Information Technology began to take off a couple decades ago, and it just seems to grow faster and faster (see chart on right from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics). Virtually everything we touch or do has some kind of technology behind it … whether it’s a software program, web communication and collaboration, electronics and computers, cars and airplanes. Can you think of anything produced that doesn’t require some kind of technology?
Special Areas of Information Technology
Behind every one of those products, gadgets, or mechanisms is a skilled professional, or a group of skilled professionals. “IT” is short for Information Technology, but it’s sometimes called by some of its close cousins: Computer Science, Network Administration, Programming and Software, Desktop Support, Technology Support. Plus, IT also crosses into most other fields, like Hospital Information Systems, Medical and Healthcare Administration, Manufacturing, Business, Graphic Design, and more.
Employment Outlook for Information Technology Graduates
Employment in combined IT occupations is expected to increase by more than 800,000 jobs over the 2006–16 projections decade. This increase represents expected job growth of 24 percent—compared with 10 percent growth for all occupations. So, opportunities should be plentiful for workers who hope to enter the IT field. And while salaries differ a little, depending on what occupation you select in IT, the annual average salary for IT professional with a bachelor’s degree is $83,000*.
Personal Characteristics of an Information Technologist
Technology is always changing. One of the reasons technology careers are in such high demand is that they require individuals with unique skills and very adaptable learning curves.
If you’re someone who doesn’t like change, or if you’re not curious about learning new technologies, then seriously consider an IT Degree is right for you.
If it sounds intriguing, jump in and learn about available programs. (IT programs are available at the associate degree, bachelor’s degree, and master’s degree levels.
Plus, some IT careers only require certificate programs that offer specialized preparation within specific fields.)
Information Technology Degrees Required
Most IT jobs require the minimum of a bachelor’s degree. The data on right, put together by the National Science Foundation, are the results of a national survey of recent graduates in the science and engineering fields. For example, typical entry-level computer systems analysts and software engineers and must have a bachelor’s degree. In those cases where very complex tasks are required, there may be a need for a master’s degree. In 2007, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics*, almost 70 percent of IT workers had a bachelor’s or higher degree.
(Also, perhaps most importantly, look at the extraordinarily high number of graduate who are employed full time. Engineering graduates top the list at 89 percent employment, which is almost unheard of in other professions.)
On an interesting side note, according to workforce survey done by National Science Foundation, almost 66 percent of workers in the IT professions actually received degrees in fields other than computer and information sciences. But, needless to say, there are individuals with necessary math and science skills to understand IT concepts and applications. For the rest of us, the information technology degrees in highest demand right now are in computer engineering, software engineering, computer science, or information systems.
- NSF.gov: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf13311/
- Indeed.com: http://www.indeed.com/salary/Computer-Engineer.html
- BLS.gov: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society: http://www.computer.org
- Association for Computing Machinery: http://www.computingcareers.acm.org
- CompTIA: http://www.comptia.org/trainingandeducation/default.aspx