The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the information technology (IT) sector to grow by 16 percent between 2006 and 2016--much faster than other industries. Database networking, information security, and online marketing are some of the major focus areas for today''s information technology industry. Information technology spending is steady or increasing for many companies looking to expand their global reach and maintain confidence during a struggling economy. IT is an increasingly global field, with major players like China and India making major contributions to the field. IT has become the backbone of some country''s infrastructures. And with a wide variety of career paths available, IT represents a high growth field that can offer a lot to educated professionals.
Career Variety in Information Technology
Working in IT can involve a variety of roles, depending on your interest and your education:
- Computer programming
- Desktop and network support
- Software design
- Web design
- Network security
- Technical writing
Most roles in IT take place in office environments, with a significant amount of time spent in front of a computer or on the phone. Working with a team is a skill traditionally valued by employers, as well. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the IT professionals with the most career opportunities should be those with expertise in business and communications.
Education for an IT Career
Most employers require a college degree for positions in IT. While most candidates typically have at least a four-year degree, two-year degrees and other certifications can qualify you for some positions as well. These degrees, such as an associate''s or bachelor''s can be earned on campus or online. In turn, earning a degree can be the first step toward a career in IT, regardless of the specific field you are pursuing.
Salaries in IT
Many entry-level positions in IT are support or technician roles, allowing you to gain some initial experience while familiarizing yourself with various roles within the industry. However, as you gain experience, you can find yourself moving up the salary ladder. According to the BLS, these positions earned the following median annual salaries in 2007:
- Network administrator: $64,690
- Network analyst: $68,220
- Computer support specialist: $42,400
In addition to solid earnings potential, graduates of information technology programs can find employment in a variety of fields and industries including:
- Computer systems design
- Software publishing
- Colleges and universities
- Public education system
In 2007, the highest paying industries included natural gas distribution, computer manufacturing, as well as securities and commodity exchanges. As you seek out employment as an IT specialist, you may want to concentrate on the highest paying states according to the BLS:
- District of Columbia
- New York
Gaining experience in a variety of areas can help advance your career, and a degree program in IT can help you define your career and educational goals more concretely.