Did you know that the average American changes careers approximately 12 times during their professional career?
Whether you are looking to just start your career or change your career path, a career in IT is definitely worth considering.
The industry offers a ton of jobs, with often partially or completely overlapping skillsets, so you can change roles and grow according to your passions and interests. Not to mention the IT industry is continuously growing, and the annual earnings are often much higher than in other occupations.
Read on to find out what jobs you should consider within IT Support, Networking, Computer Systems, Cybersecurity, and Software Development.
If you are more interested in Web Development, Cloud Computing, or Data, click here to read part one of our articles focusing on IT careers.
Let’s get started.
IT Career #1 – IT Support & Technical Services
We have all been in contact with tech support at some point in our lives. Whether your internet was down, your phone didn’t work, or your work laptop decided to start acting up, it was a technician who helped you solve the problem. Where would we be without them?
With all the high-tech equipment we use every day, IT professionals who provide technical support and other technical services are a crucial part of the IT ecosystem.
Installing and maintaining systems, finding the root cause of computer or network issues, and devising solutions are only some of the things IT Technicians do on a daily basis.
The goal is always to solve the issue at hand and maintain the efficiency of the business while keeping clients happy. If this sounds like an interesting IT career idea to you, we encourage you to read on.
A job in this field may require you to have an associate’s or bachelor’s diploma in Information Technology, Computer Science, Computer Engineering or a related field, but this is not always a requirement. Certifications and experience are great ways to showcase your expertise in this field without a college diploma.
IT Technicians typically diagnose, repair, and take care of computer hardware and software components of a company. They may also support coworkers with everyday computer issues and workstation setups, as well as other applications or software installations.
This is an entry-level job in your IT career that allows you to engage with various technologies and equipment. You get the chance to learn and discover what interests you the most and what you might want to focus on as you advance in your IT career.
IT Technicians usually need to acquire A+ and Linux+ certifications and be proficient with operating systems. They also need to be skilled in database programming, have substantial experience with troubleshooting systems, and be competent in software installation.
Depending on the organization and industry, you also might have to travel around a bit and offer on-site support away from the office.
Salary Range: $30K-$73K per year
National Salary Average: $46,744 per year
Desktop Support Technician
Desktop Support Technicians are responsible for maintaining organizational workstation equipment, such as laptops, desktop computers, and peripherals. They do everything from the installation, maintenance, and reparation to the removal and updating of user workstations in the company.
Choosing this IT career means that you will often work directly with clients to assist them with their equipment or technical issues. As a Desktop Support Technician, you should have a broad knowledge of common support questions, concerns, and solutions, as well as experience with remote assistance tools. Desktop Support Technicians often need to explain information in a clear and coherent way so their communication skills must also be superb.
Salary Range: $30K-$70K per year
National Salary Average: $49,886 per year
Help Desk Technician
Help Desk Technicians are the first point of contact for customers in need of remote technical assistance. They often perform troubleshooting through email or over the phone and aim to find a solution to the issue reported to them by the client. Additionally, they can often directly help through escalating a persisting issue to a higher support authority.
Help Desk Technicians use excellent diagnostic techniques to identify issues and have great knowledge about IT services and products. They also must be excellent communicators to effectively interface with all the clients they assist on a daily basis.
Salary Range: $30K-$59K per year
National Salary Average: $42,169 per year
Technical Support Associate
IT Support Associates manage, repair, and maintain the IT systems of an organization. They have a role in installing, and configuring computer hardware and software, as well as diagnosing, troubleshooting, and solving the technical issues of IT infrastructure. They often also directly support clients with their technical issues, so strong communication skills are a must to ensure effective communication with clients.
This IT career is projected to grow 10% in the next few years in the U.S., so there are plenty of job opportunities and space for growth within this role.
Salary Range: $27K-$70K per year
National Salary Average: $43,172 per year
IT Career #2 – IT Networks & Systems
Computer systems and networks are crucial elements of any company or organization. They store all the data owned by the organization and allow ease of access and sharing.
An IT career in this field entails creating, implementing, maintaining, troubleshooting, and fixing networks, computer systems, and equipment. Working in some roles also means offering technical support to end-users.
Those working with networks and computer systems are often required to have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in one of the following fields:
- Information Technology
- Computer Science
- IT Systems
- Computer Engineering
- Electronics & Electrical Engineering
- or a related field
In addition to a degree, an IT career in networking and computer systems will also require you to acquire industry-related professional certifications.
Network Implementation Technician
IT Technicians are an important part of any IT team. Network Implementation Technicians are skilled professionals most often tasked with the analysis, planning, and implementation of IT networks, as well as with testing, replacing, and repairing various client systems and equipment.
Working as a Network Implementation Technician is a very hands-on job, so if you enjoy tinkering with systems and equipment, this may just be the right career in IT for you.
Salary Range: $28K-$69K per year
National Salary Average: $43,964 per year
Network and Systems Administrators are two similar, yet different roles. The responsibilities and tasks of these positions overlap quite a bit. However, there are some key differences between them, which may help you determine which job you’d prefer to get started in your IT career.
Both roles have a projected growth of 6% in the next 5 years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, so they are definitely worth checking out.
The main focus of Network Administrators is the link between computers. They are usually tasked with the installation, configuration, maintenance, and support of a company’s internet systems, WAN (wide area network), LAN (local area network), and oversee the whole network.
Salary Range: $80K-$102K per year
National Salary Average: $90,318 per year
Systems Administrators, on the other hand, directly work with computer software and hardware, so their main area of focus is on computer systems and all their elements.
Computer Systems Administrators are responsible for installing and maintaining computer hardware and software, as well as creating and managing backups and the recovery of data. They also often hold training in the organization on digital security and the basics of computer maintenance and proper usage.
Salary Range: $53K-$111K per year
National Salary Average: $77,122 per year
The focus of Systems Analysts, just like Systems Administrators, is on the computer systems operating in an organization. Analysts, as the name suggests, analyze, design, and improve computer systems within the organization.
They consult with leadership to pinpoint the computer needs for that specific industry and look to adapt and improve the existing systems to meet those needs. They are tasked with designing new IT solutions and integrating new features to boost business productivity.
In order to pursue a career in IT as a Systems Analyst, you’ll need substantial technical expertise and always be up-to-date with current business practices.
Salary Range: $70K-$104K per year
National Salary Average: $85,599 per year
Network Engineers are responsible for planning, designing, implementing, and overseeing computer networks, their security systems, and the programs that shield an organization’s IT infrastructure and data.
They also maintain these networks and deal with troubleshooting issues and problem-solving on a day-to-day basis. If needed, they are the ones responsible for running disaster recovery operations and backing up any data.
A Network Engineer can be seen as a grade up from a Network Administration position. Many responsibilities overlap, but engineers usually have more executive responsibilities.
Salary Range: $58K-$130K per year
National Salary Average: $87,248 per year
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IT Career #3 – Cybersecurity & IT Security
Cybersecurity and IT Security refer to the practice of applying processes, technologies, and controls to protect systems, networks, devices, data, and programs from cyber attacks. Cybersecurity is focused on protecting computer systems from being damaged, blocked, or subjugated to any unauthorized access, while IT security aims to safeguard all information assets, in both digital and hard copy format.
There are 3 major types of cybersecurity: Network Security, Cloud Security, and Application Security.
Cybersecurity and IT Security professionals are highly desirable, with the demand for them growing day by day and the number of professionals being critically low. The IT industry is desperately trying to solve the shortage of Cybersecurity and IT Security experts, so starting your IT career in this field will pretty much guarantee you a job.
To start your IT career in Cybersecurity or IT Security you will most likely need an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in one of the following areas:
- Computer Science
- Information Assurance
- Cyber Security
- Informations Systems
- Computer Forensics
IT Security Specialist
Information Security Specialists create and implement systems and processes meant to keep electronic information secure and private. They analyze existing security measures and propose adjustments when needed. A career in IT as an Information Security Specialist entails that you will play a crucial role in defining standard organizational security guidelines.
Those working as IT Security Specialists have a practical background of working with vulnerability scanners, like Netsparker and Nexpose, as well as experience in creating and applying IT security policies and programs.
Salary Range: $62K-$153K per year
National Salary Average: $97,273 per year
Information Security Analyst
IT Security Analysts are tasked with taking appropriate security measures to prevent and deflect cyber attacks. However, as the number and frequency of fraudulent digital attacks increases, the job itself is also becoming more dynamic.
An IT career as an IT Security Analyst means that you must always keep up with the news about techniques and strategies used by hackers. Also, you will often be tasked with not only monitoring computer networks for vulnerabilities and security breaches but also proposing and designing recovery solutions.
IT Security Analysts are highly knowledgeable about various operating systems, have significant experience in penetration testing, installing security software, and documenting security issues. Additionally, a good understanding of firewalls, patch management, antivirus, and IDPS concepts is a must.
Salary Range: $62K-$160K per year
National Salary Average: $99,275 per year
A Cybersecurity Analyst specializes in safeguarding IT infrastructure, networks, and data from cyber-related crime, such as phishing, ransomware, malware, social engineering, and other threats.
Their role within the organization is to understand, monitor, and evaluate the IT infrastructure and its security in order to detect possible threats. They continuously work on improving the organization’s network security.
Hard skills like programming, scripting, penetration testing, hacking, data management, and developing countermeasures will need to be part of your competency portfolio to pursue a career in IT as a Cybersecurity Analyst.
Salary Range: $53K-$127K per year
National Salary Average: $81,744 per year
Cybersecurity Engineers develop secure systems that keep structures and software secured from hacking. They identify weaknesses and threats, then implement sophisticated solutions to prevent any form of cybercrime.
They are a crucial part of an organization’s IT team, and they are the ones responsible for a company’s security policies and procedures.
Cybersecurity Engineers are excellent coders and are also skilled at ethical hacking and threat modeling. They are highly proficient in Java, Ruby, Python, C++, Node, Go, and/or PowerShell. Apart from this, they exhibit great communication and collaboration abilities when working with executives and other team members.
Salary Range: $73K-$156K per year
National Salary Average: $107,042 per year
Wait, there is a good kind of hacker? The answer to that is yes, and it’s quite an exciting IT career to pursue.
Ethical Hackers, also known as White Hat Hackers are IT security experts whose job is to investigate and test the security of IT systems, networks, computers, and data. They are tasked with bypassing security barriers and identifying weaknesses that make systems, networks, computers, or data vulnerable. This way, they get to resolve security vulnerabilities in time and prevent malicious hacker attacks.
Ethical hackers are experts in scripting languages, know their way around operating systems and networking, and have a good knowledge of IT security principles. They often have several certifications in security such as: The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), GIAC Penetration Tester, Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP), Offensive Security Certified Professional, CREST, among others.
Salary Range: $64K-$160K per year
National Salary Average: $101,165 per year
IT Career #4 – Software Development
Software development is the process of building, designing, deploying, and maintaining any software. This can include system software (provides basic functionality), programming software (provides programmers with tools to write code), or application software (both mobile and web applications). If this sounds exciting to you, then Software Development could be an IT career for you to consider.
While many who work in Software Development acquired their knowledge and skills outside of a typical academic setting (e.g. courses or certifications), most still have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in one of the following fields:
- Computer Science
- Computer Engineering
- Information Technology
Software Engineers use the principles of engineering to build, debug, test, and maintain software that is meant to accomplish a certain task on a computer or solve a problem. They program these actions in a programming language, usually Python, Java, or C++.
Software Engineers also have significant hands-on experience with technologies such as Hive, Oozie, Map Reduce, Hadoop, Spark, Sqoop, and others.
Pursuing an IT career in Software Engineering will have you collaborating with other teams within the organization in order to bring about neat solutions.
Salary Range: $73K-$160K per year
National Salary Average: $108,249 per year
Software Developers are part of any software development team. A career in IT as a Software Developer means that you will work together with teams of programmers and contribute to designing, building, testing, and implementing programs and company software. They are involved in both the visual and technical aspects of a software project.
Software Developers are highly skilled coders (Java, C++, PHP), and have great attention to detail, which comes in handy when they analyze code to identify errors and weaknesses. They also exhibit excellent problem-solving skills.
Salary Range: $68K-$140K per year
National Salary Average: $97,763 per year
Mobile App Developer
With smartphones being an integral part of our everyday lives, Mobile App Developers are now wanted, more than ever. An IT career in this field is definitely worth checking out.
App Developers design, develop, and implement mobile applications. They specialize in building software applications meant for use on mobile platforms like Android and iOS. Usually, Mobile App Developers specialize in building apps for one platform, so their role may be known as Android App Developer, or iOS App Developer.
Salary Range: $59K-$180K per year
National Salary Average: $103,009 per year
There truly is a huge variety of jobs in the IT sector for you to choose from at the moment, and the IT field will only continue to expand with more jobs and new roles emerging over time.
This is the ideal time to join the IT sector and start your career in IT if tech is your passion and you see yourself working in one (or more) of the IT roles we’ve mentioned above on a daily basis.
The great thing about a career in IT? Starting in one role or specialization doesn’t limit you in terms of your career options. There is a lot of opportunity for growth, and since many IT jobs have overlapping skill sets, it will be much easier to change your IT career path in case you want to try something new.
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