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The Best IT Careers in 2021

IT Careers are as promising as they are varied. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of computer science jobs will rise by 13% between 2020 and 2030, with more niche areas expected to emerge.

Much like computer networks, the IT sector is constantly updated with new information technologies requiring specialized personnel to support.

At the bare minimum, all modern companies need software developers, software engineers, web developers, and computer support specialists close at hand. As such, the options of where to work are also wide-ranging.

If you are a current or prospective IT student, it may be difficult for you to pick an IT niche to pursue, given the variety of tech jobs to choose from. This article will examine the best IT careers to help you decide where to direct your focus.

6 Best IT Careers That are Booming Right Now

IT careers

Wondering if IT is right for you? Other than the perpetually healthy job prospects, the reason many apply themselves to the IT sector revolves around their penchant for problem-solving. This is what links the varied strands of computer science together. For any IT career, a certain level of critical thinking and innovation is required.

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Computer networks are complicated and are constantly being updated. When problems arise, you may be required to troubleshoot and tackle the issue in ways you have not done before. Information Technology jobs keep you on your toes. There is constantly new information to learn and skillsets to update.

For this reason, many prospective students see the field as being an exciting one, one that will always require a workforce and one that will develop alongside their career trajectory.

With that in mind, it’s good to know which IT career niche to gravitate towards. Here are the best IT job roles, along with their required skills, growth, and prospects.

Computer and Information Research Scientists

There were 33,000 computer and information research scientists employed across the United States in 2020. It is one of the more challenging IT jobs to break into, with most positions requiring a master’s degree. It is also the highest-paid job in the IT sector, with a median salary of $126,830 in 2020.

Computer and Information Research Scientists are responsible for formulating and designing new computer hardware, software, and other technologies. They are essentially the originators of IT updates, who create improved systems to better the field of study. They strive to minimize regular IT issues.

They do this by closely examining the current problems faced in computing, implementing improvements, and formulating models and new IT theories to help progress the skills, techniques, and methods employed by an IT specialist.

They may be required to present their findings to large conferences and work closely with engineers and other scientists to bring about changes in the running of IT systems. They may also have to express their findings in scientific literature for those in different IT fields to refer to.

Computer research scientists must be highly analytical, studious, and organized when it comes to collecting and analyzing work. They must also demonstrate high maths and problem-solving skills and possess the confidence and strong interpersonal skills to relay their findings to an audience.

Computer Research Scientists has long been considered to be the most promising IT job role. With a 22% job outlook increase set to occur between 2020 and 2030, this role guarantees job prospects that are above average.

Computer Network Architect

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, computer network architects were the second-highest paying IT job in 2020. With a median salary of $116,780, network architects are a high-earning IT career. The leading employers of such a specialty are computer system design and telecommunications.

Computer network architects’ main responsibilities include the planning and building of data communications networks. This includes Wide Area Networks (WANs), Local Area Networks (LANs), and Intranets. Organizations employ them to map out the most appropriate data communication networks and set them up.

A network architect may build upon existing networks to achieve this and existing drivers, software, routers, and drivers. After these networks are deployed, network architects continue to monitor and troubleshoot any problems that arise. It is expected of the computer architect to better the network over time.

A bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, or information systems is a must, and some positions even require applicants to have a master’s of business administration in information systems. A network architect must also be meticulous, analytical, organized, and good at communicating ideas.

The job outlook is not as strong as some other IT positions, with a growth of just 5% predicted between 2020 and 2030. However, with the development of IT and the need to create new networks and update those already in place, there will likely always be a need for computer architects.

Information Security Analyst

Information security analysts play a vital role in the running of any network system. The career also offers great prospects and pay, with a median annual pay of around $103,590. The biggest employers of this role include computer system design firms, finance, and insurance companies.

The main focus of an information security analyst is to keep network systems from being subject to breaches in security. The secondary focus of a security analyst is to solve security breaches, should they occur.

Information security analysts need to be aware of all potential faults in a network system and run regular tests to ensure safety from attack. To perform this task successfully, simulated data breaches are carried out to judge how protected the system is.

Installing data encryption programs and firewall software is another way for professionals to ensure optimum security. An information security analyst must also devise a strict set of security standards for the company and teach co-workers the best means of preventing risks of attack when using IT.

Information security analysts must also create emergency plans in case a major cyber-attack takes place. Like most other high-paying IT roles, candidates will most likely require a bachelor’s degree in computer science. For some positions, a bachelor’s in programming or information assurance will also be accepted.

A security analyst needs strong communication skills, strong initiative, to be highly analytical, and maintain close attention to detail. The job outlook is auspicious for information security analyst positions, with cyber security being a perpetual requirement for most modern organizations. The number of jobs in this field is predicted to grow by 33% by 2030.

Software Developers

The median pay for software developers was $110,140 in 2020, based on the 1,847,900 currently employed individuals.

These numbers include positions related to software development, such as quality assurance analysts and software testers. Leading employers for this career include computer system designer firms, manufacturers, and software publishers.

Software development is a science and involves analyzing users’ wants while identifying what is lacking and what can be fixed in existing software. The main role of a software developer is to produce new specialized software that fulfills the shortcomings of previous versions.

The Information Technology Programs at ICOHS College will help students attain the necessary skills to pass various industry certifications including Comptia A+, Comptia Network+, and Comptia Security+.

Software engineering relies heavily on the ability to understand computer language and programming. This is essential in being able to design working software, along with improving old software.

Software developers are also responsible for producing accurate models and notes alongside the software programs so that the operating system can be analyzed and updated accordingly in the future.

Software developers have to work in tandem with quality assurance analysts. It is the responsibility of the assurance analyst to devise and carry out test plans on the software and relay results back to the developers so that improvements can be implemented right away.

To land a job as a software developer, you must first attain a bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology. As a software developer, you must also be highly analytical, be naturally creative, have an excellent command of computer language, and work exceptionally well as part of a team.

Software engineer roles show great promise in growth in the coming years, with a predicted growth of 22% between 2020 and 2030.

Web Developer

web development

The median pay in 2020 for a web developer’s role was $77,200. With the potential for growth and the ability to work both remotely or freelance, it remains an increasingly popular position among recent graduates. 18% of web developers in the U.S. are currently self-employed freelancers.

Web developers are responsible for the design, inception, capacity, speed, and overall maintenance of a company’s website. They have a responsibility to take the company’s needs and produce a site that reflects the image and core values of the business.

The web developer must implement programming, such as JavaScript, CSS, XML, and HTML so that the website performs well. Graphics and navigation must also be coded well so that the site can be used by visitors easily. Web developers will also need to monitor the website and ensure its long-term functionality.

Web developers can ascend through the ranks with as little as a high school diploma. Some positions will require at least an associate degree, along with a handful of certificates on coding. Web development applications will also ask for a portfolio and other evidence of web development skills.

With every industry digitizing itself, the need for website designers and developers is at an all-time high. Web development jobs are set to increase by 13% from 2020 to 2030.

Computer Support Specialist

Based on the 844,600 computer support specialists employed in 2020, the median salary was $55,51o.

A computer support specialist is on hand to help with the overall maintenance of a company’s network systems. They carry out maintenance checks and tests on network systems and are ready to solve any problems that may appear. Computer support specialists – also known as technical support specialists – can also create and maintain backup files of the company’s computer network.

Whenever a hardware issue is noticed, they are called upon and expected to use their support expertise to resolve it. Support specialists are adept at troubleshooting internet systems, Wide Area Networks, and Local Area Networks.

Support specialists are often onsite but can work remotely. They may fill more of a helpline role, responding to queries and inspect network systems over the phone to customers.

An associate degree may be sufficient to find work as a computer support specialist. However, most positions would prefer a bachelor’s degree-level education.

Support specialists must also be quick learners to be able to keep up to date with the changing face of computer systems. They also are good communicators, so that they can converse with others and identify what the support issue is exactly. Being able to work under pressure is another vital trait.

Computer support specialists are predicted to make a 9% job outlook increase by 2030. This is an average job increase rate; however, with around 70,400 computer support job openings each year in the U.S., it’s safe to say that this role is still a promising one to specialize in. The IT industry will always need computer support specialists in some way.

Leading Areas of IT

If you still don’t know which specific niche you want to work within, you can focus on the more general areas of computer science. You can also start looking into the most in-demand areas of IT. Remember, the field is incredibly varied, and it’s not always obvious which areas deliver the most opportunities. Check out the list below for help narrowing down the search for a job in the field.

IT Security

With more industries doing digital, the need for IT security specialists continues to increase. And as computer systems continue to evolve, so do the threat of cyber attacks.

All online systems need to be regularly monitored and tested for potential weak points by an IT specialist. Firewalls and other anti-cyber attack software also need to be set up and maintained.

Prepare for a career in information security by earning your degree from ICOHS College. Learn more about our IT Network Specialist Certificate Program today.

IT security is a growing industry expected to be worth $345.4 billion by 2026.

Testing

Computer systems must be regularly tested to ensure information technology efforts are operating appropriately. Testing is such an important industry that companies typically hire separate computer programmers for quality assurance.

Whenever software or an app is developed, companies will turn to a fresh pair of eyes to assess the product’s value, use, and quality. Testers can also provide the developer with areas that need improvement. The ideal candidate is a computing technology expert who is qualified to read and understand code.

Software Development

As technology improves, so must the software. Information technology is a fast-paced industry, and new software developers need to lend intuition, ideas, and expertise. Software development is a big industry, with increasing opportunities in computer engineering, systems administration, and system security.

Video game designers must also possess some kind of formal software development education to complete their roles successfully.

Design and Animation

Design and animation is another thriving area of IT, and it’s also one that requires lots of imagination. A degree in computer science and a passion for creating can help you land a job in fields like graphic or video game design. As the demand for remote work increases, graphic design remains an increasingly popular choice among IT students.

Data and Analytics

Maintaining an analytical drive is essential to most IT positions. Meticulously examining and organizing data is a must when seeking any security, computer support, or software development role. This area focuses on analyzing an organization’s computer networks, identifying problems in the system, and organizing findings into categories.

Advantages to IT Jobs

advantages to working in IT

Across the board, IT jobs are increasing in demand. As the world becomes an increasingly digital space, the need for computer programmers and information technology specialists will increase. Other advantages to getting involved in this emerging industry include:

  • The IT industry holds a lot of options. A bachelor’s degree in computer science can take you in many directions, from a computer network architect to a computer support specialist. It can be easy for an information technology professional to swap positions over time with so many niches.
  • The industry is constantly changing. With systems and software continually updating, IT specialists get to use their critical thinking and problem-solving skills in a meaningful way.
  • It pays well. Some of the top IT jobs are worth getting a bachelor’s degree. With high-earning positions available to individuals with computer science degrees, it is easy to see why many are involved in the sector.

Disadvantages of a Career in IT

Despite all the advantages that IT holds, it’s not for everyone. There are some downsides to the field that are worth considering before committing yourself entirely.

  • Limited amount of free time. This is particularly apparent with remote IT jobs, as it is with any freelance-based work. You may not have to go into the office anymore, but you may find the work you have to complete at home to be consuming. If a project is overdue, your work-life balance may suffer.
  • Keeping yourself up to date can be stressful. Although constantly learning can be fun, it’s also incredibly demanding.
  • Working to a deadline can be stressful. No matter how prepared you are to take on a project, things can go wrong, but deadlines remain. 

Conclusion

Whether you are a prospective or a current information technology student, there is no reason to feel stressed over which career path to take. Although IT is varied, there are strong links between professions and transferable skills learned in one role and mastered in another.

Enrolling in a computer science degree or course is a great way to gauge which area inspires you most, and it’s also a helpful first step towards professional placement. 

If you’re interested in learning more about information technology, look into the certification programs from ICOHS College. Our programs help prepare those enrolled for successful careers as network specialists and system administrators. Students will also receive the skills needed to gain the following certifications:

Scholarships and title IV funding are available for our IT programs and additional course offerings. Give us a call at (858) 581-9460 or email us to learn more about what financial assistance programs we support. 

All students at ICOHS College will enjoy access to our career counseling services. Our staff is happy to help graduates find a job after their program comes to an end. We also offer lifetime job placement assistance. 

ICOHS College is accredited by the ACCET (Accrediting Council for Continuing Education, accet.org). To learn more about ICOHS College accreditations and licenses, visit our accreditation page.

FAQ

Which IT jobs pay the most?

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the IT job that pays the most is a computer and information research scientist, with a median salary of $126,830. Other high-paying IT jobs include computer network architects and software developers.

Can you begin an IT career without a degree?

Yes. For example, you can begin an IT career without a degree if you want to become a freelance web designer. For some freelance IT roles, it is possible to rely on the strength of your experience and portfolio instead of your academic achievements.

What are the best IT jobs for beginners?

The best IT job for a beginner would be a computer support specialist. These roles provide excellent work experience and may only require an associate’s degree.

Are there available IT jobs in healthcare?

Just like any major sector, healthcare requires IT systems. From computer support specialist roles to information security analysts, you are likely to find all kinds of roles in healthcare suited to an information technology professional.

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