IT Career Growth: The Hottest Areas of Technology for Career Changers
No matter where you start in IT or in which capacity, there are countless opportunities for career growth. IT provides some of the best careers for moving up the ladder and expanding professionally. If you want to benefit from the growth opportunities that careers in information technology offer, the key is committing yourself to expanding your knowledge, reaching your career goals and contributing to the success of your company. In IT careers, oftentimes, the more versatile you are, the more valuable you're viewed as by your employer. If you're in the process of transitioning into a career in IT from another industry, you may be curious about what you can do to set yourself up for IT career growth and promotions once you're hired.
How to Upskill in IT
Learning, training and experience can take you to new places and allow you to expand your horizon to open the doors to new jobs. And, throughout your career in IT, you may gain experience in a variety of areas. If you start out as a help desk technician, you may end up a network specialist. Or, a network specialist may ultimately become a programmer after gaining certain skills on the job. Opportunities to find your niche abound once you get your foot in the door.
First, before you even start applying to jobs, it's a great idea to look into self-study options to begin acquainting yourself with the essentials of how computers work. Look into computer science MOOCs from major universities, which are free on sites like edX.
Once you've explored education options on your own and have picked up key skills, you may want to get certifications that validate the skills you have in key areas, like hardware, security or network architecture. For most IT professionals, having networking and cybersecurity knowledge are a must, even if typical job duties don't include hands-on work with networks and keeping systems secure on a regular basis. Foundational knowledge of how to prevent and combat cyber-attacks and how to best use wired and wireless networks makes you more versatile and valuable to employers.
I'm a veteran and a tech-lover and found information security to be highly intriguing, so I focused my studies in that. When researching how to get into the field, I found that certifications would help.Keith RusselInformation Security Analyst
If you're asking yourself, “what career is best for me?” and you haven't decided which avenue of IT you want to explore, keep reading to learn more about what popular information technology careers have to offer.
Tech support professionals help companies and their employees deal with computer issues, troubleshoot and get more out of the technology they use.
Below are some common job titles in tech support:
- Help desk technician
- Desktop/network support technician
- IT service desk technician
- Technical support engineer
If you enjoy helping people, breaking down complex concepts into layman's terms and figuring out solutions to problems, you might thrive in a tech support role. Most companies employ tech support workers, and from a specialist role, you could move into a manager or director role overseeing a team. There are a lot of jobs out there for you if you decide tech support is up your alley, as well as the opportunity for promotion and steady pay raises.
Servers, Architecture and Networking
Careers that involve working with servers, network architecture and networking involve duties like supporting network connectivity and equipment, creating protocols for use of network tools, troubleshooting network tools and working to configure network systems to ensure security, stability and performance.
Below are some common job titles in this area of tech:
If you enjoy problem solving and working on teams and have strong attention to detail, you might enjoy a networking job. Positions start at the junior level and allow for promotion to the senior or director level. Career growth typically requires both years of experience in a junior role and advanced training and certification.
Cybersecurity and Analytics
A day in the life of someone who works in cybersecurity or security analytics includes duties like performing security reviews on networks, integrating new safety features into existing technology, designing cybersecurity protocols and using forensic tools to identify security vulnerabilities and threats.
Below are some cybersecurity job titles:
If you have an analytical mind and think it'd be exciting to stop hackers in their tracks, cybersecurity might be a great fit for you. Depending on how much technical prowess a position requires, cybersecurity jobs can pay exceptionally well. Additionally, there are often ample opportunities take on director and manager roles in cybersecurity.
An information technology career in cloud computing involves helping organizations make cloud technology more scalable, reliable and secure. They also identify and solve issues with cloud technology.
Below are some job titles in cloud computing:
- Cloud operations engineer
- Cloud infrastructure specialist
- Cloud support representative
Cloud computing has been steadily revolutionizing the way companies share information and will continue to be a major player in the tech sector. As such, the pool of available cloud computing jobs will continue to grow. The more advanced your knowledge of cloud computing, the more opportunities you'll have for career growth and promotion. Entry-level cloud careers often require Linux/Unix familiarity.
Development and Coding
Developers andcoders use programming languages to create digital products like apps, websites, software, etc. Their jobs differ slightly based on where they work and what products they're creating or improving. They also differ based on the programming languages used.
Below are some common job titles:
- Front-end developer
- Full-stack web developer
- Back-end developer
- Software developer
If you're creative/innovative, you love to learn new things and you like to solve issues using trial and error, a coding career could be an excellent match. The more programming languages you know and experience you have developing a wide variety of digital tools, the more opportunities you'll find for growth in this area.
Database information technology careers involve creating and storing procedures in databases, working in database management systems, troubleshooting database issues, testing database systems and designing and organizing how information is stored in databases.
Below are some job titles:
- Database administrator
- Database engineer
- Database programmer
- Database software specialist
If you think designing databases, troubleshooting and managing digital information in a highly organized way would come naturally to you, you may be perfect for a career in this area of technology. Companies hire database specialists at the junior, senior and director levels, so career growth is a definite possibility.
While front-end developers use code to control how websites function, web designers use code like HTML and CSS to dictate the visual features of websites and apps. Their jobs can also involve the use of graphic design tools like Photoshop.
Below are some web design job titles:
- UI web designer
- Web/graphic designer
- Web development project manager
If aesthetics and creativity matter to you and you want to create beautiful digital products, consider web design. Web designers can build their portfolios and become top players in their field with high earning potential.
Careers in technology that involve project management entail overseeing IT teams and tech projects to achieve business goals. Project managers set the timeline for projects, establish goals for team members and control things like the budget and scope of projects.
Below are some job titles:
- IT project manager
- IT and special systems project manager
- IT project coordinator
If you have natural leadership skills, refined communication abilities and business acumen, project management could be ideal. Project managers must have both technical skills and excellent people skills, and people who have both are highly sought after and rewarded with chances to grow in their IT careers.
IT career growth is always on the horizon for professionals who want it. In all of the popular areas of technology we've mentioned above, and in those that didn't make our list, the more you're willing to learn and improve, the better your chances will be for promotion. A commitment to knowledge and getting better at what you do are the keys to career growth in IT. If that sounds good to you, take our free career quiz to see if IT is a good fit for your next career.