Top IT Job Titles for Every Stage of Your Tech Career

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The information technology (IT) industry is full of opportunity, thanks to our technology-driven society. Companies are embracing technology to keep their businesses thriving, which means the IT world is adding new job titles and career opportunities regularly.

Not all of these positions are entry-level, either. There are plenty of job options available for those both beginning their IT journey and for those looking to level-up their careers.

“The IT field is being used everywhere and incorporated into everyday life, which in turn provides endless opportunities for someone to expand their profession,” says Joshua Casey, technology discipline leader at BrightTree Studios.

There are a variety of opportunities in the IT field. If you are looking to start or continue a career track that has plenty of room for promotion and growth, it helps to know what the path ahead may look like. To help with that, we’ve laid out some of the common information technology job titles you may encounter in your career, complete with the duties, education requirements and earning potential associated with each.

Top entry-level IT jobs (0–2 years of experience)

1. Computer support specialist

  • Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 11% (faster than average)*
  • 2017 median annual salary: $52,810*
  • Common education requirements: Information Technology Associate’s degree

Aspiring computer support specialists should be prepared for plenty of problem solving. Computer support specialists evaluate existing network systems, perform regular maintenance/updates and troubleshoot local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs) and internet systems. These IT professionals can be found in nearly any organization, assisting users with technical issues and ensuring problems get resolved as quickly as possible.

2. Network administrator

  • Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 6% (as fast as average)*
  • 2017 median annual salary: $81,100*
  • Common education requirements: Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology Management

Network administrators handle the day-to-day operations of computer networks. They determine what the organization needs in a network and computer system and install all network hardware and software, all while maintaining system security and efficiency. This position often calls for a bit of training, as network administrators need to be prepared to keep up with changing technology. It’s important to note that the work of network administrators can vary depending on the organization, and many network administration roles may blur the line between being an entry-level position and being a mid-level position.

Top mid-level IT jobs (3–8 years of experience)

1. Computer systems analyst

  • Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 9% (as fast as average)*
  • 2017 median annual salary: $88,270*
  • Common education requirements: Bachelor’s degree in IT Management

Computer systems analysts, also known as systems architects, work to increase the efficiency of an organization’s IT system. This role is a blend of business and technology, as systems analysts create cost analyses of upgrading IT systems, consult with managers to determine the role of current systems and then design, install and configure new systems to meet the organization’s needs. Every project needs a plan—and these are the people who use their extensive IT know-how to make an organization’s tech vision come to life.

2. Database administrator

  • Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 11% (faster than average)*
  • 2017 median annual salary: $87,020*
  • Common education requirements: Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or Data Analytics

Database administrations (DBAs) work to store, organize and secure data. This data could be anything from financial transaction information to important shipping records. DBAs ensure that authorized users can access the data easily; DBAs often monitor performance and make modifications to the database structure if needed. More and more organizations are relying on the power of data—a database administrator is an essential piece of the puzzle for powering data-driven decisions.

3. Network architect

  • Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 6% (as fast as average)*
  • 2017 median annual salary: $104,650*
  • Common education requirements: Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or IT Management

Network architects design and build data communication networks, from small connections to multinational systems. Network architects create a plan for the data communication network they are designing and present that plan to the organization’s management. They stay on top of what the newest networking technologies are and how they can impact or improve an organization.

Top senior-level IT jobs (9+ years of experience)

1. Information security analyst

  • Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 28% (much faster than average)*
  • 2017 median annual salary: $95,510*
  • Common education requirements: Bachelor’s degree in Cyber Security

Information security analysts protect an organization’s computer networks and systems. They do this by monitoring networks for security breaches, installing firewalls and other software to protect information and simulating attacks on the system to identify vulnerabilities. It’s essential for these analysts to keep an eye on IT security and the latest methods of cyber-attacks.

2. Computer and information systems managers

  • Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 12% (faster than average)*
  • 2017 median annual salary: $139,220*
  • Education requirements: Bachelor's degree in Computer Science or IT Management

Computer and information systems managers, sometimes called information technology project managers, manage computer-related activities in an organization. Tasks typically involve assessing an organization’s computer needs and advising senior executives on technology decisions. This position serves as a bridge between the IT department and leadership team of an organization. These systems managers are instrumental in identifying a company’s technology goals and implementing computer systems to meet those goals.

3. Chief information officer (CIO)

  • Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 12% (faster than average)*
  • 2017 median annual salary: $139,220*
  • Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field; many may prefer candidates with a Master’s degree

Chief information officers manage the overall technology strategy of their organizations. They determine their company’s technology or information goals on a holistic level, and oversee all operational activities to ensure goals are being met. They’re responsible for analyzing performance indicators, appointing department heads and managers and consulting with other executives, staff and board members. They must also plan and maintain the financial activities of their entire department and identify areas to cut costs and improve performance.

How to climb the IT corporate ladder

Now you know which advancement opportunities may come your way in these top IT jobs—but how can you position yourself to climb the corporate ladder?

“Learn your basics, then try out a subset that really interests you. Try and get entry-level positions that relate to that subset, tailor your certifications to that job’s requirements and keep expanding your knowledge into related subjects,” John Watkins, VP and CIO of inRsite IT, says.

And don’t be afraid to begin your IT career only to discover a different field of tech you’re more interested in.

“IT isn’t going anywhere,” Watkins says. “You can shift career paths much more easily than other jobs, and there is always a new path or technology to work with, making the field very exciting.”

Start paving your IT career path

No matter where your IT career ultimately takes you, one thing is for certain—you’ll need an education. But it’s not always easy determining which degree best fits your tech interests. Our interactive tool, “Which Tech Degree Is Right for Me?” will help walk you through your options.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [information accessed October 11, 2018] www.bls.gov/ooh/. Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.

Anna Heinrich

Anna is a Copywriter at Collegis Education who researches and writes student-focused content on behalf of Rasmussen College. She believes the power of the written word can help educate and assist students on their way to a rewarding education. 

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