Careers for IT Professionals - dummies

Careers for IT Professionals

By Faithe Wempen

An IT (information technology) professional is someone with a two-year or four-year college degree in an information technology discipline such as Computer Information Technology, Computer Science, or Computer Graphic Design. IT professional jobs require formal education.

A well-rounded IT professional should know at least a couple of programming languages, should be able to set up and troubleshoot networks, should be an expert-level Windows user, and should know her way around at least one other operating system besides Windows.

Information systems managers

An information systems (IS) manager is like a project manager but for computer systems. She looks at the “big picture” of a company’s computer systems. An information system consists of people, procedures, software, hardware, and data.

The IS manager is the person who brings them all together to get results. An IS manager might oversee an initiative to satisfy an information need, such as for production managers to receive daily reports. This initiative might include assembling a team of programmers, identifying the required hardware and software, developing procedures for handling the information request, and delivering the data to the managers in an easy-to-use format.

Health IT specialists

In many countries, governments have recently enacted laws that require health-care providers to computerize certain parts of their practices. For example, patient health records, medical billing, supply and drug inventories, and medical equipment maintenance records will soon need to be in electronic form if they are not already.

This requirement opens up many job opportunities for health IT specialists. A health IT specialist plans and sets up healthcare recordkeeping systems that meet all government requirements, and keep such systems up to date and in good repair.

Network installers

Technicians who install networks have an active work environment. Rather than sitting at a desk all day, as most IT professionals do, installers are out crawling around in the ceilings and basements of buildings, running cables and mounting satellite dishes. They set up closets with stacks of switches and routers in them, configure network security settings, and make sure all network hardware is installed correctly and functioning well.

To install networks, you should have at least a high school diploma, plus a technical certification such as CompTIA Network+.

Bench repair technicians

A bench repair technician is like a mechanic for computers. As the word bench implies, this technician works primarily at a workbench in a repair shop, although mobile repair technician positions are also available.

Bench repair technicians can diagnose system problems with computers that customers bring in for repairs, including both hardware problems like defective parts and software problems like virus infections. It is a good job for someone who prefers working mostly with the computers themselves rather than with their users.

Database administrators

Businesses store large amounts of data, and that data is often much more valuable than the hardware on which it is stored. Information about customers, orders, product inventory, suppliers, and market trends must be readily and reliably available for the business to thrive.

A database administrator is an expert in managing, summarizing, and safeguarding large amounts of data. Database administrators also plan and create well-organized database systems for storing new and existing data.

Help desk technicians

If you enjoy working with Microsoft Windows settings, you might like a career as a help desk technician. In this career, you assist end users in making system changes, troubleshooting problems with Windows, managing a database of authorized users, and helping decide on appropriate policies for the company’s computers that will allow users to do their work in safety and privacy.

Security specialists

Computer security is among the biggest growth areas in IT. With this comes a growing demand for engineers who have the skills to protect computers and networks. Security specialists are responsible for ensuring that all the security devices in a company are correctly configured. These specialists must also be able to spot different types of attacks and know how to respond to each one.