5 Hands-On IT Jobs That Won't Break Your Back
By Aaron Lawrence on 05/26/2015
Do you dread the thought of settling into a repetitive desk job? If you are used to working in industries like construction or manufacturing and are ready to move forward in your professional life, you may be an excellent candidate for a job in information technology (IT).
You might assume a career in IT consists of 40 hours a week sitting in front of a computer at an isolated desk. But that’s just not the case! Building, repairing and maintaining hard drives and computer servers could give you the same satisfaction as working on cars or roofs.
We connected with some IT pros to learn about five hands-on IT jobs where working with your hands will be just as important as working with a computer.
5 IT jobs that go beyond the cubicle
1. IT field technician
As an IT field technician, your primary responsibilities will be installing, repairing and calibrating the electronics that your company provides for itself and its clients. You may travel to households and businesses, working with the nuts and bolts of computers and other electronics.
Repairing a computer or installing a router for customers is just a taste of the wide variety of work a field technician will do. In addition, this type of work in IT will get you out and about in your community without the repetition of working at a desk all day.
2. Network administrator
If the IT world was compressed into a house, network administrators are the frame and walls that hold the house together. On-site network administration is one of the best opportunities for hands-on IT careers, according to E.T. Cook, chief advocate and programmer for a law-related tech startup.
Your work as a network administrator will consist of maintaining and repairing all of the computer hardware and software programs included in the network you oversee. Your duties monitoring and safeguarding your company’s data and equipment is a crucial part of supporting the entire organization in the functioning of the company, business, or school that relies on the network you keep afloat.
3. IT consulting
"IT consulting is the perfect career for those who dread the thought of a cubicle lifestyle, It's not the same old network with the same old computers and the same old limited budgets,” according to Harold Mann, who runs an IT consultancy in San Francisco.
Like field techs, consulting gets you out of the office and working with a variety of clients. These professionals offer support to small and large businesses looking for an updated network in a fast paced world. Mann says he sometimes visits up to 10 different companies in a single week, meaning every day is unique and exciting.
4. Help desk support
Don’t let the word desk scare you because you will rarely be working at your own. This means offering information and support to clients or colleagues by troubleshooting technical problems.
Working with a help desk support team means your day will be filled with new and exciting challenges that are changing daily. Depending on your employer, you may serve customers calling off site or coworkers and personnel on site for your company, school or institution.
. Data center architect
A data center what? That’s right, a data center architect is just one of many hands-on IT specialist job titles suggested by Aman Diwaker, principal architect of network and security at Nitro Software. He explains that data centers are the brains behind most of the technology with which we interact. They require immense resources, such as heating, cooling, power and communications, meaning these professionals require a bit more specializing in terms of education and training.
“Data center engineers provide the expertise to calculate complex requirements in order to maintain, operate, expand and interconnect data centers for maximum reliability,” Diwaker says. Data center architects and engineers are just some of the specialists employed in the IT field, many of which stray away from the traditional corporate desk environment.
There’s more ...
Still not convinced about the variety of hands-on IT jobs available? Here are some more options our experts recommended:
- Manufacturing or print production architect
- Multi-channel experience architect
- Document processing and management
- Information security
- System administration
- Database management
Ready to get your hands dirty?
As you can see, the technology field offers plenty of great hands-on IT careers that won’t take a toll on your body or have you strapped to an office chair 40 hours a week. But it’s no secret that jobs in IT will revolve around computers, so some work will likely need to be done at a desk.