At home, on the job, on the go—everywhere you look, technology is a part of us. The more we integrate our lives with technology, the more we need trained professionals to maintain and update it. These information technology specialists are becoming just as integral as the devices we cling to day in and day out, and the demand is carving out a growing and dynamic career industry.
[Earn your degree in information technology in the comfort of your own home.]
What Is Information Technology?
Loosely put, information technology, or IT, is any technology that powers the storage, processing, and information flow in any business or organization. Things like software and hardware, telecommunication, company websites, and intranet structures all fit under the umbrella of IT. This includes all the computers that a business’ employees use, the data storage where files are located, and the networks that connect all these things together.
To keep things running smoothly, these technologies need to be monitored and updated frequently. The people who do so need to be aware of the technological advances available and how to best implement them. Those in IT are responsible for data storage, technological management, software development, and information security.
A range of job or career opportunities are needed in the information technology sector:
- network engineers and administrators
- system and database administrators
- chief information officers
- help desk operators
- project managers
What Skills Do I Need to Work in IT?
In order to have a career in information technology, you’ll need to be analytical and detail oriented. Strong computer proficiency is also a requirement, but this, like coding languages, can be learned on your own. Strong communication skills are a must. Information technology is a very hands-on career, and you might find yourself teaching others how to use their systems. Being patient and caring as well as understanding will benefit you.
In order to perform the sometimes-complex functions required of people who work in technology information, you’ll be required to use and have a working knowledge of computers, servers, database management systems, and code language. Information security is also very important, so cryptography (or the practice of hiding information) is something the modern IT employee must be well versed in. You can also achieve these skills through your education if you don’t already know them.
[Do you have the required skills to work in information technology?]
How Do I Become a Part of the IT Industry?
A great way to get into the industry is by getting a degree in information technology. While it is possible to get an associate’s degree in IT, a bachelor of science in information technology will provide access to more opportunities. Once you’ve completed a bachelor’s degree, you have the option to continue your education and get a master of science in information technology as well.
Degrees in information technology are programs that present students with real-world scenarios, and they offer support to enable learning in an active environment. Courses are taught by teachers with real-world knowledge and access to up-to-date information. This will be important since technology is advancing quickly.
Because technology is constantly evolving, the best way to keep your knowledge up-to-date and prove your capabilities in a changing world is by getting a certification. There are certificate programs that are designed for those without degrees, but you’ll have more options for postbaccalaureate certificates if you’ve already completed a bachelor’s degree. There are postbaccalaureate certificates in specific networks and systems, such as Linux, Microsoft, Cisco, or Oracle, as well as more general certificates, such as information security, computer forensics, or multiplatform software development. Once you get all the basics covered and are ready to work in the field with a bachelor’s degree, a certificate can help you master specialties that open more doors for you.
Having a solid and diverse education is the best way to make progress in a career in information technology, and there are more and more programs that cater to this growing career.
Long-term national employment in the computer and information technology field is expected to grow by an average of 22 percent, with 758,800 new jobs being added in the next six years. Depending on the job specialty, anywhere from 8 to 35 percent growth is expected, with most fields growing faster than the national average for other fields.