Career Areas

Find Your Place in Technology

Technology careers show up in a lot of places, and it’s easy to hit on something appealing. Some people like working with hardware and linking different systems, while others are better with software and using technology tools for business. Sort through a variety of careers below and see what stands out.

CompTIA Advantage: In partnership with Robert Half Technologies, CompTIA users can access U.S., UK and Australia salary guides to see going rates in your area or compare potential IT futures around the world.

  • COMPUTER NETWORKING

    Networkers keep business communication flowing. All data, voice and video travels over a complex network that requires intricate planning and setup in addition to regular maintenance and upkeep.

    Related IT Jobs

    • Network Architect assesses business and application requirements for corporate data and voice networks while planning, designing and upgrading network installations. Network architects also maintain backup, version-control and viral defense systems.
    • Network Manager implements new systems and oversees a staff of network technicians to direct the day-to-day operations of the business’ networking system. The network manager reports system performance and compliance to IT management.
    • Network Engineer is responsible for the design, planning, development, implementation, support and analysis of data, voice and video networks. The network engineer works with vendors, clients, carriers and technical staff to maintain a secure transfer of data to multiple locations across internal and external networks.
    • Wireless Network Engineer researches, designs and implements wireless networks, taking all hardware and software requirements into consideration. The wireless network engineer recommends upgrades required to meet the business’s needs.
    • Network Administrator keeps all networks operating while troubleshooting and resolving any performance or connectivity problems. The network administrator coordinates and implements network software and hardware upgrades.

    Stats and Salaries

    Strong growth is predicted for networking, fueled in part by the expansion of technology in the health care industry, though cloud computing could decrease demand for some jobs in this area, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    A networking engineer can expect to earn over $95,000, while a network architect starts at $120,000, according to Robert Half.

  • COMPUTER OPERATIONS

    The operations department runs all aspects of a company’s data center production system and equipment. It involves a lot of coordination and a lot of people playing small roles that make up the bigger picture.

    Related IT Jobs

    • Operations Manager supervises a staff of computer operators and technicians and analyzes system malfunctions or technical problems, resolving issues to ensure uninterrupted operations.
    • Computer Operator runs the mainframe computer equipment and peripherals, performs system backups and corrects equipment problems.
    • Mainframe Systems Programmer designs logic, writes code and tests and debugs mainframe computer applications, and installs upgrades when appropriate.
    • Systems Administrator installs operating system software, patches and upgrades, and troubleshoots system hardware, software and network issues. The systems administrator performs system backups and recovery.
    • Systems Engineer develops, maintains and supports technical infrastructure, hardware and system software components. The systems engineer identifies the cause of any service interruption and creates preventive measures.

    Stats and Salaries

    The operations department runs all aspects of a company’s data center production system and equipment, so these jobs aren’t going out of style. Salaries for the jobs in the operations department start with computer operators at about $35,000 to operations managers, who top out at $96,250.

  • CREATIVE ARTS

    Technology is analytical and scientific, but how it’s used can be considered an art form. For creative types, technology includes work for writers, designers and production artists.

    Related IT Jobs

    • Creative Technologist understands the creative process and is good at prototyping early, facilitating prototype testing and implementing changes. The job can involve web projects, plus mobile and other digital experiences.
    • Graphic Designer develops or acquires images used in a variety of creative projects and oversees the design, layout and formatting of these materials. Successful graphic designers possess a strong sense of concept development plus communication, collaboration, research, problem-solving and presentation skills.
    • Technical Writers communicate complex information to a general audience through manuals, supporting documents, and other types of explanatory text. Increasingly, the job incorporates graphics, sound and video.
    • Visual Designer creates the concepts, artwork and layout for digital projects in web, games, movies, kiosks and wearables. Some use special software and other technologies to warp and blend images so they appear on buildings and natural landscapes.

    Stats and Salaries

    Employment of computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    A graphic designer starts at $52,000 while a multimedia designer makes $61,750 to $91,000, according to Robert Half. A technical writer makes between $55,500 and $87,250.

  • DATA

    The use of smartphones, tablets, apps and social media have flooded companies with data, prompting businesses to hire people who collect, sort, analyze and secure data.

    Related IT Jobs

    • Database Developer implements and tests database design and functionality, ensuring that the storage, retrieval and reporting meet the project specifications.
    • Database Administrator manages, monitors and maintains the company’s databases, making changes, updates and modifications.
    • Data Architect translates business requirements into data design models, database architecture and data repository design. A Data Modeler, on the other hand, analyzes the company’s data requirements and creates logical and physical models of data flow.
    • Data Warehouse Analyst collects, analyzes and leverages data, then researches and recommends technology solutions related to storage, reporting and importing. A data warehouse manager, on the other hand, designs, develops and maintains the data warehouse and data mart systems.

    Stats and Salaries

    Job growth through 2024 is predicted at 11 percent, driven by the increased data needs of companies, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    An entry-level position into the database administration department as a data analyst has a starting salary in 2016 at $74,500. At the high end, the salary for a data warehouse manager can exceed $170,000.

  • DEVELOPMENT

    Developers often choose a specialty, like software, applications or websites, and work with a team to design, coordinate and oversee development of products from coding and testing to marketing. Developers work with analysts, engineers and quality assurance testers.

    Related IT Jobs

    • Architect designs major aspects of the architecture of an application, including components such as user interface, middleware and infrastructure; provides technical leadership to the applications development team; performs design and code reviews.
    • Software Developer codes, tests and debugs programs according to computer engineering specifications. The developer/programmer analyst recommends system changes and enhancements, documents software specifications and trains users.
    • Web Developer develops specifications for web-based applications based on business requirements and integrates websites with backend systems such as databases. The web developer provides technical assistance to the web administrators.

    Stats and Salaries

    This increase is fueled by the growing demand for computer software and mobile applications. Although outsourcing is always a threat to domestic job opportunities, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says offshoring for this occupation is expected to be limited since software developers should be close to their customers. The top paying industry for web developers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is software publishing, followed closely by the banking industry.

    Entry-level software developers earn over $80,000 a year, while the top salary a product manager can expect is $136,000, according to Robert Half.

  • E-COMMERCE

    As companies embrace online and e-commerce platforms, they need people to manage logistics plus design and maintain a company’s website.

    Related IT Jobs

    • E-Commerce Analyst examines business and user requirements and makes recommendations regarding the design and development of web-based, e-commerce solutions. The role can also include coordinating the work of web designers and other technical specialists to implement the e-commerce site.
    • Electronic Data Interchange Specialist is the liaison to internal users, vendors and external partners with respect to data interchange standards. The EDI specialist implements and monitors mapping, translation and interface of the systems, while testing and performing testing and quality control check.
    • Portal Administrator makes sure shoppers have access to the e-commerce portal, and also deploys and manages the applications of the system.

    Stats and Salaries

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, online purchasing is expected to grow faster than the overall retail industry, which favors job growth in the internet/e-commerce department.

    An e-commerce analyst starts with an annual salary of $88,000, and an electronic data interchange specialist makes from $77,750 to $106,750, according to Robert Half. Portal administrators start out at $94,000.

  • HEALTH CARE

    Hospitals have expanded the use of technology from treatment and diagnostic testing to compliance with the electronic medical health mandates and improved communication and video conferencing between doctors and patients. Health care groups continue to add smartphones and tablets, cloud computing, patient portals and telemedicine to their practices.

    Related IT Jobs

    • Clinical Applications Analyst connects everything that happens between patients, clinicians and doctors. They help to design, implement, maintain and train people on clinical and business systems.
    • Chief Medical Information Officer oversees the design, implementation and use of technology within a health care organization.
    • Clinical Informatics Specialist looks at how health care businesses use data and information. In this important role, they help hospitals sort through and digest an enormous amount of data.

    Stats and Salaries

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 15 percent rate of growth in employment opportunities for medical records and health information technicians from 2014 to 2024. The growth is thanks to an aging population, an increase in testing and procedures, more insurance claims, and the widespread use of electronic health records.

    Health care analysts and information specialists make between $71,000 and $89,000, according to Robert Half.

  • HELP DESK AND TECHNICAL SUPPORT

    The technical services, help desk and technical support department gets the call when computers go down and connectivity is lost. This group is divided by varying levels of support and includes people responsible for updating software and the operating system.

    Related IT Jobs

    • Help Desk (Tiers 1, 2 and 3) provides technical assistance and support to the end-user. Tier 1 takes the initial call, troubleshoots and manages the problem or escalates the call. Tier 2 solves more complex issues or generates a work order ticket when the issue requires a visit to the workstation. Tier 3 resolves the most difficult and complex problems.
    • PC Technician installs and configures application and operating system software and upgrades, and maintains desktop and laptop PCs and peripherals. The PC technician troubleshoots and repairs hardware and network connectivity issues.
    • Desktop Support Analyst inventories installed software and manages software licensing and recommends hardware and software standardization. This job also means working with vendors to ensure timely delivery and installation of new equipment.
    • Business Continuity Analyst designs, plans and implements a company-wide business continuity plan so that a business can resume normal operations as soon as possible following a crisis.

    Stats and Salaries

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, growth in this department will be highest at companies that utilize cloud-computing technology. Recent trends show jobs moving to lower-cost regions in the United States and overseas.

    Entry-level positions in the help desk or as a PC Technician begin at $32,000 a year, where a systems administrator starts above $62,000. The manager of this department could make up to $109,000 a year, and the business continuity analyst could earn up to $125,000.

  • HOSPITALITY

      Hospitality relies on personalized and direct contact with customers, and technology helps in an industry that thrives on customized care and availability. This industry is heavily influenced by trends of mobility, social media and cloud computing.

      Related IT Jobs

      • Business System Analyst blends leadership and communications skills with advanced computer experience, including programming. The business systems analyst consults with both business managers and end-users to define needs and, if appropriate, recommends automated systems to solve complex business problems.
      • Hospitality Telecommunications Technician installs, configures and maintains all the digital equipment necessary to keep customers happy. The job can involve trouble shooting, problem solving and maintaining records of success.
      • Systems Administrator installs operating system software, patches and upgrades, and troubleshoots system hardware, software and network issues. The systems administrator performs system backups and recovery.

      Stats and Salaries

      The hospitality industry has the second fastest job growth rate, right behind health care. From 2004 to 2014, the industry recorded a 17 percent employment increase. Mobile technology, big data and security will continue to be major drivers for IT hiring throughout 2016, according to Robert Half.

      A telecommunications technician’s salary starts around $53,000, and a technical service manager can earn $84,500 to $121,000 each year.

  • MANAGEMENT

      Jobs that fall under IT administration look after the overall IT functions and strategies of a company. Administration positions are executive-level and require broad IT knowledge in addition to a strong business sense. People in these roles are tasked with devising strategies and policies to ensure their organizations meet their goals.

      Related IT Jobs

      • Chief Information Officer provides vision and leadership in all aspects of IT while working closely with senior management.
      • Chief Technology Officer has in-depth knowledge of all aspects of the firm’s data technology infrastructure and sets the technology standards and practices. The CTO manages a staff of direct reports in areas such as systems operations, LAN/WAN architecture and hardware and software support.
      • Information Technology Manager has a technical background and people management skills. The IT manager delegates projects and manages performance while implementing and monitoring new technology related projects.

      Stats and Salaries

      These high-paying and prestigious positions attract many applicants. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics forecasts a 15 percent increase in top executive-level positions through 2024 as firms increasingly expand their business to digital platforms.

      An entry-level position into the IT administration area is an IT manager, with a 2016 entry-level salary beginning at $101,750, according to Robert Half. At the high-end, a top-ranking CIO’s salary can exceed $265,000 a year.

  • MANUFACTURING

      In manufacturing, technology pros maintain the network on the plant floor and in the office, which means plenty of work: joining manufacturing equipment to the network, securing file transfers, designing with computer-aided software and handling security on the plant’s computer network. Because manufacturing corporations often have very sensitive data, the industry is subject to much data regulation.

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      • Industrial Designer combines art, business and engineering to create cars, home appliances and toys. They must consider the function, aesthetics, production costs and usability of products they design.
      • Mechanical Engineering Technician uses sketches, data, calculations and estimates to help design, develop, test and manufacture things like tools, engines and machines.
      • Quality Assurance Analyst works in either manual or automated processes to examine and test products for defects or deviations from specifications.

      Stats and Salaries

      Thanks to innovations like 3-D printing, prototyping and small engineering businesses are thriving. Because so much work is hands-on, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts these jobs will remain local. Employment of mechanical engineering technicians is projected to grow 2 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. Nevertheless, there should be opportunities for those who can master new software and technology, as well as traditional manual skills.

      An industrial designer’s median pay is $67,130 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, while mechanical engineers jump to $83,590. A quality assurance analyst starts out at $65,000 per year, according to Robert Half.

  • MARKETING

      Small changes in marketing that utilize technology can have powerful effects when they’re done strategically. Areas of specialty include social media and data analytics, strategic marketing planning, online, internal and external event management and interactive and digital marketing.

      Related IT Jobs

      • Customer Experience Designer creates satisfying or compelling experiences for users of a product, but is more focused on reshaping the customer experience to maximize conversions.
      • Marketing Automation Manager administers marketing campaigns, tests and analyzes workflow, lead generation, lead nurturing and lead scoring, and identifies tactics for improvement.
      • Digital Strategist develops user experience plans, including information design, online content strategy and lead generation tactics for web, mobile, email, social and digital advertising media.

      Stats and Salaries

      Marketing is a very demanding, deadline-driven industry. Combined with the pace of technology, it can be extremely daunting. A healthy work-life balance is hard to achieve. Make it a habit to take lunch hours, breaks and vacations or risk becoming consumed and unproductive.

      An entry-level customer experience designer can earn $49,000 to $75,000, while a creative director can cap out at $188,750 annually.

  • SECURITY

      The security department protects information and information systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification or destruction. As data use increases, companies are increasingly interested in confidentiality, integrity of the system and appropriate access.

      Related IT Jobs

      • Chief Security Officer assumes responsibility for creating and maintaining complex security systems, ensuring the firm meets all mandated security and compliance standards.
      • Data Security Analyst performs security audits and risk assessments and recommends enhancements. The data security analyst researches attempted security breaches and rectifies security weaknesses.
      • Systems Security Administrator monitors the system, detects intrusions and responds to incidents. The systems security administrator ensures the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive data.
      • Information Systems Security Manager reviews and implements security policies and procedures across the company, ensuring fulfillment of legal and contractual information security and privacy mandates and providing executive management with compliance reports and audit findings.
      • Network Security Engineer identifies areas of security concerns and develops actions plans to strengthen the network. The network security administrator documents the network configurations and processes and plans upgrades as necessary.

      Stats and Salaries

      Job growth in security expected to be much faster than other occupations through 2024. Cyber attacks have grown in frequency and sophistication, and many organizations have security protocols that are outdated. These jobs are plentiful in finance and insurance, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The job may require being on call in the event of a hack.

      A network security engineer starts out around $110,000 and an information security manager can make $129,000 to $182,000.

  • SYSTEMS INTEGRATION

      Some jobs in technology require bringing different groups together and coordinate their work. Systems integration specializes in getting a lot of small parts to function as a whole. There is a substantial amount of diagnostic and troubleshooting tasks in this area.

      Related IT Jobs

      • Technology Director establishes and maintains the relationship between with the practice’s clients, develops the practice’s overall strategy and goals and manages the consulting staff.
      • IT Auditor tests and evaluates IT systems and controls for conformity with industry standards of efficiency, accuracy and security and verifies compliance. The IT auditor recommends operations and process improvements where necessary.
      • Product Manager coordinates work with software engineers and developers to define the product requirements, then works with sales and marketing to identify the customer’s needs, market potential, competitive analysis and the marketing strategy.
      • Project Manager coordinates projects from planning through implementation and communicates through presentations, budgets, timelines and goals. Monitoring and reporting on progress is also part of the job.

      Stats and Salaries

      Employment of computer and information systems managers is projected to grow 15 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for computer and information systems managers will grow as firms increasingly expand their business to digital platforms.

      Salaries in this department range from $87,500 to $172,500 for auditors and $122,750 to $185,000 for directors, according to Robert Half.

  • TECHNICAL SALES

      Technical salespeople are highly coveted because they must successfully explain complex technical concepts to customers who typically focus on a different — often less technical — part of the business. A technical salesperson can design a solution, frequently in conjunction with a sales engineer or solution architect.

      Related IT Jobs

      • Technical Sales Engineer successfully communicates between a variety of departments and must work with people in sales, product engineering, manufacturing, and customer service.
      • POS Support Technician is responsible for supporting the development, implementation and management of new changes to the POS platforms and peripherals

      Stats and Salaries

      As the industry continues to offer switches, routers, wireless, servers, desktop, telephones, mobile applications, cloud computing and storage, technology sales professional will remain in demand, according to Robert Half.

      Salaries are often based on sales, which means vacations and big bonuses but no reliable paycheck. The average starting salary for a technical sales engineer in the United States is expected to increase 5.4 percent in 2016. Average starting compensation for technical sales people ranges from $90,750 to $132,750.

  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS

      A variety of entry-level telecom jobs are available, and you can choose between programming, troubleshooting, design and working with customers. The flexibility in this area lets people design and implement solutions.

      Related IT Jobs

      • Telecommunications Manager handles the department’s budget, evaluates equipment vendors, coordinates equipment installation and recommends improvements.
      • Telecommunications Specialist installs, configures and maintains the voice, data and video equipment — including cabling and circuits — and maintains systems logs and records.

      Stats and Salaries

      Telecom is a thriving industry with a bright outlook. Infonetics Research reports cloud computing — a major factor in telecom — is growing 28 percent year-over-year.

      A telecommunications specialist starts out with an annual salary of $61,000, and a telecommunications manager can make up to $125,000.