Working in the information technology field might include a wide range of responsibilities. For example, you may work in various areas, including computer support, cybersecurity, data, cloud computing, and more.
It’s natural to believe that working in information technology (IT) entails working in a large city’s IT office. But this isn’t the complete story. According to Burning Glass Technologies, over 90% of IT skills and employment are outside the United States’ IT industry. Non-tech IT occupations are also rising at nearly 50% faster than tech-sector IT positions, indicating a widening gap. In addition, IT skills are required in institutions such as hospitals, municipal governments, banks, and colleges around the country.
However, the field of information technology provides a wide range of job opportunities in several businesses. For example, an IT worker may specialize in cybersecurity to keep computers secure, cloud computing to make information more accessible, or help desk positions to aid with an organization’s day-to-day operations.
IT Career Paths
Knowing what options are accessible to you will help you navigate your initial steps in the IT industry.
Don’t know where to begin? Many IT workers start in generalist professions like help desk technicians or IT associates, which tackle a wide variety of topics. Although an entry-level IT certification may help you acquire one of these jobs, it isn’t always needed. You can consider concentrating your profession on a more specialized topic after you’ve gotten some experience and a better understanding of what you like doing. If you’re starting, you might look at entry-level IT employment to see what additional options you have.
Unless otherwise noted, salary and job forecast data comes from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and relates to 2019 through 2029.
1. Customer support
In their early IT careers, many individuals work in computer support roles, including a wide variety of computer operations. From there, you may specialize in a particular area, such as cybersecurity or networks, or stay in computer support as a senior or manager. If you’re unclear where to begin, the fundamentals are a fantastic place to start. First, look into the Google IT Support Professional Certificate, which needs no prior experience in the field.
Salary: In 2020, the median income for computer support experts was $55,510.
Job growth forecast: 8%
Early-career professions: IT support technician, desktop support technician, help desk technician, and IT associate are related jobs.
Senior or mid-career jobs: Service desk supervisor, support desk manager, senior help desk support technician
Starting: Getting an entry-level IT certification may help you get the abilities you need if you’re starting.
Protecting computer systems, devices, and sensitive data against viruses, unwanted access, damage, and data breaches is what cybersecurity entails. According to Global Knowledge, an IT professional development business, cybersecurity is one of two disciplines in IT that will experience the most considerable demand (the other being cloud computing).
Salary: In 2020, the median pay for information security analysts was $103,590.
Job growth forecast: 31%
Early-career professions: Information security analyst, cybersecurity analyst, and cybersecurity engineer are related jobs.
Senior or mid-career jobs: Information security manager, senior cyber engineer, ethical hacker
Starting: Learning the fundamentals of cybersecurity will help you get started in this field. Consider acquiring an entry-level certification, such as CompTIA Security+ or Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).
3. Networks and systems
Systems IT workers deal with servers and computer systems, whereas network IT professionals work with network-related jobs or hardware. As a result, they may have overlapping responsibilities, especially in smaller businesses where you’re more likely to wear many hats—starting as an analyst or administrator and working your way up to network or systems engineer or architect.
Salary: In 2020, the median pay for network and systems administrators was $84,810.
Job growth forecast: 4%
Early-career professions: Network administrator, systems administrator, network implementation technician, and systems analyst are used to describe people who work in networking and systems administration.
Senior or mid-career jobs: Computer network architects, network engineers, systems engineers, network security engineers, cloud network engineers, senior systems administrators
Starting: Many certification alternatives are available for networks and systems, such as the CompTIA Server+ or the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA). Otherwise, you may work your way up to one of these specialties by starting as a generalist on the IT help desk.
4. Software development
Software developers, also known as software engineers, build computer programs that may be used to do various functions. Examples of software include your web browser, music streaming service, and online video conferencing app. Software creation may lead to opportunities in multiple fields, including banking, video game production, and technology.
Salary: In 2020, the median income for software engineers was $110,140.
Job growth forecast: 22%
Early-career professions: Software engineer, software developer, and senior software engineer are all terms used to describe people who work in the software industry.
Starting: To get a career in software development, you’ll need to learn the coding languages that are employed. Start with the most typically requested languages, such as Python, Java, or Ruby.
5. Web development
Working in web development includes designing and managing websites as well as mobile apps. Web developers’ job descriptions include working on the front end or back end of a website, or both.
Salary: In 2020, the median wage for web developers and digital designers was $77,200.
Job growth forecast: 8%
Early-career professions: It includes a web developer, front-end developer, web designer, full-stack developer, back-end developer, front-end engineer, full-stack engineer, and back-end engineer.
Companies now have unparalleled access to data about their customers, services, and other business aspects because of internet-connected gadgets’ widespread use. Even though data isn’t a typical IT specialization, the growing need for data skills makes it a viable career choice for people seeking IT-related jobs. For example, as a data technician, you may maintain hardware and security, or as a data analyst or scientist, you might sift through data to identify patterns and insights.
Salary: The median income for database administrators in 2020 was $98,860.
Job growth forecast: 10%
Early-career professions: It includes a data center technician, data analyst, and database administrator.
Senior or mid-career jobs: The jobs include in this category are data scientist, data architect, and data engineer.
Starting: If you want to work as a data technician, you need to experience IT support. Consider acquiring a data analytics certification, such as the IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate or the Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate, if you want to work directly with data.
7. Cloud computing
Cloud computing and cybersecurity were deemed the most in-demand technical field in IT by Global Knowledge. Programming on cloud software platforms such as Azure, AWS, or Google Cloud is a standard part of a cloud technology profession.
Salary: According to Glassdoor, cloud engineers earned a basic income of $100,000 in 2021.
Job growth forecast: According to LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs Report, 27% of people are looking for this work.
Early-career professions: It includes a cloud engineer and cloud computing programmer.
Senior or mid-career jobs: The jobs include in this category are a cloud architect and cloud consultant.Starting: If you want to enter into the cloud computing industry, you’ll need cloud-specific expertise. You may get cloud certifications or finish training.