A Guide on Information Technology Careers

We all live in the information age. What better career to go after than one in the information industry. But how does IT apply to? There are many fields of specialty in IT and you can work in a broad field or a more specific field. Either way, businesses are always on the lookout for a good IT employee. Here is a brief guide on information technology careers.

Someone who works in the field of information technology will work daily with computers (personal or business), the internet and anything else that has to deal with any kind of digital electronic processes and systems that spread information at the touch of a button. These systems were designed to make out lives easier, but without the IT specialists there to answer questions for the Layman and fix things when they are broke, the world would be in a heap of trouble.

Word processors, spreadsheets, databases and other software that businesses often use are all part of what the information technology specialist deals with on a daily basis. The IT’s job is to build the systems, set them up and make sure that they run properly and do what they are supposed to do. If these computer systems ever go down and the company didn’t have an IT person there to fix it right away, many companies could possibly lose a lot of production which will result in the loss of money as well.

Some tasks that they might cover on a day-to-day basis are things like upgrading computer software, getting other employees connected to the server, router, or internet. They may also build websites, design graphics and keep the companies systems and databases intact.

Not all information technology careers are the same. You will have the option to work in your field that you specialize in. Whether its building websites or working on normal everyday computer fixes, as long as we have computers we will have a need for a specialized IT employee. Most people in the IT career don’t really call their profession an IT specialist. They instead go by titles like engineers, programmers, webmasters, etc.

All information technology careers no matter what deal with the usability and maintenance of electronic systems. Their main tasks are to keep everything in working order and build upon outdated systems to make things simpler and to make their employers more money. If you can satisfy those basic needs, you can have a long a lucrative career in the IT field no matter what you call yourself.

What Factors Will Shape Information Technology Careers in the Next 5 Years?

As economic and social factors continue to shape the IT industry, we look at four compelling pressure points that have the potential to significantly affect IT careers within the next five years.

#1 Society

As society’s dependency on IT systems continues to grow, the demands on the professionals who dream up, design and support these systems become ever more stringent. Computers are no longer just the domain of engineering minds, children to grandmothers are also on board and everyone else in between. This makes the Internet more important to society than it has ever been.

#2 Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is the presentation of a third party service into your network. This is another concept that is gaining momentum primarily as a result of recent advances in telecommunications, processing and storage capacity. This service model has the potential to rock technical roles within the IT workforce. Although it would probably be more accurate to say that this model (if successful) will be the catalyst rather than the cause of a shift in workforce skills demands.

#3 Internet Addresses

The current Internet address space known as IP version 4 is 95% depleted. Its successor is known as IP version 6. Interestingly, the (eventual) implementation of IP version 6 has a huge potential to shape IT career profiles. Ironically, the potential of this new protocol is the same potential dreaded by some large corporations of today. You see this protocol will give residential users the ability to participate in the Internet by serving information, rather than just receiving it. It can be said that this functionality is similar to today’s’ peer-to-peer protocols on steroids!

It is also possible that the IP version 6’s ‘next killer application’ will be one that harnesses this functionality to empower home users in a manner that is today very difficult to achieve for technical reasons pertaining to the wide spread use of private network addressing.

#4 Link Capacity

The speed of connections to the Internet have been increasing steadily for twenty years. As recent as the year 2000, dial up modems were the connection of choice. Today, dial up modems are painfully slow and not used by consumers in most parts of the world. One day, ADSL and ADSL2+ connections will be considered slow as well. The higher the bandwidth, the more functionality that we will be able to transmit to our computers. And this will result in richer Internet experiences. Although these advances are in the telecommunications sector, it is likely that web developer technologies and careers will experience the greatest changes as a result of these advances.

Whatever the catalyst, we can see here that there are a number of market forces that are shaping the Information Technology industry workforce. But as always, the industry will adapt and thrive and the forward thinking job candidates should once again be in a position to cash in.

Technology Careers in 21st Century

The field of technology is always characterized by change. In the era of technology and computers, even basic architecture are rendered obsolete in a matter of months. Over a last few decades, we have gone through several evolutions of computing models from large mainframe computers to the personal computers and the client server based models and now to Internet computing.

What a difference a few years can make? In March 2000, the US capital markets were soaring, Information Technology (IT) was the Holy Grail and optimism was order of the day. The demand of IT professionals seemed limitless and US congress bowed to pressure from technology lobby ensuring a steady stream of IT professionals from abroad especially India. Now that US is entering a recession, with technology companies taking the biggest hit. Suddenly the rules of the game seem different and no one can predict when the situation will turn around.

It is paramount for a young computer professional to have sufficient depth of understanding in his or her chosen field or area of expertise in order to get a foot in the door, a diversity of skills is a crucial factor in career advancement.

A technology professional may be other non-technical dimensions such as the ability to speak in public or think critically. Networking with other fellow professionals is a useful mechanism to help improve your visibility and ensure that others are aware to your unique talents and potential.

Probably the most important factor in making a career choice is to like what you do. However rational the career choice decision may appear, if you do not have an interest in computers and technology, the ability to maintain a competitive edge in IT careers is compromised. However in a dynamic and fast changing technology environment you must like what you do in order to be motivated enough to invest in learning and adapting on continual basis. As Albert Schweitzer the famous German Physician and humanitarian once said “Success is not the key to happiness, Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful”.