With top employment rates and salaries above the national average, a job in computer technology is ideal for any professional seeking a career and not just another job. Computer technology is your calling if you have a knack for operating and/or repairing workstations. If you’ve got the education, you’ve got the tools to succeed. It’s only a matter of deducing exactly where you want to work in this expanding industry.
Computer Technology Education Requirements
Not all IT (information technology) jobs require an education; although, there are plenty of degrees available for this career path. In terms of the rest of the jobs available in this sector, it definitely helps to have a degree. Here’s a sampling of the degrees that can help you land a high-paying position in the computer tech field:
- Computer technology
- Computer information technology
- Electrical technology
- Mechanical engineering
- Computer science
This is only a sampling of the myriad of degrees available to you. There are so many different ways to learn and degrees available, and each can snag you a highly-coveted position in the industry.
Practice Makes Perfect: Defining What You Want to Do
Once you’ve received your education, you’ll want to practice doing what you love. Explore the many facets of computer technology. This will help you make better career choices. You don’t want to end up doing something you hate or aren’t good at, so do your best to define yourself early on.
Ask yourself, “What’s my favorite thing about working with computers?”
- Do you love creating apps? Why not sell them in the App Store?
- Do you enjoy hardware, building and rebuilding computers? Why not start your career in computer repair?
- Do you obsess over tablet technology? If you’re both administrative and tech savvy, you may be successful in a position that asks you to manage and repair line optimization devices.
Once you’ve pinpointed the things you love about computers, you’ll want to do yourself a favor and test your abilities. Build apps and computers. If you’re considering working with tablets or line optimization devices, get your hands on an industrial panel PC from Kontron; learn to use the supervisory controls and how to program it. Not only will this practice ensure you end up doing something you love (and, not just endlessly suffering through a job), it can also be highlighted on your resume as a relevant skill.
10 Examples of Computer Technology Jobs
By now you’re probably wondering what sorts of careers in this field are available to a guy (or, gal) like you. You’ll be delighted to know there are all sorts of positions available, but narrowing them down is dependent on your skills. Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses, and use that to help determine exactly where you belong.
- Mobile App Developer (average salary $95,000)
According to iCareerfinder.com, “Mobile application development is one of the world’s fastest growing occupations.” In fact, the 10-year growth projections are above 30 percent, which is significantly faster than the national average. You’ll do well as an app developer if you’re strengths are in software, troubleshooting, and operating systems.
- Database Administrator (average salary $82,000)
Big data needs your protection. With so much information being transmitted online, there’s an increased need for computer technology graduates to handle its storage, as well as organize it, analyze it, and especially secure it. In this sector, you could work in cloud or database security, and it will be your job to protect your company from hackers and other malicious security threats.
- 3D Animation or Graphic Design (average starting salary between $44,000 and $60,000)
This job is fun, but it doesn’t pay as much. If you’re lucky enough to land a coveted 3D animation job at a larger studio, say Pixar for example, you will make more per year (around $60,000). Still, nothing beats doing what you love and creating movies, software, games, and animations is well worth the effort. Although your computer technology skills are important to this position, it’s equally important that you are a creative or artistic person.
- Database Manager (average salary $81,190)
If you can stand a fair amount of monotony, you may be successful in a database position. These jobs require that you transfer hard copy into an electronic format. According to US News, the best cities to land a job are San Francisco, Trenton, New Jersey, Boulder, San Jose, and District of Columbia. DC is a great one because there’s plenty of government documents that need electronic updating.
- Engineer (median starting salary: $61,300; mid-career average: $103,000)
Although engineers typically don’t start out near six figures like some of the other jobs listed here, the growth potential is exponentially better. Once you’ve gotten some experience under your belt, there’s no cap on what you can earn. If you’re seeking something high-paying, considering starting your career in a niche area, such as petroleum engineering.
- Networking or System Administrator (average salary $63,520)
If you excel at creating, setting up, and maintaining networks, you’d make a great networking or system administrator. The Internet has made this position integral to more businesses than ever, so there’s consistently jobs available. Plus, your education doesn’t have to be extensive. You can snag one of these jobs with a certificate, such as a CCNA or MCSE.
- Software Engineer (average salary $90,000)
So long as there is network technology, there will be software engineering positions. Applications, located on networks, need more securing than anything else. They’re vulnerable to hackers, and for that reason a staffed software engineer is required to maintain them, develop them, and secure them.
- Video Game Designer (average salary $80,000)
Do you love gaming? Cool, then maybe consider putting your degree to developing the next generation of consoles and video games. Although a love of gaming isn’t the only necessary component, it is a great reason to consider this field. How much you can earn is widely dependent on where you work and what you’re making. For example, someone developing a new game for Xbox is going to earn a bit more than someone developing a new game for an indie game startup company.
- Electronics Technician or Engineer (salary range $38,000 to $90,000)
It’s the job of the electronics tech or engineer to repair electronic equipment. You may also be called upon to assemble and test the equipment. Although a degree is useful to this position, many employers may hire you based on your talents. For example, if you can build computer systems from scratch, you’d be qualified for an electronics technician position.
- Hardware Designer (including, circuit design, embedded systems, etc.)
Do you dream of designing the next gaming PC? Do you want to develop better sound systems and other electronics? If so, you’ve got a reason to consider a job as a hardware designer. It’s the duty of hardware designers to create next-generation electronics.
The Job You Want versus the Job You Need
Who doesn’t want to build video games or become a world famous animator? These jobs are highly sought-after for a reason, they’re exciting and fun. Unfortunately, you may not be able to travel cross country to take a position. Or, it may not pay enough to pay back your student loans. In truth, the job you want may not be right for you.
You’ve written down your skills, and now it’s time to take note of your restrictions. Make a list of things you need from a job, such as pay, location, and the hours required. Search for jobs in a few selected fields, and eliminate anything that doesn’t fit your needs.
Because the computer technology field is constantly expanding, you will land your dream job eventually. It’s going to take and effort, but if you’re diligent and willing to go the extra mile, you may just end up the world’s next hardware designer (or, whatever it is you wish to be). So, get out there, start Googling what’s available, and get those resumes in. The more you apply, the better your chances of landing an interview.