How Can I Get Employed by a Computer Company?

There are many career options for employment at a computer company. Read on to discover what degree programs and experiences could improve your chances for employment at a computer company, as well as what types of jobs are available. Schools offering Information Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Options at a Computer Company

When you begin working at a computer company, you'll likely be employed in one of these four areas, according to the Association for Computing Machinery (www.acm.org):

  • Software design
  • Application innovation and usage
  • Problem-solving/research
  • Information technology

Each of these general fields contains specific positions, such as database administrator, hardware or software engineer, support specialist, webmaster or systems analyst. These positions typically require you to identify and troubleshoot issues, and discuss possible solutions with colleagues and computer users.

Important Facts About Careers at a Computer Company

Database Administrator Computer Hardware Engineer Computer Systems Analyst
Required Education Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Key Skills Analytical, problem-solving and logical thinking skills Creativity, critical-thinking and speaking skills Analytical, communication and creativity skills
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 11% growth 3% growth 21% growth
Median Salary (2014)$80,280 $108,430$82,710

Prepare for Employment

There is no one specific way to prepare for a career at a computer company, since there's little overlap in responsibilities and duties among the different possible careers. For example, database administrators analyze data and provide system security, webmasters create websites and improve website functionality, and support specialists troubleshoot users' technological problems. Software engineers are responsible for designing and testing computer programs, while hardware engineers design and test computer parts. Lastly, systems analysts help other businesses decide how best to use computers.

Your chances of gaining employment may increase if you have a bachelor's or master's degree in computer science or another technology-related field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), companies often prefer to hire database administrators and webmasters with degrees in computer science, while software and hardware engineers typically hold degrees in computer engineering (www.bls.gov). Systems analysts commonly hold degrees in an area that blends computer science with business, such as management information systems, reports the BLS. If you're looking to become an engineer, you may also need a strong background in mathematics.

Since the field is always changing, you must keep up to date on advancements in computer technology. Even if you already have a related degree, you may need to continue taking courses to certify your expertise.

Earn a Degree

If you pursue a 4-year degree in a computer-related field, you are often required to take courses that cover the major areas of computer work, including theory, design and experimentation. These degree programs may require you to take several courses in mathematics and science, potentially including such areas as geometry, calculus, physics and chemistry. Many 4-year programs don't differentiate between the study of computer science and computer engineering; however, some schools have separate majors for each of these fields. Graduate degrees are also available in these fields.

Bachelor's Degree Options

If you're interested in programming and creating software, you may consider pursuing a degree in computer science, which focuses on software engineering, programming languages and artificial intelligence. Schools that divide computer science and computer engineering into two different fields describe computer engineering as a field that focuses more heavily on hardware engineering and problem solving, whereas computer science is more theoretical, computer engineering is more practical. In a computer engineering program, you often study electronics, circuits and application design.

If you're the person others turn to for help fixing their computers, you may consider pursuing a degree in information technology (IT), which focuses on making computer usage easier for others. Whereas computer scientists and computer engineers approach technology from a designer's standpoint, as an IT student, you'd approach technology from a user's viewpoint. Some of your courses, such as programming and systems studies, are similar to courses taken by computer science or computer engineering majors, but you also take classes related to multimedia, the Internet and computing processes.

Associate's Degree Options

Some positions in a computer company may be available to those with an associate's degree. If you pursue an associate's degree in computer science or information technology, your course requirements may include many classes similar to those required by a 4-year program; however, some associate's degree programs focus more heavily on telecommunications, maintenance and administration. If you're unable to relocate to attend school, some associate's degree programs allow you to take your courses online.

Industry Certification

Depending on your specific desired position, earning industry certification may also help you to stand out among candidates when applying for a job with a computer company. Certifications are available from private organizations, training institutes and software companies. For example, Microsoft offers the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) designation that is designed for those who work with Microsoft products. Other possible options for certification are available from CompTIA, a trade organization for IT professionals that offers certifications in areas such as project management, servers, networks, IT security and document imaging architecture.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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