Do You Have What It Takes for a Career in Information Technology? Part 3

Spotlight: Information Technology Specialists

Computer Programmers 

Programmers write code for computers and turn software designs into reality.

Computer Programmers usually earn a Bachelor’s in Computer Science; some, however, are hired with an associate degree . In college, most programmers learn only a few computer languages, but develop the skills necessary to learn new computer languages. As a result, computer programming requires a commitment to lifelong learning in order to stay current with changing technology.6

Computer Systems Analysts

Systems Analysts evaluate a company’s current computer systems and business processes at a detailed level. They will make recommendations for more efficient and effective business and IT usage and interaction. Typically they act as a bridge between business and IT.

Computer Systems Analysts must have a bachelor’s degree, usually a Bachelor’s in Computer or Information Science. Other bachelor’s degrees, such as those in business or liberal arts are considered if the individual is familiar with computers and programming.7

Computer and Information Systems Managers (IT managers)

IT Managers direct teams and run projects for computer related needs in an organization. In addition, they help identify IT goals and implement required computer systems in order to meet those goals.

Typically have a Bachelor’s in Information Science or a Bachelor’s in Computer Science. Many IT managers also have a graduate degree such as a Master’s in Information Science or even a PH.D. in Computer Science.8

Database Administrators

Database Administrators are software specialists who focus on the applications and services responsible for organizing and storing data (like financial records or shipping addresses or heath records) for an organization. They also ensure the security of data and its availability to intended users.

Usually, Database Administrators must possess a Bachelor’s in Information or Computer Science.

Information Security Analysts, Web Developers, Computer Network Architects

All three types of these IT professionals use information technology (IT) to move an organization closer to its business goals. Security analysts are in charge of keeping information safe from cyber attacks. Web developers help provide the look and feel of an organization to others. Network architects are in charge of creating the internal networks that all employees of an organization use.

Typically, a Bachelor’s in Computer Science or Information Science is required. Knowing a variety of programming languages is also important.10

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

SysAdmins are in charge of the day-to-day functioning of a company’s computer network including organizing, installing, and supporting computer systems, networks, intranets, and other data communication systems.

Typically a Bachelor’s in Computer Science or Information Systems is required. Sometimes, however, you can be hired with an associate degree or professional certification if you possess related work experience.11

Software Developers

Software Developers create the applications (software) that run on computers or other IT devices like smart phones. Some software developers focus more on the underlying computer systems that run devices or networks.

In general, a Bachelor’s in Computer Science is required, as well as strong programming skills.12

Your Information Technology Checklist

These are some of the important qualities that you will need in order to be successful in information technology. As you begin to pursue information technology related college courses online or on-campus, you will want to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you have good communication skills?
  2. Are you organized?
  3. Can you follow and implement a plan?
  4. Are you adept at problem solving?
  5. Do you possess strong analytical skills?
  6. Do you have strong computer skills and enjoy working with technology?
  7. Are you detailed-oriented and have the ability to focus for a long period of time?
  8. Do you enjoy finding technical solutions to business issues?
  9. Do you enjoy working with others?
  10. Are you creative?

If you answer yes to most of these questions, there’s a good chance that a career in information technology is the right match for your skills – and that you do have what it takes to earn your degree in IT.

6 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Computer Programmers, 2012, p.1.

7 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Computer System Analysts, Web Developers, and Computer Network Architects, 2012, p.1.

8 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Computer and Information Systems Managers, 2012, p.1.

9 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Database Administrators, 2012, p.1.

10 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Information Secruity Analysts, 2012, p.1.

11 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Network and Computer Systems Administrators, 2012, p.1.

12 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Software Developers, 2012, p.1.