|Degree Level||Varies; bachelor's degree common; master's for management positions|
|Degree Field(s)||Computer science, systems technology, or mathematics|
|License/Certification||Certification required for some positions; certification and experience can sometimes substitute for education in entry-level positions|
|Key Skills||Strong problem-solving, communication, and multi-tasking skills|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)||12% growth|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)||$81,413 (for information technology specialists)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Computer information specialists manage computer systems for companies. They are usually responsible for programming, data analysis and technical support in various capacities, for various clients. Education requirements vary by position, but a bachelor's degree in computer science, systems technology or mathematics is recommended. Certification may be required for some positions.
Careers dealing with information technology (IT) are increasing due to the advances in information storage and transmission. A career in IT generally involves computer support and research. Information specialists are more specifically responsible for managing and supporting multiple computer systems, creating programs for computer systems to regulate information flow and helping professionals research and analyze data. Most specialists have a specific niche area in which they apply the above skills. For instance, computer security specialists regulate the information traffic to and from a network. They also stop and report potential cyber crimes.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Computer information specialists can focus on a number of IT areas. Information security analysts, computer network architects and web developers are just some of the specialties related to this field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that demand for those in all computer occupations will increase by 12% over the 2014-2024 decade. Information technology specialists will earn a median annual salary of $81,413 in May 2015, according to the BLS.
Required Education and Training
Some information specialists only require a simple certification with work experience, while other requires a bachelor's degree. In general, all fields require a firm background in computer science, systems technology and mathematics. Since the demand for information technology careers is expected to increase, internship and training opportunities with select vendors are abundant. The experience gained in these positions gives prospective students possible employment opportunities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employers are actively engaging in paid internships where specialists work into a full-time position.
While not required for entry-level positions, those pursuing a bachelor's degree may be eligible for upper-tier careers in computer information. Those falling into this category generally expect to be placed in management positions, advising and leading small teams of associate specialists. Master's degree programs are also available. Possessing a master's degree may give an applicant a more competitive edge and qualify them for management positions, leading larger corporate groups.
Computer information specialists, along with other types of information technicians, require strong problem-solving capabilities, good communication skills and the ability to multitask. Specialists may be placed in situations requiring multiple projects to be completed simultaneously. Similarly, problem-solving support is a major component of an information specialist's career. The ability to effectively communicate the problem to the customer or co-worker lies at the foundation of this career.
Computer information specialists cover all areas of information technology, from programming, data analysis and security protocols, but may require a bachelor's degree and certification for certain positions.