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Information Technology

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Career Overview

A career in information technology offers you a chance to be on the front lines of a field that is continually transforming. Every company has a vast amount of data or information, and they need it to be managed extremely well in order to stay competitive.So what is information technology? It's the application of computers and telecommunication equipment to store, recover, transmit, and manipulate various forms of data. It could be sales figures, credit card numbers, personnel information, or any other type of information a company uses to run its business.If you work within a large company, you may be a part of a team in an information technology or IT department, and you'll have specific tasks relevant to your group, be it database administrators, network administrators, or IT project managers.

Salaries and Job Outlook*

2013 Median Annual Pay
Number of Jobs in 2013
Projected Growth Rate
National
$139,220
365,690
11.9 %
Virginia
$160,950
13,460
 

Education and Training

Degrees Required:
Bachelor's Degree in computer science

Entry-level jobs may only require a bachelor's degree, but depending on what you specialize in, you may be required to pursue a master's degree or additional training or licensure.

 
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Valued Traits & Abilities

Analytical Skills
Computer Skills
Detail Oriented
Logical Reasoning
Quantitative Abilities

Career Opportunities

Information technology is part of or can influence other types of business technology professions, including a few of them highlighted here.

Business Analysis

A business analyst must be able to recognize a company's specific requirements for their software systems and create strategies to effectively solve those problems. Within the IT business analysis team or group, there are usually three subcategories: strategists, architects, and system analysts.

Cloud Computing

More and more businesses are turning to cloud computing infrastructures to vastly increase their security, reliability, performance, and overall function. As more cloud computing is implemented, the need for individuals who understand this relatively unexplored area is greatly increasing.

Database Administration

A company's database is one ofits most valued possessions, and so a well-managed, secure database is essential for the success of the organization. A database administrator or DBA, must be responsible for efficiently and securely operating a company's databases and work on their organization and progress.Database administrators must be very keen to detail because they must verify that the data in their databases is accurate as well as from a credible source. Database administrators need to also develop their databases by determining what the requirements of the databases are and who will be utilizing them. Usually DBA's will have several general tasks to complete, but there can be DBAs who specialize, like systems DBAs and Application DBAs.

Information Systems Analysts

Within a company, these professionals play a crucial role of bridging the gap between information technology and business. Most analysts will specialize in a certain type of computer system, predominantly related to their organizations type of work. Analysts must always be aware of new potential technology systems and be able to determine the cost and benefits of installing them, as well as assist in the installation process.

Information Technology Administration-Management

Information technology managers or IT managers play the leadership roles in the technology-related departments in an organization. IT managers must organize, coordinate and supervise all computer related activities that occur in the organization. They need to be motivated and proactive in order to establish technology goals and apply the necessary computer systems to execute the goals.

Networking

Network administrators must establish and foster the organizations various networks including local area networks (LANS), wide area networks (WANs), intranets, and network segments. They must ensure that all venues of communication are working properly through the telecommunications networks and manage the data storage networks. They must also support the organization's server, desktop and mobile equipment. Some other specific duties include checking the performance and security of the networks, fixing any problems affecting the networks, and install any updates necessary.

Operating Systems

Operating systems analysts build, develop, and test operating-system level software, compilers, and network distribution software. There are many specific assignments that these operating systems analysts must perform, including modifying the software for any errors or updates to alter it for new hardware, consulting with engineers to asses interface between hardware and software and monitoring the functioning of the equipment.

QA

QA, or quality assurance experts,work to ensure that the products created provide customer satisfaction. There are software QA engineers who have the important task of monitoring the software development process to guarantee that software follows the standards set by the company, as well as ensuring the software's functioning is outstanding. Some of the primary tasks that a software QA engineer must handle are software designing, writing source code, commanding the source code, reviewing the code, program testing, integration of software, and managing the software release process.

Work Environment

Most information technologists work full time in an office environment. It can be collaborative work, as different analysts and engineers collaborate to identify and solve problems. But information technologists often spend a lot of time working alone.

* Source: BLS Data - 2013