Computer Science, Information Technology, Information Science and Data Science can often be seen as interchangeable terminology for similar work. While they all use technology, there are different focuses in each field which discern them from one another. However, due to their similarity, we have linked to the related pages from here.
Information Technology careers involve installing, maintaining, and improving computer systems, operating networks, and databases. Most IT workers are employed on teams within an organization, maintaining organizational technology needs or directly serving clients. IT can often be more customer service and support focused than a computer science career. People in the IT field have often noted that tinkering (taking things apart to put them back together) to understand how things work and their time working on a help desk were a great basis for their future career.
Some job sectors include:
Enterprise Architecture • Serverless computing • Informatics • Cloud computing • 5G • Telecom/VOIP Technologist • Networking LAN/WAN
- Information Technologyis the use and management of computers to retrieve, store, transmit, and manipulate data, often in the service of business or organizational needs.
- Computer Systems Engineeringis the design of integrated hardware and software solutions. Plan – Develop – Test – Evaluate
- Networks are connections between at least 2 computer systems to provide resources to other participants. Networking is made up of the design, construction and use of a network, and also the management, maintenance and operation of the network infrastructure, software and policies.
- Cloud Computing is the delivery of computing services over the Internet to improve scalability, resource management and flexibility.
- Informatics is the study, design and development of computational systems, especially for data storage and retrieval
These career roles could be considered foundational to the discipline. Here are general definitions for each career role:
- Administrator– A computer science/information technology administrator is responsible for the management, upkeep, and configuration of a computer information systems. Database administrators set up and maintain databases for companies according to their need, using software to store, organize, maintain and protect that data.
- Analyst – This is a broad title, but analysts are often responsible for data management—collection, analysis, organization. In addition, they oversee technology projects and systems, managing performance and internal processes and identifying improvements and issues within systems.
- Project Manager– A project manager is responsible for making sure a project is successful from start to finish, insuring delivery on time and under budget.
- Specialist – IT specialists take care of the technical needs of a business, including the implementation , monitoring and maintenance of systems and networks.
While it’s possible to get an IT position with some experience (like on an IT Help Desk!) and on-the-job training, often a two- or four-year degree is required. Technology jobs often preference skills-based training over a college degree, so there is some range of flexibility in the amount of education required for a position in IT. You should be good at understanding the needs of an organization and how the use of technologies can improve business processes and solve problems.
Explore programs from the Associate’s degree through PhD, as there are educational programs and opportunities in the workforce for people at all levels.
In addition to field-specific technology skills, certification and education, general communication and leadership skills can be a key component of promotion into positions of management. Working to build skills in presentation, verbal and written communication, organization/time management and leadership is a worthwhile use of your time.
IT Career Resources:
ASIS International is the leading organization for security professionals worldwide.
Association for Computing Machinery:
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is a global community of computing professionals and students with nearly 100,000 members.
Association of Computer Engineers and Technicians (ACE – ACET) promotes professional standards within the IT industry.
Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP) is the premier industry association for information professionals working independently.
Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) is the leading worldwide society of information technology business professionals.
Association for Women in Computing (AWC ) is a national professional organization for professionals involved with information and technology, dedicated to the advancement of women in the technology fields.
The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a leading voice and advocate for the global information technology ecosystem; and the industry and tech professionals who design, implement, manage, and safeguard the technology that powers the world’s economy.
seeks to encourage regional and international communication and collaboration; promote professional and lifelong learning; recognize outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations; encourage scholar researchers to pursue studies and careers in Computer Science and Information Technology.
IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.
Network Professional Organization:
The Network Professional Association® (NPA) a Global Organization of IT professionals. Established 1993, the non-profit Network Professional Association is the leading organization for Ethical Network and IT Professionals.
Society for Information Management:
User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) supports those who research, design, and evaluate the user experience of products and services.
Majors and Programs
While most colleges offering an IT degree will simply have a BA or BS in Computer Science, there are a variety of concentrations one might choose to focus on. Below are just a few:
- Cyber Security
- Data Analytics
- Network Systems Administration
- Web Design and Development
- Software Development
- Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
- Geographic Information Systems
- Digital Forensics
Certifications in IT
Technology is a constantly changing field and continuous learning is a must. Certifications can be a good way to prove your skills in a variety of areas, as well as learn new skills through the preparation for certification exams. Being accredited can make you stand out in an applicant pool as more likely to succeed in your position. Since recruiters don’t always know the ins and outs of each position they hire for, having a way to quantify achievement or skill in certain areas can often be a helpful tool for them.
Here’s a good article from Indeed which outlines some of the options for IT certifications for security, cloud computing, and help desk operations.
Here is another list of certifications, broken down by functional area
- Big Data CCA Data Analyst, CCA Administrator, CCA Spark and Hadoop Developer, HDP Apache Spark Developer, Hortonworks Certified Associates, HDP Certified Developer
- Business Intelligence Certifications in Tableau, Qlik Sense, and SAS
- Cloud Computing AWS Certified Solutions Architect, Microsoft Certified Solution Expert, Google Professional Cloud Architect, Cloud Security Certification
- CRM (Customer Relationship Management) SAP CRM certification, Salesforce Administrator, Salesforce Platform Developer, Salesforce Platform App Builder, Microsoft Dynamics CRM
- Data Science Applied AI & Deep Learning, Big Data Certification, Machine Learning Engineer, Data Analyst
- DevOps AWS DevOps Certification
- Network The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP), Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE), Wireshark Certified Network Analyst
- Project Management Certified Scrum Master, Six Sigma Green Belt, Project management Professional (PMP), PRINCE2
While not strictly technology focused, the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification shows that you have the skills and experience to lead a project from start to finish. Not only does this indicate to an employer what your level of skill is within Project Management, it can also lead to higher pay that a non-certified candidate may receive.
Jobs and Experiences
It is no surprise that technology companies make up the biggest employers of Information Technology professionals in the United States.
Some technology companies are
However, most companies have some sort of IT positions, so some others to think about are
Johnson and Johnson
Bain & Company
2nd Tier: These were mostly taken from the original list in the CS/IT/IS page and simply need to be moved over.
Computer Network Specialist
IT Project Manager
Information Technology Consultant
Computer User Support Specialist
Data Warehousing Specialist
Computer/Information Technology Administration and Management