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Careers in IT

If you understand Information Technology, you have a key to career opportunities

What is Information Technology?
Information technology – often shortened to just IT – is a buzz phrase you’ve probably heard if you happen to work with IT personnel or went to school for anything related to computers. IT workers are highly specialized in their field, which is probably why they’re often just called “IT nerds.” They like what they do and understand it inside and out. IT workers are also essential to just about every modern business model. If a company relies on phones and emails, chances are that there’s an IT professional behind it all making sure the cogs in the machine function properly.

So what’s the real benefit of being the behind-the-scenes technological lifeblood of a company? Careers in information technology deal with the design, creation, management and maintenance of the varied components of the system, including software, hardware, networks, systems integration and multimedia. Broadly, information technology can be divided into four central pathways: network systems, information support and services, programming and software development, and Web and digital communication. Down each career avenue exist myriad occupational opportunities, ranging from database administrator to computer systems engineer, digital media specialist to systems analyst.

What are the benefits of a career in IT?
Careers in IT and telecommunications can be incredibly challenging and rewarding. One of the most exciting things about these careers is that they offer employees continuous opportunities for learning. As technologies advance, there are always more things to learn and new skills to acquire. IT and telecommunications careers are flexible in how they can develop, but they are also flexible in terms of location. Many I.T. consultants get the opportunity to work remotely from home or in different locations around the world.

What skills are required for a role in IT?
I.T. jobs aren’t all about inputting the right data, using the right codes or putting the right bits of hardware in the right places. In fact, some I.T. employees have a certain amount of creativity in their jobs, especially software developers, web designers and information security consultants. To work in this sector, it is essential to acquire very specific technical skills and knowledge. However, generally, it is important for people to be able to think logically, have solid mathematical skills and have a genuine interest in how computers and telecommunications work. If you've got this kind of skills, you might be the right kind of candidate for an IT apprenticeship.

What are the top 10 IT jobs nowadays?

1. Software developer
Software developers implement software solutions by building programs, applications and websites. They write and test code, often using development tools. The work can involve talking to clients and colleagues to assess and define what solution of the system is needed, which means there is a lot of interaction as well as technical work. A computing, software engineering or related degree is often needed but a few employers train up other graduates who can demonstrate an interest in and aptitude for software development.
Key skills:
analysis
logical thinking
teamwork
attention to detail

2. Systems analyst
Systems analysts examine existing IT systems and write the requirement for new ones. They analyze how well software, hardware and the wider IT system for the business needs of their employer or of a client and write requirements for new systems. They may also help implement them, train users and monitor their effectiveness. Travel is a key feature of the job as the majority of the work is undertaken at clients’ premises. To get a job as a systems analyst you usually need a degree in a technical or IT subject.
Key skills:
ability to extract and analyze information
communication
analysis
persuasion and sensitivity

3. Business analyst
Business analysts are equally happy talking with technology people, business managers and end users. They identify opportunities for improvement to processes and business operations using information technology. The role is project based and begins with analyzing a customer’s needs, gathering and documenting requirements and creating a project plan to design the resulting technology solution. Business analysts need technology understanding but don’t necessarily need a technical degree.

Key skills:
communication
presentation
facilitation
project management
problem-solving

4. IT support analyst
IT support analysts provide technical set-up, support and advice to IT users via email, phone, social media and in person. They either provide support within a particular organization or to external businesses, customers of a particular product or on an ad hoc basis. For example, there is a growing market for on-demand services for home and office tech repair, set-up and troubleshooting. While open to graduates of any discipline, technical support employers typically prefer graduates with an IT-related degree.

Key skills:
wide-ranging tech knowledge
problem-solving
communication and listening
patience

5. Network engineer
Network engineering is one of the more technically demanding IT jobs. Broadly speaking the role involves setting up, administering, maintaining and upgrading communication systems, local area networks and wide area networks for an organization. Network engineers are also responsible for security, data storage and disaster recovery strategies. It is a highly technical role and you’ll gather a hoard of specialist technical certifications as you progress. A telecoms or computer science-related degree is needed.

Key skills:
specialist network knowledge
communication
planning
analysis
problem-solving

6. IT consultant
The term ‘consultant’ can be a tagline for many IT jobs, but typically technical consultants provide technical expertise to and develop and implement IT systems for, external clients. They can be involved at any or all stages of the project lifecycle: pitching for a contract; refining a specification with the client team; designing the system; managing part or all of the project; after sales support... or even developing the code. A technical degree is preferred, but not always necessary.

Key skills include:
communication
presentation
technical and business understanding
project management
teamwork

7. Technical sales representative
Technical sales may be one of the least hands-on technical roles, but it still requires an understanding of how IT is used in business. You may sell hardware, or extol the business benefits of whole systems or services. Day by day, the job could involve phone calls, meetings, conferences and drafting proposals. There will be targets to meet and commission when you reach them. A technology degree isn’t necessarily essential, but you will need to have a thorough technical understanding of the product you sell.

Key skills:
product knowledge
persuasion
interpersonal skills
drive
mobility
business awareness

8. Project manager
Project managers organize people, time and resources to make sure information technology projects meet stated requirements and are completed on time and on budget. They may manage a whole project from start to finish or manage part of a larger ‘programme’. It isn’t an entry-level role: project managers have to be pretty clued up. This requires experience and a good foundation of technology and soft skills, which are essential for working with tech development teams and higher level business managers.

Key skills:
organization
problem-solving
communication
clear thinking
ability to stay calm under pressure

9. Web designer
Web designers create the design and layout of a website or web pages, working with colleagues or clients to meet their requirements. Their role is different to web developers, who specialize in making web designs a reality; however, there can be a crossover between the two roles. Employers are likely to seek a degree in digital media design or a related subject but, whether you have a related degree or not, you will need to be able to present a portfolio of your best web design work.

Key skills:
communication
attention to detail
problem-solving
creativity

10. QA analyst
QA (quality assurance) analysts test programs, games and any software to make sure it is reliable, fully functional and user-friendly before they are released to the public. They use a test plan to inspect thousands of lines of code to make sure they entirely error free. Results are fed back to the project leader so that issues can be fixed. QA analysts can be involved in the early stages pf projects in order to anticipate pitfalls before work begins. Employers tend to prefer graduate QA analysts to have a degree in an IT-related subject.

Key skills:
attention to detail
creativity
analytical and investigative thinking
communication

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