Why Work in IT? 7 Solid Reasons to Get Started
We all love having options. Whether that’s the shoes you wear, the shows you stream or the color of car you drive, a little variety usually doesn’t hurt. But when it comes down to something as important as picking a potential career and education path, that variety can start to get a little intimidating as there’s a lot of research to be done.
If you’re reading this article, you’re likely right in the thick of giving a career in information technology (IT) its due diligence. If you’re wondering why working in IT could be the right option for you, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve asked established IT professionals to share what they enjoy about working in IT and compiled some of top reasons for getting started in this critical career field.
7 Reasons to work in information technology
There’s a lot to like about a potential IT career. Check out the list below to see if the good is too much to pass up.
1. IT jobs are in demand
It’s always nice to feel wanted—and that’s the case for many IT professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 11 percent from 2019 to 2029.1 In raw numbers, that amounts to a projected addition of 531,200 jobs.1
While the overall outlook is strong for roles in this field, there are a few occupations with growth projections that substantially stand out. The BLS projects employment of database administrators to grow 10 percent, employment of software developers to grow 22 percent and employment of information security analysts to grow 31 percent by 2029.1
2. Earning potential
Strong demand plus roles that require a specialized, technical skill set is often a formula for strong earning potential, and that’s certainly the case in information technology. While factors like location, experience, job role and skill set can all have a substantial influence on what you could earn as an IT professional, the field does well overall. The BLS reports that the 2020 median annual wage across all computer and information technology occupations was $91,250.1
So how does that shake out by occupation? Let’s take a look at the BLS’ reported 2020 median annual salary for some of the most common roles:1
- Computer network architects: $116,780
- Computer systems analysts: $93,730
- Computer support specialists: $55,510
- Software developers: $110,140
- Information security analysts: $103,590
- Network and computer systems administrators: $84,810
3. There’s a variety of specialized roles and advancement opportunities to pursue
Simply put, you can take your IT career in a lot of different directions once established. Maybe you get your start as an IT help desk specialist, but you mind find yourself branching off into cybersecurity, network administration or even IT project management—and that’s just a few potential options! Additionally, IT professionals who focus on developing programming and software development skills may venture into software engineering, quality assurance, database administration, DevOps or other roles that bridge the gap between technical know-how and business operations.
This is a field that provides options—you can drill down and focus on building your expertise in a specific focus area or take a broader generalist approach that can help facilitate work between specialists. As you build experience and learn new skills, you’ll can find ways to pivot that helps make a career feel fresh.
4. You get to be a problem-solver
“Finding something that doesn't work and fixing it is probably the best part of my job,” says Brian Turner, cofounder of ConvertBinary.
If you’re the type of person who enjoys the process of researching, troubleshooting and just plain figuring things out, the IT field can be a great fit for you. At a fundamental level, many IT roles are focused on solving problems—whether that’s helping someone troubleshoot issues they’re having with Outlook®, automating a tedious process with code or providing answers for how to best expand an enterprise-scale network.
“IT careers require analytical skills. People working in this field are expected to be good problem-solvers and innovators,” says Nate Tsang of WallStreetZen. “If you love solving problems and providing new solutions to them, then go ahead and pursue a career in IT.”
5. Less-rigid educational paths
Unless you’re planning to work in certain government IT roles where you may need a security clearance, there aren’t rigid regulations or local licensure requirements to meet in order to work in IT. While employers in this field will certainly love to see applicants with Bachelor’s degrees in relevant fields as a shorthand way to understand whether or not you know your stuff, they also value demonstrable competence, and that can come in a variety of forms.
For instance, IT certifications and shorter academic credentials are used by many IT professionals to get a foot in the door. From there you have options—whether it’s pursuing a degree or developing your skill set in a piecemeal approach. This gives you some flexibility in how you grow within your IT career.
“While there are good degrees you would want to seek and excellent certifications available, there is so much you can learn in this industry without much of either,” says Robert Kanter, founder of ITI Smart Solutions. “If you are willing to take an entry-level position, there are so many free sources of information and training; you can learn so much before exploring higher education or certifications.”
6. Opportunities are widespread
While it’s true some locations, like Silicon Valley or Austin, Texas, have a dense concentration of tech firms and opportunities, IT jobs aren’t found solely in a few areas in the country. Businesses and organizations of all sorts depend heavily on IT infrastructure and personnel to keep things running smoothly—whether it’s ecommerce for small businesses, telecommunications, local governments, healthcare providers or even agriculture!
“I have always worked at the crossroads of technology and a variety of different industries,” says Cristina Dolan, founder of InsideChains. “Every industry has a component of IT that is critical to each business.”
Additionally, while certainly not a guarantee, many IT roles can be done remotely. This obviously can help open up the pool of potential job opportunities and provide new paths to pursue in your career.
“I like that there are growing remote work opportunities in IT,” says Sebastian Schaeffer, CTO and owner of dofollow.io. “I'm in my late thirties, and when I first started out, I never thought there would be so many great opportunities to do interesting work from the comfort of my home.”
7. Working closely with technological advancements
Information technology is the driving force behind a lot of the innovations shaping entire industries. Whether it’s developing a secure infrastructure for digital record-keeping across our hospitals, developing a chatbot that can easily address common customer questions or building an app that makes a long-standing industry more efficient, there’s a lot of potential in this field.
Schaeffer is energized by the prospect of working in a field that’s always pushing for the latest and greatest.
“I love being on the cutting edge of tech because I feel like it gives me a better understanding of one of the most important ways in which human society is changing.”
Is an IT career in your future?
As you can see, there’s quite a few good reasons to giving working in the information technology field some serious consideration. If you’d like to learn more about the flexible, fully online education options available to you at Rasmussen University, visit the School of Technology programs page. Not quite ready for that? You can learn more about your potential IT career options with our article “Careers in Technology: 9 Options to Explore.”
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [accessed July, 2021] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm. Information represents national, averaged data for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.