Today's business environment requires people who know how to manage information and work with complex computer systems and devices. Read on to learn more about degree requirements, employment prospects and earnings potential for information technology administrators.
Information technology (IT) administrators determine which computer systems, networks, peripherals and mobile devices are the best options for an organization. These include government agencies, businesses and educational institutions. As an IT administrator, you'll make sure that all computer equipment, networks and software applications are operating properly. After the technology has been implemented, you'll analyze the usage and performance of the system and make any necessary changes.
Management information systems professionals make sure that everyone in an organization has access to secure technology. IT project managers perform administration tasks for IT initiatives, such as determining a budget or creating a schedule. Computer support specialists analyze and find solutions to end-user problems. Database administrators design databases, manage raw data and ensure the security and integrity of business information.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment prospects for computer and information systems managers, as well as computer support specialists, were expected to increase by a faster-than-average rate nationwide between 2012 and 2022. A faster-than-average growth in jobs was also projected for database administrators through 2022. As of May 2013, the median annual salary for computer and information systems managers was $123,950, while database administrators earned $78,520. In the same year, the median annual wage for computer support specialists was $47,660 (www.bls.gov).
While individual IT careers have different academic requirements, many positions require a professional certification or postsecondary education in a relevant field of study. An associate's degree in a computer-related area might help you qualify for an entry-level job in computer support. As an aspiring IT manager, you may need a bachelor's degree in computer science or information systems management to work with database or information systems or in network administration.
Associate's degree programs for computer support specialists may offer courses in mathematical modeling, networking fundamentals and reasoning. Bachelor's degree programs in computer science typically include courses in programming, computational theory, cryptography and networking. A degree program in information technology may allow for a combination of business and computer courses, such as financial accounting, network planning and Linux security. You may also learn how to solve quantitative technology problems.
Although not always required, an industry certification is one way to show potential employers that you've achieved competency in your field. As an entry-level IT professional, you may pursue the CompTIA A+ certification from the Computer Technology Industry Association. If you use Microsoft technologies, you might also be interested in the Microsoft Certified IT Professional credential.