Computer science and IT programs can prepare you for a career in an exciting and ever-evolving field. After a lull in the IT field, employers are again seeking qualified applicants for all computer science specialties.
Having a background in information technology will prepare you for further training in the specialized occupations below. If you have the computer savvy and experience to navigate computer science and IT programs, you may want to build on what you know and put yourself in a position for a better paying job and higher job satisfaction.
The nature of technology is change. Many U.S. companies are recruiting workers from a global pool, due to the shortage of highly trained workers in our own country. This is a good time to gain the skills and knowledge that will put you in the position you desire.
Network engineers, or network administrators, design, install, maintain and computer communication systems within a building or office (LAN) or in a larger system such as traffic control devices in a city (MAN). Network engineers also link across national boundaries (WAN) or combining networks over global areas (GAN). Network administrators make it possible for communication to happen within and between groups, sharing files and resources. Network engineers connect offices with T1 lines, hook them up to the Internet, and configure all internal systems including firewalls and routers. The software engineer needs to be able to convert technical information into lay terms to instruct users.
Network engineers require a broad knowledge of networking, servers and security. Courses in IT are available online and in 2-year and technical institutes. Employers value those who have been through an apprenticeship or have on the job experience. Obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree will enhance chances of moving up into a higher paying position.
Information systems management-
Information systems management is a hybrid career- part productions/operations management and part information systems. The information systems manager problem-solves tech problems in all areas and phases of business operations and production that use technology.
Information systems managers need to stay current with new developments in technology, have top-notch technical skills, and be very familiar with information architecture, network configurations, databases, systems developmental tools and systems integration.
The minimum education is a 4-year degree in an ISM program, or a master’s degree in a computer science specialty along with certification in various software applications. Because this occupation combines business principles with advanced technology, coursework must include both. ISM programs are offered at 4-year colleges and technical institutes, and online.
Software engineers research, design, develop and test operating systems-level software, network distribution software and compilers. They work with a variety of scientific, military, communications, industrial, business, and medical software applications. Software engineers also set operational specifications as well as analyze and formulate software requirements.
This occupation is currently in high demand. It requires a 4-year degree in a computer science discipline. Most employers require relevant job experience. Certification in several software applications will make an applicant or employee more valuable.
Training programs for software engineering are offered at vocational schools, community and technical colleges and institutes, and online colleges and universities. Extensive job experience is often substituted for a bachelor’s degree.
The California Occupational Guide provides this description of a computer programmer’s job: “Computer programmers write, test and maintain programs or software that tell the computer what to do. They convert project specifications and statements of problems and procedures to detailed logical flow charts for coding into a computer language. They develop and write computer programs to store, locate, and retrieve specific documents, data and information. They may program Websites.” This concise description covers a lot of ground in a few words.
Programmers must be able to deal with people, and are often called upon to problem-solve, train and supervise others. A natural bent for logical thinking, language acquisition and mathematical application is useful. The ability to communicate with others verbally and in writing is important. Programmers need to be able to adapt to change and update skills as new technology is introduced.
Programmers need a bachelor’s degree at the minimum. Many employers are asking for master’s degrees with specialized concentrations. Programmers need to be trained in various programming languages. Training is offered at colleges, universities, technical institutes and online. Professional certification is available after a program of study and testing from such private corporations as CISCO and Microsoft.
IT Network Security-
Network security specialists are called by many names but the job is basically the same. They plan, design, implement, monitor and upgrade information security measures for networks. The security specialist designs measures that allow, limit or restrict access to network users. Some specialists are responsible for a whole company’s or group’s security, or may be responsible for a portion of the security measures. The security specialist must have excellent communication skills and keep up to date with skills and knowledge since new security threats and measures are continually presenting new challenges.
Network security specialists need a college degree plus several years of relevant experience. Training is available at colleges, technical institutes, and online. Continuing education is a must. Certification for various software applications by private firms is helpful.
Outlook for Computer and IT Careers-
According to the U.S. Department of Labor projections, future prospects for all computer science and IT careers are categorized as “excellent”. As lower and mid-level specialists move up into managerial positions, positions will open up. Coupled with the continual growth and innovation in the IT field, training for one of these careers is probably a wise choice. Finding the position that suits your skills and temperament will help you choose the right one. There are many online degree programs for careers in computer science and IT from accredited online colleges across the country.