Exploring Top IT Job Titles for Every Stage of Your Career

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The information technology (IT) industry is full of opportunities, thanks to our technology-driven society. Companies are embracing technology to keep their businesses thriving, which means the IT world is adding new job titles and career opportunities regularly.

“IT isn’t going anywhere,” says John Watkins, VP and CIO of inRsite IT. “There is always a new path or technology to work with, making the field very exciting.”

Not all of these positions are entry level, either. There are plenty of job options available for those beginning their IT journey and for those looking to level up their careers.

“The IT field is being used everywhere and incorporated into everyday life, which in turn provides endless opportunities for someone to expand their profession,” says Joshua Casey, technology discipline leader at BrightTree Studios.

If you are looking to start or continue a career track that has plenty of room for promotion and growth, it helps to know what the path ahead may look like. To help with that, we’ve laid out some of the common information technology job titles you may encounter in your career, complete with the duties, education requirements and earning potential associated with each.

Top entry-level IT jobs

1. Computer support specialist

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected employment growth (2019–2029): 8%1

2020 median annual salary: $55,5101

Typical education requirements:Associate’s degree or a postsecondary certification. Bachelor’s degree is preferred for some positions.

Common job titles: Computer support specialist, computer technician, help desk analyst, IT support specialist

Aspiring computer support specialists should be prepared for plenty of problem-solving. Computer support specialists evaluate existing network systems, perform regular maintenance/updates, and troubleshoot local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs) and internet systems. These IT professionals can be found in nearly any organization, assisting users with technical issues and ensuring problems get resolved as quickly as possible.

2. Network administrator

BLS projected employment growth (2019–2029): 4%1

2020 median annual salary: $84,8101

Typical education requirements: Bachelor’s degree

Common job titles: Network administrator, LAN administrator, network coordinator, network manager

Network administrators handle the day-to-day operations of computer networks. They determine what the organization needs in a network and computer system and install all network hardware and software, all while maintaining system security and efficiency. This position often calls for a bit of training as network administrators need to be prepared to keep up with changing technology. It’s important to note that the work of network administrators can vary depending on the organization, and many network administration roles may blur the line between being an entry-level position and being a mid-level position.

Top mid-level IT jobs

1. Computer systems analyst

BLS projected employment growth (2019–2029): 7%1

2020 median annual salary: $93,7301

Typical education requirements: Bachelor’s degree

Common job titles: Business systems analyst, information systems analyst, systems analyst, computer systems consultant

Computer systems analysts work to increase the efficiency of an organization’s IT system. This role is a blend of business and technology as systems analysts create cost analyses of upgrading IT systems, consult with managers to determine the role of current systems, and then design, install and configure new systems to meet the organization’s needs. Every project needs a plan—and these are the people who use their extensive IT know-how to make an organization’s tech vision come to life.

2. Database administrator

BLS projected employment growth (2019–2029): 10%1

2020 median annual salary: $98,8601

Typical education requirements: Bachelor’s degree

Common job titles: Database administrator, database administration manager, database analyst, information systems manager

Database administrations (DBAs) work to store, organize and secure data. This data could be anything from financial transaction information to important shipping records. DBAs ensure that authorized users can access accurate data easily; DBAs often monitor performance and make modifications to the database structure if needed. More and more organizations are relying on the power of data—a database administrator is an essential piece of the puzzle for powering data-driven decisions.

3. Network architect

BLS projected employment growth (2019–2029): 5%1

2020 median annual salary: $116,7801

Typical education requirements: Bachelor’s degree

Common job titles: Network analyst, network and security engineer, network systems consultant, solutions architect

Network architects design and build data communication networks, from small connections to multinational systems. Network architects create a plan for the data communication network they are designing and present that plan to the organization’s management. They stay on top of what the newest networking technologies are and how they can impact or improve an organization.

Top senior-level IT jobs

1. Information security analyst

BLS projected employment growth (2019–2029): 31%1

2020 median annual salary: $103,5901

Typical education requirements:Bachelor’s degree

Common job titles: Information security officer, network security analyst, IT security analyst, information systems security analyst

Information security analysts protect an organization’s computer networks and systems. They do this by monitoring networks for security breaches, installing firewalls and other software to protect information, and simulating attacks on the system to identify vulnerabilities. It’s essential for these analysts to keep an eye on IT security and the latest methods of cyberattacks.

2. Computer and information systems managers

BLS projected employment growth (2019–2029): 10%1

2020 median annual salary: $151,1501

Typical education requirements: Bachelor's degree

Common job titles: Information systems director, IT manager, information systems manager

Computer and information systems managers oversee large scale IT-related activities in an organization. Tasks typically involve assessing an organization’s IT needs and advising senior executives on technology decisions. This position serves as a bridge between the IT department and leadership team of an organization. These systems managers are instrumental in identifying a company’s technology goals and implementing computer systems to meet those goals.

IT career advancement doesn’t always mean climbing into management

While IT career advancement might seem like a linear jump from tier to tier when presented in this format, that’s not really the case in practice. Some of the highest-paid positions in IT have to do with specializing in a certain area. Information technology is a broad field, and there’s plenty of room for seasoned experts to rise the ranks into management and company decision-making. There are also plenty of opportunities to establish your expertise in a specific technology.

From the above IT jobs, you can see that information security analysts (people specializing in cybersecurity) represent a more experienced and advanced position. Specialist roles also allow professionals in IT to work as consultants or create their own business around what they do best. New technologies and systems represent new opportunities for IT career advancement.

“Learn your basics, then try out a subset that really interests you,” Watkins says. “Try and get entry-level positions that relate to that subset, tailor your certifications to that job’s requirements and keep expanding your knowledge into related subjects.”

Many technology programs now offer specialized degree or certificate choices to help you launch into the area of technology you are most curious about. Check out the Technology program options at Rasmussen University to see some of the specialties available.

Start paving your IT career path

One of the most beautiful aspects of an industry with plenty of opportunity and options is its appeal to many different kinds of people. You can focus on the branches of IT that you like best and make a career out of the kind of work you prefer. But even with all of those ways to customize your work, the tech industry isn’t for everyone.

Check out our article “7 Signs You Should Be Working in Tech” to learn more about the kinds of people who thrive in these careers.

1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [accessed July, 2021] www.bls.gov/ooh/. Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.

This article was originally published in 2016. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2021.

Brianna Flavin

Brianna is a content writer for Collegis Education who writes student focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen University. She earned her MFA in poetry and teaches as an adjunct English instructor. She loves to write, teach and talk about the power of effective communication.

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