Information Technology

Information technology is a growing field that offers relatively secure positions for those with solid technical skills and at least a bachelor’s degree in an IT-related field. From support to engineering, there are several specializations that deal with the various facets of information technology.

The field of information technology (IT) covers the design, administration and support of computer and telecommunications systems. Some of the positions in this field include database and network administrators, computer support specialists, computer scientists, software programmers and system analysts. The majority of career tracks in IT entail design and operational tasks related to computer hardware components, networks and software applications.

Professionals in the IT field work with businesses and organizations to set up and support viable computer networks that will keep systems efficient and reliable. IT encompasses all hardware and software used in the storing, creation and accessing of information. Examples of technologies that professionals work with are firewalls, databases, media storage devices, networks and the Internet.

Education Information

Aspiring IT professionals typically need a bachelor’s degree in a technology field, such as computer science, information systems management, programming or networking. Even without a degree, experience in an entry-level help desk position could help IT professionals advance with professional certification or vocational training. The fundamentals of a degree program generally include computer hardware, programming, networking, and technical theory. Depending on the major, students could also learn IT management, website development, computer circuitry, systems analysis and database management. Some programs also include internship opportunities. To work as a computer research scientist, a Ph.D. degree is often necessary.

Information technology degree programs are widely offered at many community colleges, vocational schools and universities. Certification preparation programs are also offered at many of these schools, though testing for credentials typically takes place at an approved testing facility. Look into these articles from to learn more.

Additionally, many schools offer IT programs online, including stand-alone courses, certificate programs, undergraduate degree programs and graduate degree programs. Check out these articles to learn about what you can expect from an online degree program in information technology.


Almost all hardware and software manufacturers offer certification options that allow IT professionals to demonstrate their proficiency with particular technologies. There are also many industry-standard IT certifications that cover fundamental and advanced understanding of general hardware, software and communications technologies. Certification isn’t required to work in the field, but is often preferred by employers. Here is a sampling of some professional IT certifications:

Required Skills

Individuals who aspire to enter the IT field should develop solid logical and critical-thinking skills. Those who enter support positions should also possess the ability to listen, communicate and maintain a professional, calm demeanor when faced with end users and frustrating problems. Computer, component and network designers, such as engineers and scientists, need to be able to envision the current needs and growth potential of users or businesses.

Career Options

Software Developers

Software developers create and write programming code for computer applications and hardware. This may include operating systems, business productivity software, Web functionality tools, video games and device drivers. Developers could take a concept from planning and design through to its final testing and implementation.

Network Engineers and Administrators

Network engineers are primarily responsible for the design and implementation of computer and telecommunications networks. Administrators typically support and maintain existing local area and wide area networks (LANs and WANs). This includes both intranet and Internet communications and server maintenance. Some degree of ongoing troubleshooting and system design adjustment is inherent in a network administrator position. Administrators also monitor an organization’s network security and develop preventive strategies against hackers.

Computer Scientists

Computer scientists innovate, develop and design new computer hardware and devices. These professionals may specialize in one component of hardware, such as processors, modems, routers or motherboards. While computer scientists often work with a team of internal test users and engineers, they typically have little to no contact with the end users of the products they develop.

Other Information Technology Careers

The following links will provide more information about professions in the IT industry.

Employment Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), occupations in the field of information technology are expected to grow faster than average from 2018-2028 overall. Computer scientists could see a 16% growth in employment in that time. They earned a median salary of $118,370 in 2018, based on BLS data. Network and system administrators were projected to see a 5% increase in jobs, and earned a median salary of approximately $82,050 in 2018. Systems and applications software developer jobs were expected to grow 26% from 2018-2028. Applications developers earned a median salary of $103,620, and the median for those who programmed systems software was $110,000.

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