According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for computer and information technology or IT jobs in May 2020 was USD 91,250. This is more than twice the median yearly wage of USD 41,950 for all other occupations in the same period.
This proves the stereotype: IT professionals indeed draw some of the highest salaries today. It is not limited to the United States, either, as IT jobs in Dubai, France, and many other places in the world also pay rather handsomely.
Naturally, there are variances in the pay of different IT professionals. Those in possession of more advanced skill sets can obviously command higher salaries. The IT field is also broad, and some IT specialisations pay more than others.
Even so, freshers — i.e., inexperienced fresh graduates — will do well to consider a career in IT. As they advance up the IT career ladder, they can expect their pay and benefits to increase along with their career advancement.
Here are seven of the IT career options freshers might consider.
1. Computer Support Specialist
Suppose you are trying to install a business-critical application to your computer. For some reason, however, the application doesn’t finish installing. All you get is an obscure error message that doesn’t tell you anything useful. You’ve tried to do everything within your limited technical ability — restart, reinstall, shut down, reinstall, and many more times in succession — to no avail.
That’s where a computer support specialist would come in.
Computer support specialists go by many names. They are called computer support technicians, help desk support technicians, help desk support analysts, and desktop support specialists. What they are, however, are people who troubleshoot issues for computer end users.
Computer support specialists could be working for a company, in which case they would spend most of their time troubleshooting issues in employees’ computers or workstations. They could also be employed by computer manufacturers, in which case, they would provide troubleshooting support to the manufacturer’s consumers.
2. Network Administrator
Network administrators maintain and manage company networks. One of their most important tasks is putting together the network hardware. Thus, they’re in charge of installing and setting up servers, routers, switches, and other such equipment and configuring their settings.
Network administrators also install the software and maintain the protocols that keep the network secure. They also deploy network-wide fixes, patches, updates, and upgrades, and they are often in charge of troubleshooting network and connectivity issues.
In other words, network administrators are in charge of the day-to-day operations of computer networks.
3. Cloud Administrator
If the thought of Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and Azure excites you, a career in cloud administration could be for you.
A cloud administrator’s main task is to handle a company’s transition to cloud computing. In other words, a cloud administrator is in charge of transferring the company’s website and information systems from the company’s local, physical servers to cloud servers.
Cloud administrators may also perform cloud computing maintenance tasks, provide cloud computing support to end-users, and even design systems architectures fit for cloud-hosted infrastructures. They are also in charge of keeping their cloud infrastructures secure and operating smoothly.
4. Database Architect and Administrator
Database architects and administrators create, design and maintain the databases in which companies store their valuable data such as consumer or customer data, financial data and shipping data.
To be effective at their job, database architects and administrators must understand the type of data their company needs to store. Next, they design and create the database, ensuring that it is secure from unauthorised intrusions. At the same time, they also make sure the data contained in the database are easily accessible and readily usable for business leadership, data analysts and all other concerned parties.
Database architects and administrators are also in charge of the day-to-day tasks of maintaining databases, ensuring that they are operating efficiently and are not throwing errors. They are also responsible for backing up the contents of their databases.
5. Computer Systems Analyst
Computer systems analysts design computer systems and procedures to improve efficiency. First, they study and analyse existing systems and processes to see if they can be improved. They then design new or improved computer systems and procedures, integrating innovative and emerging technologies if such is warranted based on their cost-benefit analyses.
Computer systems analysts also oversee the implementation and configuration of the systems they’ve designed. They guide end-users on using the improved system and provide operations or instruction manuals for future reference.
Software quality assurance analysts and programmer analysts are two types of computer systems analysts. Note that computer systems analysts often have to acquire domain knowledge to design the most efficient systems for the company involved.
6. Cyber Security Specialist
Cyber security specialists have one main goal: to ensure the company’s infrastructure (i.e., computer systems, data, applications) is secure from unauthorised incursions, theft, and manipulation. In line with this, cyber security specialists perform many different tasks.
Cyber security specialists actively seek out vulnerabilities and risks in existing systems (both hardware and software) and procedures. Then they work towards closing vulnerabilities and mitigating risks.
They add layers of protection to existing systems as needed and actively monitor these systems to ensure their integrity and detect potential breaches. They are also responsible for resolving any cyber security incidents.
7. Data Analyst
Data analysts collect data, and in the process, they help companies streamline data-collection processes. They then analyse the data collected, spotting patterns and making predictions. Afterwards, they spend a lot of time making reports and presenting their findings to business leadership.
Overall, data analysts help businesses understand their past and current performance and project their future performance. They also help companies detect potential business threats and opportunities, allowing them to mitigate threats and take advantage of opportunities.
The Future Is Bright in IT
IT jobs are some of the most lucrative careers available. IT jobs are also on an upward growth trend, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting the sector is expected to grow 13 percent between 2020 and 2030.
If you are a fresher with the skills and the inclination, you will do well to get into an IT career now. In a few years, after mastering and upgrading your core skills and developing your leadership potential, you could be filling higher-paying management and strategic IT roles.
Also published on Medium.