The information technology explosion has created many career choices for those with a technical aptitude and the willingness to obtain a good education. Most IT careers pay very well, but also carry a level of stress different from other careers. Education requirements differ between the career choices, with most requiring a bachelor’s degree as a starting point. Some highly technical positions may require additional technical training or certifications.
Help Desk Technicians
Help desk technicians are the first line of support for computer users in most organizations. They help users with software problems, as well as installing new hardware. Help desk technicians also need patience to work with users who may not be technically adept, and they must battle the urge to talk down to users. The outlook for help desk technicians is positive, with an expected 18 percent increase between 2010 and 2020, and a 2011 median salary of $47,660 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A systems analyst assists management in determining an organization’s current technology posture, and recommend technology changes for the future, based on the organization’s goals. Analysts research technology offerings and determine the appropriateness and applicability to the company’s direction. A systems analyst’s primary job is to bring technology solutions to the organization’s table. The BLS reported the 2012 median salary as $79,680.
Network and Server Administrators
Information technology includes the systems that connect various computing devices and networks. Network and server administrators manage an organization’s network infrastructure and servers. Their tasks include adding and deleting users, improving performance and solving problems. Server administrators build and configure various types of computer servers, while network administrators design and build networks to connect them. According to the BLS, the median salary as of 2012 was $72,560.
Computers are very fast, but not very smart. Computer programmers write the instructions, called computer code, that computers read to seem "smart." Programmers write applications such as spreadsheets or accounting packages, games, system utilities and other useful programs. The most capable programmers may write operating systems or other complex utilities. The minimum education requirement is usually a bachelor’s degree in computer science. As of 2012, the BLS reported the median salary to be $74,280.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Computer and Information Technology Occupations
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Computer Programmers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Computer Support Specialists
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Network and Computer Systems Administrators
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Computer Systems Analysts
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