IT jobs fall within the full spectrum of computer technology and business. Because the field of Information Technology covers such a broad range of job roles, it’s a good idea to first explore the differences in the career paths you can take in IT, such as:
- A computer support specialist (which requires only a certificate or an associate degree, and sometimes a bachelor’s degree), or
- Computer programmer, software developer, or various other IT careers which usually require a bachelor’s degree (sometimes an associate degree on an exception basis)
Then you’ll need to take a closer look at the qualities that are essential to those considering a career in IT – and valued by those who make IT hiring decisions. As we spotlight the essential qualities for a successful career in IT, you learn how to assess where you career goals and interests fit, and determine what level of education you need for the IT roles that interest you most.
Computer Support Specialist
Computer support specialists work within the broad spectrum of information technology, assisting all types of information technology needs, including working with developers, analysts, administrators, and end-users. Alternatively, help desk technicians assist those not in the IT fields who need assistance with their computer or computer systems.
Typical Duties – Technical Support Specialist or Computer Network Support Specialist
- Watch over existing network systems
- Conduct required maintenance on networks
- Troubleshoot (LAN, WAN, and Internet) systems3
Typical Duties – Help Desk Technician or Computer User Technician
- Actively listen to users as they describe their computer issues
- Ask the right questions to help diagnose computer issues
- Explain step-by-step solutions to the user
- Install software and maintain computer equipment and related devices
- Assist users with new computer hardware or software
- Evaluate and record issues customers have4
Education: Vary for entry into computer support positions. A bachelor’s degree is not required, but postsecondary certification is often sufficient
Information Systems Managers (IT managers)
IT Managers direct teams and run projects for computer related needs in an organization. In addition, they help identify IT goals and implement required computer systems in order to meet those goals.
Education: Typically have a Bachelor’s in Information Science or a Bachelor’s in Computer Science with vendor certifications like ITIL, MCSE (Cloud), VCP etc.
Database Administrators are software specialists who focus on the applications and services responsible for organizing and storing data (like financial records or shipping addresses or health records) for an organization. They also ensure the security of data and its availability to intended users.
Education: Usually, Database Administrators also needed certification from Microsoft or others.
Information Security Analysts, Computer Network Architects
All three types of these IT professionals use information technology (IT) to move an organization closer to its business goals. Security analysts are in charge of keeping information safe from cyber-attacks. Network architects are in charge of creating the internal networks that all employees of an organization use.
Education: Typically, a Bachelor’s in Computer Science or Information Science is required. Knowing a variety of script is also important.
Network and Computer Systems Administrators
System Admins are in charge of the day-to-day functioning of a company’s computer network including organizing, installing, and supporting computer systems, networks, intranets, and other data communication systems.
Education: Postsecondary education is often sufficient with a right mix of professional certification.
Software Developers create the applications (software) that run on computers or other IT devices like smart phones. Some software developers focus more on the underlying computer systems that run devices or networks.
Education: In general, a Bachelor’s in Computer Science is required, as well as strong programming skills.
Here are some of the important skills and qualities that you will need to develop in order to be successful in information technology. Get real experience, and earn credit, from Western Community College that focus on these skills.
- Good communication skills
- Follow and implement a plan
- Problem solving
- Strong analytical skills
- Ability to focus for a long period of time
If you answer yes to most of these questions, there’s a good chance that a career in information technology is the right match for your skills – and that you do have what it takes to make you successful in IT.
Western Community College Inc.
Unit 201, 12899 80 Ave
Surrey, BC, Canada
Office (604) 594 3500
Fax (604) 594 3505