Is information technology a good major? An IT degree can be a great choice for those seeking a career path with diverse options and opportunities. Furthermore, as technology continues to advance, the industry as a whole continues to grow.
So what are the most popular and in-demand career paths in this dynamic field?
According to a Burning Glass analysis of national jobs data, the top five most in-demand roles that call for a bachelor's degree in IT are:
- Business Analyst
- Software Development Engineer
- Network Engineer
- Systems Analyst
- Systems Engineer
Rounding out the top 10 titles are systems administrator, programmer/analyst, information technology manager, database administrator and information technology audit manager.1
Furthermore, our increasing reliance on technology means IT jobs exist across a broad range of industries, ranging from professional, scientific and technical services to transportation equipment manufacturing to educational services and hospitals, providing plenty of variety.2
3 Popular IT Careers: A Spotlight
Let's take a closer look at the outlooks and responsibilities for three of the top titles above: systems administrators, systems analysts and software development engineers.
What Do Systems Administrators Do?
Those in this crucial role install, configure and support computer networks for organizations. Jobs in the field are expected to grow 12% from 2012 to 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and annual median pay was $72,560 in 2012.3
Responsibilities of network and computer systems administrators typically include the following:
- Maintain and administer computer networks and related computing environments including computer hardware, systems software, applications software, and all configurations.
- Perform data backups and disaster recovery operations.
- Diagnose, troubleshoot, and resolve hardware, software, or other network and system problems
- Plan, coordinate, and implement network security measures to protect data, software, and hardware.
- Configure, monitor, and maintain email applications or virus protection software.4
What Do Computer Systems Analysts Do?
Computer systems analysts design and optimize information systems for companies and organizations. Projected jobs growth in the field is much faster than average at 25%, according to the BLS, and the annual median salary in 2012 was $79,680.5
Computer systems analysts typically do the following:
- Expand or modify systems to serve new purposes or improve workflow.
- Test, maintain and monitor computer programs and systems
- Develop, document and revise system design procedures, test procedures, and quality standards.
- Provide staff and users with assistance solving computer-related problems
What Do Software Developers Do?
Software development engineers, also known as software developers, create, develop and update the applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or other device. Employment of those in this field also is expected to see much faster than average growth, 22% from 2012-2022, per the BLS, with a 2012 median salary of $93,350.7
The typical main functions of this exciting role are as follows:
- Modify existing software to correct errors, allow it to adapt to new hardware, or to improve its performance.
- Develop and direct software system testing and validation procedures, programming, and documentation.
- Confer with systems analysts, engineers, programmers and others to design system and to obtain information on project limitations and capabilities, performance requirements and interfaces.
- Analyze user needs and software requirements to determine feasibility of design within time and cost constraints.
- Design, develop and modify software systems, using scientific analysis and mathematical models to predict and measure outcome and consequences of design.
So is information technology a good major? The breadth of roles and opportunities, as well as the opportunity for growth, would seem to say yes.
Ready to learn more? Explore Information Technology degrees at AIU.
1. Labor/Insight (Burning Glass Technologies), 1/1/14-1/31/14
2. Labor/Insight (Burning Glass Technologies), 1/1/14-1/31/14
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Network and Computer Systems Administrators, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm (visited 4/20/15).
4. O*Net Online, Summary Report for Network and Computer Systems Administrators, on the Internet at http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1142.00 (visited 4/20/15)
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Computer Systems Analysts, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-systems-analysts.htm (visited 4/20/15)
6. O*Net Online, Summary Report for Computer Systems Analysts, on the Internet at http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1121.00 (visited 4/20/15)
7. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Software Developers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm (visited 4/20/15)
The presence of specific potential jobs on this list does not guarantee availability of career opportunities. All statistics referenced are national historical averages and the figures in your area and at the time of your job search may be different.