Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Careers in Information Technology Services [Third Installment]

As we discovered in the previous two series installments, employment in IT services are projected to grow rapidly over the next decade, outpacing similar professional, scientific, and technical industries and the economy as a whole.

Today’s The Daily Leap post, which is the final installment in this well-received series, describes how individuals typically prepare for a career in IT services.

Preparation for IT Careers

So how can someone get started in an IT career? There are many paths. Having both general and specific skills is helpful. But for many jobs, formal training is essential.


A general foundation, such as ease with computers and a curiosity about how they work, is important for working in IT. And several specific skills may be helpful for a variety of IT occupations, especially for those that are expected to remain in demand.

  • Business aptitude. High school classes in mathematics are helpful for establishing a strong foundation for IT training and for business-related subjects ranging from accounting to finance.
  • Wireless networking proficiency. Workers in this area need to be detail oriented to effectively design, install, and maintain wireless networks and systems.
  • Information security knowledge. Specialized training prepares IT workers to gain expertise in these issues.


A bachelor’s degree is the usual minimum qualification for many IT jobs. Those who do the most complex tasks may need a master’s degree.

The most applicable degrees for IT jobs are those in computer science, computer engineering, software engineering, or information systems. But many other types of degrees can lead to a career in information technology, including management, electrical and computer engineering, mathematics, and arts and humanities.

Not all IT workers need a bachelor’s degree, however. One example is computer support specialists. Jobs in this occupation may be open to applicants who have a high school diploma, some college, or an associate degree.


Certification programs usually require candidates to take a test or a series of tests; a passing score represents to employers an IT applicant’s or worker’s knowledge and skills. Some programs allow candidates to study on their own for these tests, and others offer test-preparation courses.

IT product vendors generally offer certification in the computer software or hardware they produce. Some vendors require certification for people who work with their products. Professional organizations offer voluntary certification programs in a broad range of subjects, such as wireless networking and information security.

Before entering such programs or paying any fees, workers should research the program to determine its reputation within the IT community.

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