6 Steps to Become an Information Technology Specialist in 2021
An information technology specialist is a role that most organizations can never have enough of. The IT specialist is a technical professional that is responsible for the implementation, monitoring, and maintenance of IT systems. If you’re interested in a career as an IT Specialist, check out the steps listed below:
IT specialists have a key role in organizations. They provide support for all systems and networks utilized by a business. These professionals are responsible for executing, maintaining, inspecting, and analyzing IT systems. Depending on the company, IT specialists may focus on everything from system, web, and/or database administration to security and network administration. They must maintain and back up databases and remain up to date on all technology trends to provide the most relevant updates. IT specialists set up and connect computers and printers to the server and network.
IT specialists are considered the “help desk” of their organization and must be able to troubleshoot through the problems of any users. Technical issues that arise with systems, networks, the cloud, software, or hardware are reported to IT specialists by employees. In many positions, this role requires providing 24 hour support.
Notably, because of increased technology capabilities, this job may be performed in an office location or remotely.
Most employers require prospective applicants to have at least an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a field related to information technology. IT Certifications are great ways to show that you are highly skilled in specific areas and can set your resume apart from other applicants.
In general, it takes two to five years to become an IT specialist. If you have an associate’s degree in an area such as information technology or computer science you may be able to find an entry-level position. A bachelor’s degree is required by other employers and if your degree did not provide coursework in all areas that are needed for this profession, bootcamps are a great way to fill in any gaps. They are also an excellent way to work towards adding IT certifications to your resume.
Bootcamps can take anywhere from eight to 36 weeks and are offered in coding, web development, and IT training. Many of these bootcamps focus on material that will aid you in earning one or more IT certifications. They are also offered in a variety of formats so that you can find one that is a great match with your schedule.
Most businesses require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a field such as computer science, computer engineering, or information technology. In many cases, a higher-level degree will result in a higher-level position. With a degree, candidates show potential employers they have had structured coursework on the technical parts of this job.
All IT specialists should be familiar with the most popular operating systems including Windows, Linux, and MacOS. Different companies will rely on different operating systems and in order to troubleshoot problems and be marketable, you should know the basics of all of them.
The ability to use scripting languages, like Python or Perl will increase your marketability. Since programming languages are used by software and web developers, knowing how to use at least one will help you understand how to troubleshoot through programs and systems.
Bootcamps are offered in web development and coding and can help future IT specialists learn the specific skills needed to troubleshoot issues with systems and networks. Many also offer curriculums that are geared towards passing specific IT certifications.
With the popularity of cloud platforms, IT specialists should consider being certified in at least one. Possible certifications include:
If you are interested in showing your expertise in the security of systems, Certified Information Security Manager and Certified Information Systems Security Professional certifications are highly sought after and can help you work towards more advanced positions.
A Master’s in Information Technology will add to your skillset and teach you more advanced skills to work in a higher-level position.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not specifically predict the job outlook for this field, but does consider related roles. It anticipates that the job outlook for computer support specialists will grow 9% from 2020-2030. This rate is about average when compared to other professions.
The outlook for computer and information systems managers is also expected to grow 11% in this same decade. One thing is for sure, as important as this role is to businesses of all sizes, jobs in this field will continue to be widely available.
IT specialists can work as help desk specialists, technical support specialists, entry-level network specialists, and more. As of October 2021, a job search yielded a list of a variety of companies looking for these specialists. Employers in the search results included the United States Naval Academy, the National Institute for Health, University of Maryland, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the City of Tucson, and the State of Hawaii. Companies such as Tesla and Netflix were also searching for employees in this area. The wide variety of industries that need IT specialists is encouraging and can allow you to find a specific area of interest.
According to Indeed.com, the average annual salary for this occupation is $48,667. However, salary varies greatly depending on experience level and geographical location. The chart below shows the average salaries of this profession in some of the top tech hubs in the country.
|New York City||$66,615|
|Silicon Valley, CA||$60,974|