If you have good analytical skills, a passion for technology, and you enjoy spending your time in front of a computer, a career in IT may be the right path for you.
This page is dedicated to some of the most in-demand occupations in the field.
Computer programmers write and test the code that enables software applications to provide functionality.
A computer support specialist provides technical support for a company, organization's customers, or their employer's staff.
Computer Systems Analysts work to ensure that all computer systems within an organization serve to support organizational goals.
Computer systems technician oversee the operations of an organization's IT network, operating systems, hardware and software.
A cryptographer is someone who uses codes and ciphers to keep information safe.
A database administrator uses software to store and organize data, such as financial information and customer shipping records.
Information security analysts oversee computer network systems to stave off potential security breaches.
IT technicians maintain a company's computer workstations and software for all employees.
Network administrators are responsible for maintaining computer networks and solving any problems that may occur with them.
A network technician manages, repairs, and implements computer network systems.
Software developers are the brains behind the design, installation, testing and maintenance of software systems.
Software developers implement software solutions by building programs, applications and websites.
Telecom Technicians install and repair telecommunications cable, including fiber optics.
A video game designer creates the core features of a video game to make it engaging for users.
Video game testers are experts who test video games to detect bugs and errors in different levels of the game.
Web developers are responsible for designing and developing websites and website applications.
A webmaster is the person in IT that is responsible for maintaining a website and all its technical issues.
Workers in technology-related occupations may find employment in a wide variety of fields, from computer system design to the federal government.
Computer programmers held approximately 185,700 jobs in the United States in 2020, most of them working in the field of computer systems design, in finance, insurance, for software publishers, or the manufacturing field.
Some technology-related occupations have a significant percent of self-employed workers.
For example, approximately 18 percent of all web developers and digital designers in the United States were self-employed in 2020.
Creating new software is typically a collaborative process, and, as a result, workers in this field may work in teams, especially for complex projects.
The software developing process usually starts with planning, analysis, and design.
Software development is the fourth step following by testing, implementation, and maintenance.
The software development process is often supervised by a project manager.
The project manager is usually someone who has experience in the field and is responsible for making sure that a quality product is finalized on time and within budget.
Computer programmers are the ones who turn the programs designed by software developers and engineers into something that can be understood by a computer using C++, Java, or another computer programming language.
Software quality assurance analysts and testers usually start by creating test plans.
Afterward, they implement software testing, document and report defects, and provide feedback to software developers.
Web developers create and maintain websites, and they are sometimes the ones who take care of all the technical aspects involved.
Some web developers are also responsible for creating content for the website.
Computer and information research scientists are the ones who design new uses for existing technologies to solve complex problems in business, science, medicine, or another field.
Computer network architects design and build networks such as local area networks, wide area networks, or Intranets.
Network architects need to become familiar with the organization’s business plan and specific needs before designing its network.
Some IT professionals work from their homes, especially if their job description involves writing code or other tasks that can be completed remotely.
As cloud computing becomes more popular, many firms choose to outsource services from in-house IT departments to companies specialized in cloud computing.
Many companies in the non-computing industries will work with firms that specialize in computer system design and with firms that provide data processing, hosting, and related services.
Most technology occupations require at least a bachelor’s degree, but having a master’s degree will improve your advancement prospects.
An associate’s degree or some post-secondary education that included some computer-related classes may be enough for a job as a computer support specialist.
Certification programs are also offered by software vendors or by other certification providers.
Some companies may require that their support specialists be certified by the companies that create the products they use.
Computer support specialists who are efficient at their work can advance to a network administrator or a management position in their department.
Computer network architects typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, or another computer-related field.
Degree programs in computer fields are usually four-year long and are designed to prepare network architects that can work with a wide variety of technologies.
Before being advanced to a network architect position, you will need up to 10 years of experience in a different IT occupation, such as a network administrator.
Employers may prefer network architects who have a master’s degree in information systems- a credential that can be earned after completing a two-year graduate program.
Software developers need a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field.
However, for some software development positions, employers may prefer candidates who have a master’s degree as well.
Although they may not be responsible for writing code, software developers need a background in computer programing and hands-on experience that can be earned in school or through an internship.
Developers need to keep up to date with the latest technological advancements throughout their careers.
Computer and information research scientists usually need at least a master’s degree, although some employers may hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree and experience in the field.
Sometimes a Ph.D. in computer science or another information systems-related field may be required for those who work in computer research.
Education requirements for web developers vary depending on the employer and range from a high school diploma to a bachelor’s degree.
Most technology-related occupations require life-long learning as this field advances rapidly, and workers need to keep up with new tools and computer programming languages.
Besides formal education and technical knowledge, technology-related professions also require some personal skills.
Analytical skills are needed, especially for those who design software and for those who examine computer or network-related problems.
Creativity is needed when finding innovative ways to improve and design new computer software.
Software developers, testers, and quality assurance analysts are often detail-oriented persons who can pay attention to every single detail when looking at potential sources of error in an application.
Interpersonal skills are also important, as many technology professionals work in teams when designing and implementing new applications or systems.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for technology occupations in the United States was $91,250 as of May 2020- more than double the median wage across all occupations- which in 2020 was $41,950.
Although IT jobs are usually remunerated well, salaries in this field vary widely depending on the occupation, experience level, employer, and many other factors.
Computer and information research scientist is one of the best-paid technology professions, with the median annual wage calculated at $126,830.
Annual wages above the $100,000 threshold are also very common for computer network analysts, software developers, and information security analysts.
The lowest median annual wage in this group was reported by computer support specialists- who reportedly earned $55,510, on average.
Entry-level computer support specialists can start with an annual salary below $40,000 while experienced workers make more than $110,000.
Salaries for support workers also depend on their area of expertise.
Those who specialize in testing and evaluating network systems are usually better remunerated than those who provide customer support.
The industry of employment also plays a part in determining the annual salary.
For example, computer network support specialists who worked in the telecommunications field made $74,220, on average, while those who worked for companies that provide management services made $65,440.
Many technology-related occupations have good advancement opportunities, and workers earn more after gaining a few years of experience and taking on additional responsibilities.
Entry-level web developers may earn less than $41,000 per year, but as they become more experienced, salaries become closer to the $100,000 mark.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top 10 percent of all web developers made more than $146,430 per year.
One of the top-paying industries for web developers was the publishing industry, where the median annual wage for workers in this profession was $123,870.
On the other hand, those who worked for companies that provide advertising services made $71,930 per year, on average.
Salaries for technology-related occupations are also determined by the region of employment and the economy.
The top-paying states for software developers were Washington and California, where median annual wages were closer to $140,000.
Developers in South Dakota and Wyoming, on the other hand, made less than $80,000 per year, on average.
Computer and information technology occupations will grow by 13 percent, on average, from 2020 to 2030, according to BLS.
However, prospects vary depending on the career.
Overall employment for computer support specialists will grow 9 percent from 2020 to 2030, with 70,400 new jobs occurring each year.
More spectacular growth is projected for computer and information research specialists, who will see a 22 percent profession rise, but since this is a smaller profession, it will result in only 3,200 new job openings per year.
Another profession that will see a 22 percent growth is the software developer occupation.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 189,200 openings for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers will appear each year over the decade.
Some occupations, such as computer and information system managers, will grow as more firms expand their operations to digital platforms.
This profession will grow 11 percent in the next decade, and approximately 42,400 new job openings for computer and information system managers will occur each year.
Limited employment growth is expected for network and computer systems administrators- a profession that will grow only 5 percent over the decade.
This profession will be impacted by the fact that cloud computing increases the productivity of network administrators, and this leads to fewer job openings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a bachelor’s degree before starting a career in technology?
Most technology-related professions require at least a bachelor’s degree in computer systems, information technology, or a related field.
However, some professions require only an associate’s degree or certificate in the field.
If you want to become a support specialist, some employers will hire you will only an associate’s degree or certificate offered by software vendors or neutral certification providers.
Do I need experience for a career in this field?
There are technology occupations that don’t require any experience, but if you want to become a network architect, for example, you will need at least five years of experience in a related profession.
Management positions also require many years of experience.
How much do workers in the technology field make?
Salaries in the IT field vary widely depending on the occupation and a variety of other factors.
Computer and information research scientists and software developers are among the top-paying technology occupations- with median annual wages above the $100,000 threshold.
User support specialists, on the other hand, make around $50,000 per year, on average, and beginners may earn less than $35,000.
Will IT professions continue to be in demand in the future?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most IT professions will grow in the future.
The average growth rate for technology occupations was estimated at 13 percent, but it ranges from 5 to 22 percent, depending on the specialty.
Job prospects also vary depending on the region and the local economy.