Many believe that innovations in the information technology (IT) services industry are the main drivers of the nation’s economy, and an IT degree is often the first stepping stone that people use to gain entrance into this exciting sector. IT professionals use existing hardware, software and network components to build systems that increase business productivity, improve efficiency and reduce defects. Academic degree programs in IT allow students to hone their critical thinking, analytical and problem solving skills through the use of the latest technological tools on the market. Here are some examples of career options for those with degrees in IT.
Data analysis is often a forgotten function within IT, but it happens to be one of the most sought after positions within the industry. IT professionals who support the storage, organization and extraction of data in specific configurations are known as database administrators. Most IT degree programs place heavy emphasis on database design and development concepts, and graduates can find job opportunities in database administration in nearly every industry. Organizing, storing, retrieving and analyzing data has become a high priority for many companies that recognize the value of data in predicting trends that affect their competitive advantage. Database administrators install and maintain database systems that allow for efficient retrieval of all types of data by authorized users. These IT professionals often obtain additional training in Structured Query Language and certifications like Microsoft Certified Database Administrator that relate to platform specific systems. The median annual salary for database administrators ranges from $62,000 to $82,000.
Information Security Architect
Protecting computer systems and associated data from unauthorized entry and theft is a high priority for all businesses, and it is critical for many organizations that handle sensitive information. It is the responsibility of information security architects to design secure computer systems and associated networks. Many information security architects conduct assessments of existing computing systems and networks to identify vulnerabilities and make recommendations to mitigate security risks to those systems. They also help to draft user policies and procedures regarding computer security for the organizations that they support. These IT professionals usually command an average salary of at least $89,000 according to a survey done by Robert Half Technology.
Computer Support Specialists
Technology changes rapidly and many times organizations need help to keep up with increases in functionality that are brought on by software and hardware updates. It is the job of computer support specialists to answer user questions about hardware and software as well as trouble shoot issues encountered through the use of computer systems. These IT professionals can provide technical support for business users within specific organizations, or they can work for companies that field requests from a variety of residential computer users. Computer support specialists must have thorough knowledge of the features and limitations of the systems used by their customers. Additionally, they must possess excellent critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills to quickly identify issues, determine solutions and convey explanations in layman’s terms.
Since IT can include the software, hardware, data and network components of computing systems, there are many career opportunities available in the industry at all competency levels. An IT degree is often a great starting point for launching an IT career, however, the most successful professionals in this field pursue additional training and certifications to keep their skills up to date.