From checking email on our phones to doing math on our laptops to setting up a teleconference using cloud-based software, it’s hard to overstate the importance of information technology (IT) in the workplace and the growing number of jobs in the IT field.
Information Technology Definition
The term “information technology” first appeared in a Harvard Business Review article in 1958. (HBR). Harold J. Leavitt and Thomas L. Whisler wrote about different kinds of information technology and how they work.
- Techniques for putting information together quickly
- The use of mathematical and statistical models to help make decisions
- “Computer program that tries to mimic higher-order thinking”
“Even though there are a lot of unknowns about this technology, it seems clear that it will move quickly into the managerial scene and have clear and far-reaching effects on how managers organize their work,” they wrote.
After 60 years, it’s clear that Leavitt and Whisler were on to something important. Information technology now includes everything that businesses do with computers.
Information technology includes building a company’s communication networks, keeping data and information safe, making and running databases, helping employees fix problems with their computers or mobile devices, and doing a wide range of other tasks to make sure that business information systems work well and are safe.
What Are Some Ways That Information Technology is Used?
When it comes to IT careers, examples range from small consulting firms to huge multinational corporations, and from highly technical specialties to management ladders that require strong people skills. Here are some examples of possible routes:
1.) Computer Network Architect: This is the next step up the career ladder for a network administrator. It usually requires a bachelor’s degree and work experience in the IT field. People in this job create networks like intranets, local area networks (LANs), and wide area networks (WANs).
According to the BLS, the median pay for this kind of work was $120,520 in 2021, and the number of jobs was expected to grow by 5% by 2030. Most of the time, network architects need to know how to use many different kinds of software, such as administration tools, development environment software, and operating system program.
Network architects may also have to work with customers and sales and marketing staff to meet customer needs and make sure accounts are set up correctly.
2.) Computer Systems Analyst: This job, which is also called “system architect,” requires knowledge of both IT systems and business systems. As with many jobs in information technology, you usually need a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information science to do this job.
However, some people get into this field after studying business or even the liberal arts. Strong computer skills are a must. These skills often include programming tools, database management software, and software for creating a development environment.
At the same time, the people who do this work must be able to use computer systems to deal with business management issues like workflow, inventory control, and production processes. As more businesses move to the cloud, there will be more work in this area. BLS says that the median pay for this job in 2021 was $99,270.
3.) Computer Support Specialist: These jobs require a bachelor’s degree and are a good fit if you like answering questions about computer software and hardware, setting up equipment, and training computer users.
People in this position need to know a lot about different kinds of software, such as database interface programs, tools for developing environments, and software for operating systems. BLS says that the median annual salary for this job will be $57,910 in 2021, and there will be 9% more jobs in this field by 2030.
4.) Database administrator: This is a field that is growing quickly and involves keeping data like financial information and customer shipping records safe and secure. Most of the time, the jobs are in specialized companies that do work for other companies or in industries that use a lot of data, like insurance.
According to the BLS, the median pay for this job was $98,860 in 2020, and the number of jobs was expected to grow by 8% by 2030. Most employers want to hire people with a bachelor’s degree in a field related to information or computers.
It’s also helpful to know about database management software, operating system tools, software for development environments and web platforms, and enterprise resource planning tools.
4.) Information Security Analyst: This is one of the IT jobs that is growing the fastest, and the BLS says it will grow by 33% by 2030. Professionals in these roles keep cyber attacks from getting into company networks and systems.
Most of the time, you need a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field and some experience in the IT field, like an IT internship, to get these jobs.
In this field, professionals need to use tools for the development environment, as well as software for monitoring and running networks and certain security tools. BLS says that the median wage for this job in 2021 was $102,600.
5.) Network and Computer Systems Administrator: This job usually requires a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field, but some employers may only ask for an associate’s degree in IT or a postsecondary certificate.
In either case, these jobs are often open to professionals who have never worked in the field before. According to the BLS, the median salary for these jobs in 2021 was $80,600, and the number of jobs is expected to grow by 5% through 2030.
As part of this job, you might have to maintain the hardware and software of a computer network, back up data, and fix problems with the network every day. To do this job, you need to know how to use tools for database management, network monitoring, and building web platforms.
For many of these career paths, getting a bachelor’s degree is the most important first step. But don’t underestimate the value of getting an associate degree in IT. It could help you get your foot in the door and is a good way to get started on your bachelor’s degree.
In higher education, a computer science degree is mostly about programming and making software, while information technology is the study of how computer systems and networks affect how a business works. Both can be great ways to start a career in the field.
You could also choose to specialize in a certain area of computers, like cyber security, or get a master’s degree in information technology (IT) or a related field.
No matter what path you take, the world of IT opportunities that Leavitt and Whisler saw opening up in 1958 is still growing and shows no signs of stopping.