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 We 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
Job duties for technology professionals are very broad, depending upon the exact type of technology work you are doing. 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 We 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
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.
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.
Some of the other career possibilities to consider in a technology career are:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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