wide variety of jobs today that are involved in many aspects of computers, the Internet, mobile devices and other high tech devices. Technology professionals are needed in greater numbers than ever today, given just how dependent society and the world economy are on all types of technological devices.
Technology professionals in their daily work do many types of activities including:
- Developing software for computer and mobile devices
- Analyzing computer systems
- Managing Internet technology networks and systems
- Developing websites and networks
- Administering databases
- Keeping digital information secure
- Providing computer support for consumers
- Programming computers
Information Technology Job Duties
Job duties for technology professionals are very broad, depending upon the exact type of technology work you are doing. See also 5 Newest MBA Jobs in Technology. Some of the most common types of technology jobs include the following duties:
- Computer systems analysis: They conduct research necessary to design more effective computer systems and processes for clients; conduct research on the ideal technologies that are needed to improve overall computer systems for the company, including software, hardware and networks.
- Software development: Some developers may write large amounts of code from scratch for a new program or app, but others may work on maintaining or improving code from programs that are currently running; check for software bugs and for ways to improve programs; collaborate closely with other developers and clients to deliver software that meets requirements.
- IT management: Deliver the long and short term visions for the technology needs and goals of a company; supervise programmers and developers to ensure that IT systems are being properly managed; plan upgrades for current software and hardware; negotiate with vendors to purchase new products or upgrade current ones; supervise the installation and upgrade of new system; protect network from hackers.
- Web development: Meeting with clients to determine website requirements; provide website designs for review; write code for the front end of the website; add any animation needed; check for bugs and fix them; present client or management with test site; some web developers also develop the back end of the website; write code in HTML, CSS and other languages.
- Database administration: Implement security methods to make sure sensitive company data is not compromised; manage data effectively in database for easy retrieval; set up databases based upon user requirements; fine tune, upgrade and modify databases as needed.
- Information security: Plan and execute company data security measures; shield networks and systems from cyber attacks; prevent, monitor and respond to any breachers; install and upgrade security software as needed; work with staff to ensure that information security protocols are followed.
Where Information Technologists Work
Computer and information technology jobs currently account for approximately 3.9 million jobs in the US. It is anticipated that this will increase to 4.4 million by 2024.
Given that technology is a critical part of virtually every industry today, technology professionals work in virtually every business sector. For example, information security analysts work in the following industries the most:
- Computer systems design and related services: 26%
- Information: 10%
- Company and enterprise management: 8%
- Credit intermediation services: 7%
- Management, technical and scientific services: 5%
Software developers work most often in these areas:
- Computer systems design and related services: 33%
- Software publishers: 8%
- Finance and insurance: 8%
- Computer and electronic product manufacturing: 8%
- Management of companies and enterprises: 4%
Computer and information systems managers (such as IT directors) work in:
- Computer systems design and related services: 20%
- Finance and insurance: 12%
- Information: 11%
- Management of enterprises and companies: 10%
- Manufacturing: 9%
How to Become an Information Technologist
Most technology professionals have a bachelor’s degree in computer or information science. Expect to take courses in computer programming, software development and mathematics. If you are planning to work in technology management, you may also need to take business classes as well.
A graduate degree in computer science or business may be needed for mid and upper level management roles. Learn more about any of these types of tech centered MBA degree programs:
- Technology Management
- Security Management
- Information Assurance
- Information Systems
- Information Technology Management
- Computer Science
- Data Science
Information Technologist Employment/Salaries
Below is salary and employment information for some of the most common types of technology professionals today:
- Computer and information systems manager: Job outlook is excellent with jobs growing by 15% by 2024. There also is greater need for these workers due to greater risk of cyber attacks. Should be a high number of available positions in the healthcare industry. Median pay is $131,600 with the top 10% earning $187,000 per year.
- Software developer: Job outlook is also strong with 17% job growth anticipated by 2024, which is much faster than average. Application developers will see strong 19% growth, and systems developers will see solid 13% growth. The need for software developers is largely driven by increase in demand for apps for mobile devices. Median salary is $98,250 with the top 10% earning $153,000 per year.
- Information security analyst: Job outlook is a strong 18% by 2024, which is much faster than average. Cyber attacks are getting more frequent and sophisticated, and new methods are constantly needed to foil such attacks. The federal government is especially hiring more of these technology workers. Also, employment for information security analysts will soar 36% in computer systems design by 2024. The median pay in the field is $90,120, and the top 10% earn $143,000 per year.
- Computer systems analyst: The job outlook for this field is outstanding, with 21% job growth anticipated by 2024, which is much faster than average. Companies across the US are relying more strongly on IT than ever, and more analysts are needed to design/install new systems. Expect strong growth in the healthcare field. The median wage in this field is $85,800 and the top 10% earn more than $135,000 per year.
- Database administrator: Job outlook in this field is solid, with 11% growth by 2024. Expect to see more demand in particular in cloud computing companies in data processing, hosting and related technology fields; it is expected to go up 26% in that niche. The median wage is $84,900 with the top 10% earning $129,000 per year.
Information Technologist Career Paths
Some of the other career possibilities to consider in a technology career are:
- AutoCAD Drafter: Use computer aided design systems to create drawings for product creation and building construction. Also responsible for filling design drawings with codes and specifications for the design. Work directly with the organization that need the design, and must be able to work well with others to create a high quality design.
- Chief Information Officer: Responsible for making all of the major business technology decisions about the information framework of the company. The CIO makes all final decisions about the purchasing and selection of IT equipment; he or she also has the equipment installed, upgraded and improved as needed, and leads the process of integrating the technology into the operations of the company. Needs to have excellent understanding of business management and purchasing concepts.
- Computer Animator: Create 2D and 3D animations with storyboarding and use technology such as Maya 3DSMax, Flash and Morpheme, and be skilled in rigging, scripting and modeling.
- Computer Network Architect: Responsible for the design and building of data communication networks, such as LANs and WANs, as well as intranets. Usually need to create detailed models to make predictions about future network needs by looking at data traffic and making estimates of how growth will affect network needs.
- Computer Programmer: Code and write software, as well as write, design, debug, maintain and troubleshoot source code that is related to a variety of computer programs. Ensure that all computer source code is written in modern programming languages that can be understood by the operating system so that programs are fully functional for end users. Programmers need to know computer algorithms and application domains.
- Computer Scientist: Develop and maintain computer based tools that improve and facilitate the functioning of the organization. Computer scientists may work with many teams and individuals in the organization. They may devise a database to track company inventory, or develop a new algorithm to make predictions about customer tends to guide development and production. Should have a strong programming background in XML, SQL, C++, C# and Java.
- Computer Systems Analyst: Use computers and related systems to perform system automation and properly integrate them into distributing, sales, manufacturing, and a variety of related functions. Computer systems analysts look at what the organization or department is trying to do, and then determines how to use computers and modern technology to automate and streamline the processes.
- Data Scientist: Responsible for mining complex data and offering systems related advice for the organization. Design new ways to incorporate large amounts of information with a focus on IT topics. Work with other IT professionals to manage statistical data and create different models based upon the needs of the organization.
- Database Administrator: IT professional that ensures software being used to manage databases is maintained in a proper fashion to allow the best access when it is needed. DBAs also are responsible for data security and coordinating with IT security professionals to maintain the integrity of the most sensitive business data. Another major duty today is to ensure that cloud access to data is done in a quick and efficient manner.
- Graphic Designer: Use color, fonts, illustrations, and layout to communicate visually a certain message or present a service or product. Graphic designers design logos, packaging for products, print materials, websites and other media. Graphic designers can work for one company or may work on a contractual basis with many companies. All types of marketing and media companies employ graphic designers to increase the attractiveness and appeal of marketing efforts.
- Hardware Engineer: Responsible for designing computer software for a company. Participate in all aspects of the development of a product, including creation of the concept, design of the prototype, product development and product testing. Major duty is to propose architecture and execution of the design. Also work in validation tasks after the prototype has been devised and do careful analysis to find any hardware issues and to suggest changes to the development team.
- Health Information Technician: Organize and manage health information materials and data by making sure that it is of high quality, accurate, accessible and secure in both electronic and paper viles. Use a variety of classification systems to categorize and code information for patients so that the doctor can be reimbursed by insurance.
- Help Desk Technician: When a customer or colleague has a problem with computer equipment or software, the help desk technician helps to identify, troubleshoot and resolve the problem. Help desk technicians usually field emails or calls from end users who are having some problem with a computer system. Make suggestions and attempt a variety of ways to fix the problem remotely.
- IT Manager: Supervises the computer infrastructure for a company or organization. May provide oversight of teams that many network technology, software platforms and IT security. May also help to establish a data storage infrastructure and access rules and protocols in the company. May need to oversee the efficient operation and security of customer data, as well as oversee how the organization’s employees access and use data.
- IT Project Manager: Tasked with planning various technology projects in an organization and ensuring that they are done and are on track through all process stages. Can involve the daily evaluation of employees, and also motivation and leadership to achieve project goals. Must provide complete oversight of technical projects until they are complete and evaluate them to determine if a follow up project is needed.
- IT Security Specialist: Administer, monitor and troubleshoot IT security systems for organizations to ensure that they are functioning properly. They also may oversee updates of security systems on networks to ensure they are secure and running smoothly. May need to perform periodic testing on security components in an organization so that security products including VPN, firewall and intrusion detection systems are being used properly.
- Mobile App Developer: Create and develop a variety of mobile applications. Must have a strong working knowledge of variety of technical platforms such as tablets and smartphones. Must be adept at using Macs and PCs and all types of operating systems. Should have a strong programming foundation in C++, objective C and wireless networks.
- Network Administrator: Responsible for upkeep of computer hardware and software systems for many different organizations. Usually will focus on network components in their organization. May be your responsibility to design and implement a new network. Also in charge of network address assignments, management and implementation of protocols, and maintain networks and file servers.
- Network Architect: In charge of effectively designing and review network requirements and capabilities for an organization. Responsible for the validation of high level design plans for the best network implementation. Must be well organized and be able to prevent network problems and incompatibility.
- Operations Research Analyst: Help companies to solve their operations and supply chain problems by conducting careful data analysis, analyzing sales histories, computer databases and customer feedback. Help upper level managers determine how to use technology and data to better allocate resources and to manage supply chain and logistics.
- Robotics Engineer: Responsible for designing and maintaining robots and various electronic systems. Employed mostly in the manufacturing industry and spend a lot of their time researching robotics as this is a new and constantly changing field. Should have a strong understanding of design, manufacturing, automated systems and manufacturing.
- Software Engineer: Develops how the software will function; works with designers to consolidate disparate program functions into a whole. Also will work with programmers and coders to determine programming tasks and smaller functions and then they are combined into bigger, functioning programs or new features for new software.
- User Interface Developer: Develops the front end of program that is used by general consumers and some businesses. Ensures that the system is easy and intuitive to operate. Helps to create and program interfaces that are logical and clear, and provide many access points to the website or program.
- Video Game Designer: Code programs on a variety of platforms to create games for consumers. This involves creating a concept, doing a storyline and map for the game design team so that they can develop the game technically. Must be completely tested before release to ensure that flaws and bugs have been resolved.
- Web Developer: Design and create new websites and enhance existing ones. They are nearly always responsible for the front end look and feel and may handle the back end development as well. Must work closely with clients to make their vision a reality. They may also specialize in certain types of sites, such as e-commerce, news, or social media.
Information Technologist Education Requirements
Most professionals in technology have a bachelor’s in computer science or a related field. Technical upper level managers managers require a master’s degree in computer science or a related field in most cases. Technology managers with less technical daily tasks may earn an MBA in information technology.
Information Technology Training and Certifications
The type of certification that you earn in technology is highly specific, based upon your specific career path. That said, the certifications below have been recognized as ones that will usually lead to plenty of work and good salaries in technology:
- Citrix Certified Professional – Virtualization (CCP-V)
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
- Certified Information Systems Security Pro (CISSP)
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
- Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)
- Best Technology Jobs. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/rankings/best-technology-jobs
- Computer and Information Technology. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm
- Computer and Information Systems Managers. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm#tab-3
- Martinez, J. The Top 7 Highest-Paying IT Certifications of 2017. (2017, April 7). Retrieved from http://www.pcmag.com/article/345434/the-7-highest-paying-it-certifications