In the modern world, computers have become as common as telephones and pens. Not only have they become essential tools to every office, they have also brought new technologies to just about every business sector, including healthcare and energy. This basic fact of modern society makes careers in technology a safe bet for those looking for the right field to invest their time and energy in seeking a college degree or vocational certificate.
Change is Constant
Computing technology is ever-advancing, so there will always be a demand for those who understand and can apply the principles of the most recent software and hardware technologies. New technologies are being released on a regular basis and as businesses begin to use those technologies, they will need support personnel who understand how these new technologies work. Remaining on the cutting edge of technology requires constant evaluation of evolving technology and continuing education to keep pace. Otherwise, technology professionals can expect to change jobs often as their skills become outdated at one company and in demand at another.
Technology certificates and training can be garnered through IT training companies or through state continuing education and workforce development programs. Typically, these certifications are not valid as college credits, but they will usually count towards continuing education credits in most programs. Technology professionals can expect to invest about six to twelve months in IT training to gain a certification in a particular area.
Careers in Technology
Database administration is at the bottom of the pyramid and is a rapidly growing field. Vital information in company databases helps the business to grow and remain profitable. Database administrators build and maintain information storage and retrieval systems that allow company employees to access information quickly and easily. They also must ensure information is kept secure.
Hardware technicians are not always needed on a full-time basis. It will depend on the size of the company in question. These professionals install hardware and ensure it is in proper working order. They will arrange work stations and set up peripheral components. Not only do these technicians need to understand how to install and troubleshoot hardware, they need a good understanding of the operating systems that run the machines.
Computer programmers design and develop software for computers. This are of technology is not used at all businesses, but it particular to software companies for the most part. Some large insurance companies and banks will hire their own programmers to ensure that financial information is always kept safe. Programmers develop customer software solutions for businesses, often working with existing software and adding functionality. Some programming languages often in high demand are Visual Basic and C++.
Web designers are often freelance professionals, working for the intermittent needs of smaller businesses. They can also be employees of large companies responsible for creating websites where customers can interact with the company. In some cases, the business is the website, making the web designing field of vital importance. These professionals must understand HTML, CSS, Java and networking.
Next up on the pyramid is the network administrator. This career in technology requires constant monitoring and repair of network communications within a company. The goal of the network administrator is to ensure that service is not interrupted, especially during times of high demand. These professionals will set up user accounts and permissions, workstations and email communications. In many cases, the network administrator is the go-to person for all login and email problems and a good portion of time is spent tracking down problems and answering user questions. Security is also a high priority in this career.
The workers who conceptualize, design and put information systems in place are called systems analysts. These technology professionals are overseen by project managers who budge, schedule and implement the steps in putting information system to work for the company.
Every field has managers. For information technology, most operations are supervised by information systems managers. These individuals will oversee the entire technological infrastructure, including hardware, software and networking.
At the peak of the IT pyramid sits the chief technology officer, sometimes called the chief information officer. This individual will have a broad understanding of technology and a keen strategic planning mind. This executive level position requires long-term planning and constant study of emerging technologies that may give the company an edge over the competition.
Careers in technology can pay anywhere from $12 per hour to $70 per hour, depending on the position, experience and talent of the individual. In generally, technology jobs pay 30 to 50 percent more than non-technology based jobs. Many of the careers in technology overlap one another. The network administrator may also be the hardware technician. The programmer may also be a web designer. Web designers often work in marketing as well.
Despite economic problems, the demand for highly skilled technology workers is expected to grow, especially in the fields of healthcare information technology and environmental science. Because of the Health Information Technology Plan of 2004, there will be strong push for professionals who can help healthcare providers digitize, store and manage patient records and prescriptions. Individuals can harness the power of an associate degree in health information technology to become a health information technician. “Green” jobs are also expected to expand with the global push towards more environmentally friendly practices. New software solutions are being created to save computing energy costs for businesses and professionals with this expertise will be in high demand.
Because of constant change, continued growth and higher salaries, careers in technology will continue to attract talented workers. This job sector will also spur further economic growth through better pay for workers and the need for continuing education, which helps to grow the education economy.