According to the 2021 Gartner IT Symposium, global IT spending will exceed $4.5 trillion in 2022. That’s good news for anyone interested in advancing their career potential in IT or transitioning to an IT role.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects computer and information technology occupations to grow 13% through 2030, translating into two significant outcomes. First, the IT job outlook is expected to be in higher demand than average for the rest of the decade. Second, the average annual wage for computer and information technology jobs was $97,430 in May 2021, which was higher than the average annual wage for other occupations.
Earning a degree in the IT field is an excellent way to get started toward a career in an IT or related field. This article explains five types of IT jobs that offer career growth opportunities and earning potential.
IT Security Specialist
Information security breaches regularly make the news. Malicious actors often hack systems or use viruses to steal information from people or hold data hostage for money. Everyone from individuals to massive corporations is vulnerable to these attacks. That’s why IT security specialists are regularly in demand.
An IT security specialist, sometimes called a computer security specialist or information security analyst, protects an organization’s network security systems. These professionals are typically responsible for managing anti-virus software, updating firmware, securing hardware, and responding to threats. Security specialists may also be responsible for natural and accidental disaster recovery.
Every IT security position is slightly different depending on the industry, role, and organizational need. Specific tasks may include:
- Writing security documentation
- Maintaining and troubleshooting server and network problems
- Implementing security education programs for staff
- Developing plans for recovering after security incidents
- Maintaining security regulatory compliance in sensitive industries
Security specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in IT, according to the BLS. The field’s rapid growth means that some employers may opt to forgo experience and education requirements and hire candidates directly out of high school that have relevant training or certification.
With the rise of the smartphone and the Internet of Things, the world found itself in desperate need of people to build applications. Cloud computing, or the process of outsourcing data storage and processing to the “cloud” of distant servers, is a quickly growing industry. Developers who work with cloud-based applications and operations are known as cloud engineers or cloud developers.
Typically, cloud engineers are responsible for creating and maintaining networks, programs, and software that uses the cloud. Some focus on the hardware side, setting up and maintaining the infrastructure and networks on which cloud applications run. Others design the applications that run on those networks, writing programs that utilize the sheer processing and storage power cloud computing offers.
Specific responsibilities may include:
- Creating and maintaining databases
- Developing robust systems architecture
- Programming APIs
- Developing and maintaining networks
- Writing secure mobile applications
Essentially, you can enter the cloud development field with any IT background as long as you have a bachelor’s degree in the specific area.
The rise of cloud computing brought the dramatic growth of data science. This is the process of collecting, storing, and studying large amounts of data to find patterns and make forecasting plans. Data science has been improved significantly by storing and processing vast amounts of data through the cloud, so the demand for data scientists has increased dramatically in recent years. In fact, the BLS projects a 22% job growth rate for data scientists (which it classifies as computer and information research scientists) through 2030, which is much faster than the average job growth rate for all other occupations.
A data scientist is responsible for collecting and analyzing data to help organizations make better decisions. Depending on the industry, a data scientist may study business results or set up studies to gather new information. Other data scientist responsibilities include:
- “Cleaning” data to make it easier to analyze
- Developing analytical frameworks to study data
- Writing data collection tools to automate the process
- Finding trends in data and identifying appropriate action plans
- Generating reports and presentations to explain the results of analyses
The role of a data scientist is a part researcher and part programmer. If you enjoy solving puzzles and looking for patterns, data science offers many interesting information technology degree jobs.
Companies that choose not to send their data to the cloud still collect and manage large amounts of information. These organizations rely on internal databases to organize and use that data. That’s why database administrators are so important.
Database administrators, sometimes called DBAs, are IT professionals responsible for maintaining and protecting company databases. They set up the processes and systems that store data for their organization and manage how people access it. What this means can vary dramatically from business to business. The fundamental responsibilities of a DBA are managing and securely storing data, but they can also include:
- Setting up and maintaining servers and databases
- Monitoring hardware for errors and keeping it in good condition
- Performing regular updates without interrupting workflows
- Managing backups to prevent data loss
- Working with security professionals to maintain data privacy
A good DBA works behind the scenes to ensure the organization’s information workflow runs smoothly. Database administration requires a love of hardware as well as software. If you enjoy working with physical and digital IT components, then database administration may be an excellent information technology career path.
Software Developers and Quality Assurance Analysts
Every computer program and mobile app is a piece of software. The software development process is a critical part of the modern world. Not only does new software need to be developed, but programs must get updated regularly to improve security and functionality. Without software developers and quality assurance analysts, there would be no programs to run on cloud computing, perform data analysis, or use the data stored in databases.
With the growth of IT overall, demand for software developers and quality assurance analysts has skyrocketed, with the BLS projecting a 22% job growth rate through 2030. The BLS projects nearly 190,000 job openings will be needed each year, on average, for software developers, quality assurance analysts and testers through the end of the decade.
These two careers are closely related but not identical. Software developers are responsible for:
- Designing software that meets users’ needs
- Building individual software components that combine into a consistent program
- Maintaining program functionality over time
- Writing technical documentation about program code
Meanwhile, quality assurance analysts handle:
- Testing software to check for functionality or security issues
- Reporting problems to programmers
- Suggesting improvements to programs regarding usability or functionality
Software programmers and quality assurance analysts may relate to the same job. Many programmers will act as analysts for other members of their team. Both roles require an in-depth understanding of programming and the fundamental process of building software. If you like finding creative solutions to problems and can offer careful attention to detail, you can get a degree in IT to enter this career path.
Start Your IT Career Path
Whether you prefer to work with hardware or software, there are many IT or IT related roles available for professionals with the proper education and experience requirements. If you’re interested in beginning your career in the field or transitioning to IT from another field, earning a degree is an excellent way to get started.
Florida Tech offers a broad range of undergraduate, graduate, or MBA-focused online IT degrees designed to help set you on the path toward a career in the field.
- AS in Computer Information Systems
- BA in Business Administration with a specialization in Computer Information Systems
- BS in Computer Information Systems
- MBA with a specialization in Cybersecurity
- MBA with a specialization in Information Technology Management
- MBA with a specialization in Project Management in Information Technology
Florida Tech’s online IT programs can help working professionals gain the expertise to prepare for a variety of IT related roles.
National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth. Degree program options do not guarantee career or salary outcomes. Students should conduct independent research for specific employment information.