Information Technology Specialist: Job Description and Requirements
Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an information technology specialist. Get a view of the job description as well as details about job duties, training and skill sets to find out if this is the career for you.
Information technology specialists work in positions using computer-based information systems. They work with both software applications and computer hardware. Entry-level positions require demonstrated computer knowledge and skills. Experience with multiple programming languages and diverse software and hardware is often expected. Certifications are voluntary but attest to knowledge and documented abilities for prospective employers.
|Required Education||Certificate or associate degree required; bachelor's degree preferred|
|Optional Certifications||Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, Certified IT Specialist|
|Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)*||17% (for computer support specialists)|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$51,970|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Information Technology Specialist Job Description
Information technologists generally design, operate or maintain technology products. Not limited to employment with technology companies, information technology (IT) specialists may work with any businesses, agencies or organizations that use technology or manage large amounts of information. Regardless of the sector they work in, IT specialists usually provide similar services related to software, hardware, databases, Web resources, networks and enterprise systems.
Duties of an information technology specialist can include network management, software development and database administration. IT specialists may also provide technical support to a business or an organization's employees and train non-technical workers on the business's information systems. Advanced information technology specialists may design systems and assess the effectiveness of technology resources already in use or new systems that are being implemented. Additionally, they will determine the practicality of changes and modification of systems.
IT specialists will also work with external partners, including consultants, agencies and vendors, to arrive at the most appropriate system or integration of multiple systems. With information technology constantly changing, specialists must stay up-to-date on emerging technologies and the potential effectiveness of these advancements in their current system.
Salary and Career Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer support specialists, who share many responsibilities with IT specialists, could expect an increase of 17% in job opportunities from 2012-2022. Similarly, network and systems administrators could expect an increase of 12% during the same time period. Information technology specialists earned a median annual wage of $51,970 in July 2015. In May 2014, the BLS reported a median salary for network and computer systems administrators of $75,790 per year.
Training for an IT specialist can range from a few months in a certificate program to a doctoral degree. A majority of information technology specialists have completed a bachelor's degree program or higher, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Majors that prepare a person for work as an IT specialist include:
- Computer science
- Information science
- Operations research
Information technology specialists may earn certification on particular systems or technologies used regularly. Cisco, Oracle and Microsoft offer certification for their IT products. Three levels for the Certified IT Specialist credential are offered through The Open Group and are independent of any software vendor or hardware manufacturer. According to the U.S. Census Bureau other requirements might include training and experience in communication systems and networks, Internet and intranet development, data encryption and security (www.census.gov).