Careers in this cluster
Cluster definitionDo you enjoy working with computers?
Have you created your own webpage?
Is mathematics a favorite subject?
Are you organized and able to focus on details?
Do you learn new computer programs quickly?
If you answered yes to two or more of the questions above, you might be interested in considering a career in information technology.
Information Technology (IT) is an area that is growing and always changing with new developments. In IT, you would be part of a cluster that continues to make an impact on society and individuals. You would have the opportunity to work in all types and sizes of businesses from Microsoft to your local hospital.
Employees in Information Technology work with computer hardware, software, multimedia, and network systems. In this cluster, you might design new computer equipment or computer games. Or you might make sure that the software or networks are working. In addition, you might have to make sure that people know how to use them. Or you might manage whole networks that link workers in all parts of the world.
Information support and services
In the Information Support and Services pathway, you would set up computers, install the software, and make sure that everything is working. If there is a problem, you would find the best solution and test it. You may also be expected to teach other employees how to use the software. In some businesses, you may have to make adaptations in the software to meet specific company needs. Or you may integrate software programs or databases.
Computer User Support Specialists
The work done by the employees in the Network Systems pathway is critical to the success of almost every company. You would be involved in designing, installing, and maintaining network systems. These systems allow workers to share information and projects. For example, in a medical facility, a network system would allow several doctors to view a patient's x-rays at the same time. They then could work together to determine the problem and best treatment.
Programming and software development
In the Programming and Software Development pathway, you would design and test new software programs. You would be developing tomorrow's products for businesses and individuals. You could be employed by large software companies or small businesses that design programs for special groups such as medical offices. To work in this area, you have to know about operating systems and programming languages.
Web and digital communications
People in the Web and Digital Communications pathway create, design, and produce interactive multimedia products.
Level of education and earnings
The training and education requirements to work in the occupations included in the Information Technology cluster depend on the specialty and the type of work performed. Some occupations require on-the-job training; however, some need at least a bachelors degree. People who work in information technology are expected to update their skills and knowledge regularly.
The information provided in the table below, presents the level of education or training required to work in the occupations related to this cluster and the median wages for those occupations. Note that some occupations may have more than one required level because the type of work performed may vary in specific jobs.
Also, keep in mind that there are non-wage benefits that workers receive. For example, these types of benefits are health insurance, paid vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans. It is important to consider these benefits when you are looking at pay. Some benefits, such as health care, are worth a lot of money. You should carefully weigh a job that pays well but does not have many benefits against one that has good benefits and lower pay. Remember, how much an occupation pays is only one factor to consider when making career choices.
|Postsecondary Vocational Training (Certificate or Diploma)|
|Computer User Support Specialists||$50,980||$56,650|
|Computer Network Support Specialists||$62,770||$74,380|
|Computer Engineers||$103,620 - $114,600||$120,540 - $128,200|
|Computer Systems Administrators||$82,050||$89,430|
|Computer Systems Analysts||$88,740||$93,850|
|Information Security Analysts||$98,350||$105,080|
|Work Experience Plus a Bachelor's or Higher Degree|
|Computer Network Architects||$109,020||$99,410|
Employment & outlook
There will be many opportunities for employment in the Information Technology cluster in the future. Employees in this cluster will be expected to have a high level of skills and to keep up with changes in technology. More companies are relying on information technology. Computers and related hardware are getting cheaper and faster and more advanced. Electronic commerce is becoming more common. In addition, there is a greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data, more everyday items are becoming connected to the Internet, and there is continued demand for mobile computing. All this increases the need for employees with expertise in information technology.