A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.
If you’re a student looking into possible careers or a working professional with a passion for information technology (IT), earning your degree may be a useful step toward pursuing entry-level IT positions. While not all entry-level positions require a bachelor's degree, there are positions for which employers prefer degree-holding candidates.1 Information technology jobs available to entry-level candidates may differ depending on the area of IT specialty for which employers are hiring.
Choosing an IT Specialization
Depending on the university and specific programs offered, some degree program specializations may be available to you when completing your bachelor's degree in information technology. Degree specializations can be useful to those who already have an idea of the type of IT career they would like to pursue, as these concentrations help tailor class requirements and coursework to a particular area or field.
For example, a digital investigations specialization is designed to introduce students to the processes, tools and technologies needed to pursue a position investigating or combating web-based crime within an organization's IT department. Similarly, those seeking a position that incorporates programming and development into their daily IT responsibilities may choose a degree program with a software analysis and development concentration.
If you're not sure what specific aspect of IT is most interesting to you, or if you simply want to give yourself room to explore several areas of the information technology sector, consider an IT generalist program option. A generalist program option can be designed to help students prepare to pursue a range of entry-level responsibilities and job duties in information technology, so courses may cover basics such as cyber security and network and database management.
Potential Entry-Level IT Positions
Computer Support Specialists
Computer support specialists, also known as help desk technicians or technical support specialists, diagnose and solve problems experienced by an organization's customers or employees. Depending on the type of support position and the company's needs, computer support specialists may also set up and repair equipment, train users on software or technology and maintain network updates and security.1 The BLS identifies this as a field that's growing faster than average, and projects 11% growth in employment through 2026.2 (Average projected employment growth across all occupations is 7%, according to the BLS).
Computer and information systems managers may work for several years in an entry-level role, such as a computer or IT support specialist, making this role a potential stepping stone toward advanced positions down the road.3
Web developers are responsible for the design and creation of websites. Smaller companies may hire one or two web developers to oversee web maintenance and updates. However, larger or more web-intensive companies may employ front-end developers, back-end developers, and/or webmasters.4 Each position deals with a particular aspect of a website's design and function and may require different types of education and prior experience in order for job candidates to qualify.5
According to BLS, the occupation is growing faster than average. (Projected 15% growth through 2026).6
Information Security Analysts
Information security analysts evaluate, maintain and enhance security for networks and computer systems. They make sure a company's databases and computer networks are secure from cyber-attacks and hacking attempts, but information security analysts are also responsible for developing response plans should private data or other records be compromised.7 As the reliance on computers and cloud storage grows, so does the need to provide security for digital networks. The BLS projects that information security analyst employment will grow by 28% through 2026, which is significantly greater than the national average.8
Computer programmers write the code that enables computer programs to run software and other applications. A programmer's duties may overlap with those of software developers, depending on the company and field in which they’re employed. Therefore, certain programmers may work closely with developers to design, test and update programs and software.9
Pursuing Entry-Level Positions: Tips From AIU Faculty
When preparing your application materials for an entry-level IT position, accentuate your strengths in your résumé. Use keywords to ensure current technology and software proficiencies are represented to help increase your visibility.
One important factor to consider when searching for an IT position is that any expertise you can acquire beyond your degree, no matter how small, may influence employers when deciding who to bring in for an interview.Ready to learn more? Explore IT degrees at AIU.
1. “Computer Support Specialists: What Computer Support Specialists Do.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm#tab-2 (Visited 10/10/18).
2. “Computer Support Specialists: Job Outlook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm#tab-6 (Visited 10/10/18). Conditions in your area may vary.
3. “Computer and Information Systems Managers: How to Become a Computer and Information Systems Manager.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm#tab-4 (Visited 10/10/18).
4. “Web Developers: What Web Developers Do.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm#tab-2 (Visited 10/10/18).
5. “Web Developers: How to Become a Web Developer.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm#tab-4 ( Vvisited 10/10/18).
6. “Web Developers: Job Outlook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm#tab-6 (Vvisited 10/10/18). Conditions in your area may vary.
7. “Information Security Analysts: What Information Security Analysts Do.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm#tab-2 (Visited 10/10/18).
8. “Information Security Analysts: Job Outlook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm#tab-6 (Visited 10/10/18). Conditions in your area may vary.
9. “Computer Programmers: What They Do.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-programmers.htm#tab-2 (Visited 10/10/18).
American InterContinental University cannot guarantee employment or salary. Find employment rates, financial obligations and other disclosures at www.aiuniv.edu/disclosures. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.
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. 1375229 10/18
Classes Start September 30, 2020