Information Technology and related career fields have consistently been in high demand. This has been the case especially since the Information Technology (IT) boom experienced in the past decade. Jobs within the IT industry are also becoming increasingly dynamic and average graduates are presented with a lot of options and career paths to choose from on concluding their studies.
As workplaces continue to employ the use of computers and technology devices, the demand for the necessary skills needed to fill the positions continues to rise. There are also a considerable number of people looking to gain entry into the IT field and this has affected the salaries of existing workers. It is important to take a look at what IT workers are currently earning in the field so that people looking to enter the field and others hoping for a career change can achieve an effective bargaining stance.
Labor force, population and demand are the three major factors that affect career opportunities in IT around the world. The more people exist in a particular area, the fewer the employment opportunities available to the people.
Also, the more of a particular skill is required in the industry, the more the opportunities that are available to a particular individual for growing in that specific field. Also, an increase in the number of a certain class of people in a country can lead to an increase in the opportunities available within a particular industry. For example, an area that has a high population of elderly people would lead to an increase in the opportunities available within the health services industry.
Population is another one of the biggest factors affecting the overall job industry. According to the career overview website, statistics reveal that employment numbers in IT will increase to about 165 Million by 2012, this figure represents a 14.8% growth from what it is presently (Mateyaschuk, 1999).
Over the next years, there’s predicted to be an additional 22 million jobs which are expected to exist mostly in service-oriented agencies. Healthcare and Education services are however expected to be amongst the highest growing sectors over the next decade. Result of Statistics state that by the year 2012, the number of jobs in available in the technical, scientific and professional fields will increase by 1.9 million. Approximately 33 percent of these jobs will be associated with computer systems. This is as a result of the high demand placed on network security, system security and Information Technology in general (Mateyaschuk, 1999).
Other services that are related to IT are also expected to grow to a higher level of demand. For example, managers and technical consultants will definitely benefit from the rise in the potential of an IT Career. The increase in the number of business and computer technology firms will also contribute to the popularity of IT Jobs.
Types of IT industry Careers & Associated Duties
The internet is one of the most lucrative aspects of the IT industry. According to InformationWeek’s National IT Salary Survey of over 21,000 online respondents, Internet managers, out of all the mangers surveyed, have the second highest percentage increase in their salary, which was about 12.9% with a median annual salary of $70,000 in 1999 (Mateyaschuk, 1999). Other key findings of the salary survey are outlined below:
IT managers earn an estimated median salary of about $71,000
IT staff members earn an estimated median salary of $54,000
86% of staff members and 89% of managers confirmed that job challenge was more important than the pay and work environment.
IT staff are of the habit of moving around from one job to another while Managers work in a particular place for a minimum of 5 years (Mateyaschuk, 1999).
Information Systems Manager
To become an Information Systems Manager, one would require a Bachelor’s degree in Business with a special focus or qualification in Technology as a core component. Higher positions in Information Systems Management would require a Masters Degree in Business Administration and educational qualifications spanning technology related areas.
Information Systems Managers are responsible for managing computer and technology-related activities of the firm. They are also involved in supervising IT projects within the organization and conducting research on how to improve daily business processes. There’s a considerably high level of demand in this industry as most organizations now require their IT Managers to have knowledge of both business and IT so that technological solutions can be adapted to meet business needs. The median annual salary of an Information Systems Manager is estimated at $101,580(BLS, 2009).
Daily duties of an Information Systems Manager can include:
· Consulting with management in a bid to determine how activities can be structured in line with technical and business goals.
· Establishment of Work Breakdown Structures and frameworks for accomplishing company goals, mission and objectives
· Directing, reviewing and supervising the activities of other IT team members in the organization
· Evaluating innovative technologies to determine how they can be adapted to suit the needs and demands of the organization
· Management of resources, computers and all other technological devices in the organization
· Directing network activities, security and managing all other computer-related activities in the organization
To start a career in Computer Programming, a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or Mathematics with a special focus on computer programming constitutes a good beginning track. Certifications in programming languages, business analysis and certain product-specific certifications are also required for starting out on this career path (BLS, 2009).
Computer Programmers are responsible for writing and conducting test sessions for different applications. They are also involved in designing and creating logical structures that can be used to design software solutions targeted at solving daily business challenges. Computer Programmers sometimes employ the use of Computer-Assisted Software Engineering (CASE) tools which are useful in automating the coding process.
Most of a Programmer’s daily responsibilities would include compiling code, generating code, and debugging. They also have access to a library or database of code that can be customized according to the needs of the organization. This approach helps to increase their productivity by reducing the stress associated with writing code from scratch every time it’s needed.
Programmers often work together as a team. Huge software projects often take a considerably long period of time, even years to complete. A program can be defined as a set of instructions that can only be effective if it generates the required outcome. For as long as programs are being used, programmers will continue to fix the problems associated with available programs and customize them as needed.
The development of pre-built software packages is expected to have a negative effect on the availability of programming jobs in the near future. Most companies would rather buy products off the shelf and employ consultants to customize them to suit their needs than hire in-house programmers to be paid as permanent staff. Developers are however still needed to execute the needed changes. Their average median annual earnings are estimated at $65,510 (BLS, 2009).
Software Engineers usually require a degree in Computer Science, Software Engineering or Computer Engineering. They may also require some product-specific certifications in current technologies that are related to the product used by the organizations they’re in.
Software Engineers are responsible for designing, developing and evaluating computer products that are used by millions of people across the world. They assist in the design of computer games, office applications and numerous software packages utilized on a daily basis. With the increase in demand for software products, the job outlook for software engineers is very encouraging. The approximate median annual income for a Software Engineer is estimated at $79,780 (BLS, 2009).
A Software Engineer‘s daily responsibilities would involve the following:
· Restructuring existing software with the aim of correcting the bugs and ensuring that it works with new hardware optimally
· Developing software systems through the use of mathematical models and analysis techniques
· Working with the engineering staff within the organization to review the interface between hardware and software deployed
· Developing software system testing and procedures for validating software installation procedures.
· Meeting with analysts, engineers and programmers in the development of software documentation and guidelines for effective usage
· Engaging in the modification of software programs so that they can adapt easily to new infrastructure
· Consulting with customers about software system design and maintenance.