Required Skills for Computer and Information Technology Careers

Computer and Information Technology Careers

Computer and Information Technology Careers

Technology is constantly evolving. Keeping up with the latest advances is critical to success in technology careers. The IT industry employed more than 1.5 million people in 2011—the largest amount of any computer-related industry. Computer and information technology professionals manage and support networks, create new software, and ensure information security.

Important skills required for computer and information technology careers include the following:

  • Problem solving, using technical skills and insight
  • Mathematical ability, particularly an understanding of concepts and logic
  • Computer fluency, including programming languages and techniques
  • Attention to detail

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What Computer and Information Technology Professionals Do

Three types of computer and information technology roles exist: development, support, and analysis.

Job Profiles

Computer and Information Systems Managers are responsible for all things computer-related in an organization, from assessing technology needs to the installation and upgrading of hardware and software.

Education:

        • Bachelor’s of science in information technology is a common path to this career, although a master’s degree may be required.

Pay: The median annual wage was $115,780 in May 2010.*

Computer Systems Analysts use technology (hardware, software, and networks) to help an organization operate more efficiently.

Education:

        • Bachelor’s degree is the entry-level requirement, although employment opportunities may be better with a graduate degree.
        • Course work should include technology practices and products, and technology issues and resolution.

Pay: The median annual wage was $77,740 in May 2010.* 

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Database Administrators (DBA) protect an organization’s data from loss and unauthorized access and make the storage and retrieval of data efficient.

Education:

        • Bachelor’s degree in information technology or a related degree program.
        • Course work should provide a thorough understanding of the theory, principles, and practices of information systems.

Pay: The median annual wage was $73,490 in May 2010.*

Network and Computer Systems Administrators maintain network security, provide network support, and look after the day-to-day operation of the network.

Education:

        • Bachelor’s degree in information technology, computer science, or a related field.
        • Graduate degree may also be required depending on responsibilities and the organization.

Pay: The median annual wage was $69,160 in May 2010.*

Software Developers design computer programs. They plan how the application or system will work, and provide instruction for writing the code.

Education:

        • Bachelor’s degree in a computer- or technology-related program, with a focus on creating technical solutions.
        • A strong programming background is also necessary.

Pay: The median annual wage was $90,530 in May 2010.*

Why Consider a Career in Computer and Information Technology

Even in a challenging economy, organizations need individuals with technology skills. Those with the relevant computer and IT knowledge will be well placed to respond to demand.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, national employment in the computer and information technology field is expected to grow at a greater than average rate, adding 758,800 new jobs from 2010 to 2020.

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Occupation Number of Jobs in 2010 % Change Projected by 2020 Net Change Projected by 2020
Computer and Information Systems Managers 307,900 +18% 55,800
Computer Systems Analysts 544,400 +22% 120,400
Database Administrators 110,800 +31% 33,900
Network and Computer Systems Administrators 347,200 +28% 96,600
Software Developers 913,100 +30% 270,900

SOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

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