Want to start an information technology career? We collected all the high-demand and well-paid specializations in 2021 and beyond.
Why is information technology a promising career?
Every year, the number of people who want to enter the IT industry grows, and it’s not for nothing. IT professionals are always in high demand, so it’s easy for them to find employment. This has increased even more lately since most businesses have moved online because of the pandemic. Since even more tech specialists are needed, IT provides a wide range of career opportunities and growth.
IT positions are well paid, even at the junior levels. According to SalaryExplorer, a person working in Information Technology in the US typically earns around $95,100 per year. This article will give you an overview of the most exciting and high-paid career opportunities in information technology.
According to the Linkedin Emerging Jobs Report 2020, which covers the top 15 jobs in the US, IT positions include things like artificial intelligence specialists, robotics engineers, and data scientists. In his recent report, Andrew Seaman, a senior news editor at LinkedIn, added that AI specialists and Machine Learning researchers are among the most in-demand careers in 2021. IT is one of the top four fastest-hiring industries (along with healthcare, financial services, and government).
In the Robert Half Technology Salary Guide, you can find a list of critical technology roles for 2021 and beyond. We’ve summarized the information technology career requirements for your convenience.
1. A.I./Machine Learning Specialists
The first information technology career on our list is AI/ML. Machine Learning is a subset of Artificial Intelligence and a crucial part of operations in global companies because it shows trends in customer behavior and helps with developing new products.
In simple words, Artificial Intelligence specialists make computers think like humans. They create AI models and algorithms that can make predictions. These specialists create programs that simulate the human brain’s way of thinking. Companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Uber are all looking for A.I./Machine Learning specialists. So if you’re still thinking “is information technology a good career?” — you’ve got the answer.
For this type of position, applicants need to have programming skills (e.g. Python, R, Java, or C++). Linear Algebra, probability, and statistics skills are also necessary for AI model implementation. You’ll also definitely need to understand Big Data technology and ML algorithms.
The average salary in the US for an AI/ML specialist is $110,365 per year.
2. Business Intelligence Analysts
Data is here, and it’s growing. Companies’ success depends on the correct interpretation of that data. So, if data is your passion and you want to make companies great, start with BI Analytics.
People often see no difference in information technology career descriptions between BI analysts and business analysts, so let’s differentiate. The first deals more with data insights. Business analytics’ aim is to find practical solutions to those insights.
Essential data tools here are Excel and SQL. Data visualization (Tableau, Power BI) is needed to create graphs to present findings. Coding languages to develop processes for analyzing critical business aspects are also required. Common financial and business knowledge are basics, too. A specialist must have critical thinking skills and an understanding of data management, communication, and presentation.
The average information technology career salary of a BI analyst in the US is $85,274 per year.
3. Cloud Architects
Well-paid career opportunities in information technology are also connected with cloud technologies, especially because they are becoming more complex. A cloud architect’s job is to manage them across a company or organization. Their primary responsibilities are:
- leading corporate cultural change for cloud adoption
- cloud architecture development and coordination
- cloud strategy development and onboarding coordination
Cloud computing architecture includes the front-end platforms, servers, repositories, delivery, and networks required to manage a cloud repository.
To build a career in information technology as a cloud architect, you need to know Linux, Unix, Solaris, and other operating systems at the administrator level. A profound understanding of networking technologies like TCP / IP, HTTP, DNS, CDN, and VPN is also crucial. Knowledge of programming languages (e.g., Python, Java, and C#) is obligatory. And, of course, cloud architects should understand cyber security concepts and know data storage technologies, DBMS, and AWS services.
The average salary in the US is $153,318 per year
4. Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Experts
Nowadays, data is so valuable and sensitive that it needs to be protected. This is the role of cybersecurity and data privacy experts, who fight hackers and manage risks. The responsibilities for this position could range from file access control to system hacking attempts.
Essential information technology career requirements here include expertise in diverse systems and networks. Cybersecurity experts should know scripting: Java or C++. They must also understand hacking processes so they can block cyberattacks. Knowing about operating systems is a must; analysts have to work on all types of operating systems and platforms, including iOS, Windows, and Linux. Critical thinking is one of the basic skills for this position. If you don’t have any experience but still desire to find a no-experience cyber security job, check out Jooble.
The average salary in the US: $111,052 per year
5. Data Analytics
It’s estimated that by 2025 the big data market will be worth $229.4 billion, so data specialists are in significant demand. If you’re looking for an information technology career path, take a closer look at data analytics positions.
Let’s clear up the difference between two similar positions: data analyst and data scientist. In simple terms, a data analyst works with existing data to find insights, answer specific questions about the company, and create a current report. A data scientist, on the other hand, invents new ways of capturing and analyzing data to be used by analysts, working more on a macro level.
Data analysts should be proficient in software like Excel and, in some cases, querying and programming languages like SQL, R, SAS, and Python. For data analysts, it’s important to know tools and languages to carry out data mining, statistical analysis, database management, and reporting.
For data analysts, the average information technology career salary is $67,294.
6. Data Scientists
Data science covers a wide range of positions, like data analyst, data engineer, machine learning engineer, and ML researcher. As we said above, data scientists are insight miners for further business decision-making.
There’s a running joke in the IT community about data scientists: a data scientist is someone better at statistics than any software engineer and better at software engineering than any statistician. This statement truly encapsulates this information technology career description. Data scientists should be good at stats, math, and machine learning. People on this career path need to know about coding, databases, data mining, visualization, and reporting. When it comes to distributed processing, they should be familiar with programs like Hadoop, MapReduce, and Spark.
The average data scientist’s salary is $119,413 per year
Software developers, also known as coders and programmers, create computer programs using computer languages. There are various types of developers: front end, back end, desktop, mobile, game, etc. Software developers identify user needs, develop schedules, test out new software, and make improvements. So this position has a lot of opportunities to build a career in information technology.
The average information technology career salary of a developer is $86,523 per year in the USA.
8. IT Engineers
What career opportunities in information technology do IT engineers have? They can grow from a self-employed contractor to a principal company engineer. IT engineers are high-level information technology specialists whose job is to maintain computer systems in the company. Their responsibilities include testing, configuring, and troubleshooting hardware, software, and networking systems to meet company needs. IT engineers can also work as project managers and train other employees.
The list of required skills on a job post may include knowledge of math, time management, and user experience design. You should also know about systems administration, evaluation, and SQL. Analytical thinking, technical writing, and multitasking are needed, too.
The average salary for this information technology career is $79,285 per year in the US.
9. Help Desk Support Specialists
Help desk support specialists help clients that have problems or technical issues with a company’s product. In this position, you should be able to find the answer to any tech-related question from customers and provide ways to solve their problems. So understanding and maintaining daily system performance and having the ability to troubleshoot customer problems quickly is essential for help desk support specialists. Starting as a technical support assistant, you may find other career opportunities in information technology; you might become a developer, computer network architect, or database administrator.
To summarize, a perfect help desk support specialist is excellent with computer systems, network management, and PC repair and can deploy, configure, and support operating systems. The perfect candidate for this position is also patient and willing to help, has strong communication skills, and knows how to prioritize tasks.
The average information technology career salary for help desk specialists is $45,064 per year in the US.
10. IT Administrators (System Administrators)
Still asking yourself which information technology career is right for you? Try an IT administrator position to start. IT administrators coordinate all the computer systems of an organization. In some ways, they are managers of all the information technology in a company. IT administrators can help employees with technical issues. It’s a good position for future career growth. You can become an IT architect from the tech side and an IT manager from the management side.
The average salary is $62,167 per year in the US.
Tips for where to find Information technology career positions
Now that you know what types of jobs to look for, we’ve gathered some suggestions on how to advance your information technology career.
- Networking is one of the best ways to find a job, since you can learn about positions from friends or former colleagues. You can start developing your network simply by broadening contacts on your LinkedIn account.
- Referral programs are somewhat similar to networking because they motivate employees to find candidates. Don’t be afraid to ask friends or colleagues about open positions.
- Career and company websites usually provide open positions lists. Sometimes you can find them in unexpected places — like watching a tech quiz for IT specialists.
- Internships matter — they are a great way to advance your career in information technology, whether you’re just entering the field or you’re finishing up a graduate degree.
- Cold emailing or calling can be helpful if you’re interested in a particular company that doesn’t have suitable positions at the moment — send them your CV and cover letter.
As you can see, the information technology career path is multi-faceted. People with different skills can enter the IT-sphere from various starting points. Hone your skills and you’ll get your dream job!