Remember when you used to play games on the computer? After a while, your mom yells from the other room that spending time on that computer won’t get you anywhere? Well, tough luck mom, because IT is one of the most in-demand jobs right now. IT is everywhere.
While we are some time away from a fully digital workforce, there’s more to IT than meets the eye. Information technology encompasses anything that involves computers, networks, software, intranets, websites, servers, telecommunications, and databases. In this information age, it’s the new norm that modern businesses are dependent on information systems. Not just the big boys, small, independent businesses also need an order-tracking system/online payment channels.
What does the IT crowd do?
- They work behind the scenes to ensure databases and networks run smoothly.
- They help design information systems specifically for an organization’s needs.
- Help develop software and hardware for more secure, reliable and powerful systems.
- They work on front end design, making sure information is presented to users in a clear, dynamic and useful manner.
What does this mean for the job-hunting graduate?
The IT industry is home to many different job titles. This can make it somewhat difficult to decipher what the jobs actually entail. A handy tip to remember is to always read through job descriptions carefully before applying. Take note of the key skills required and ask questions about what an average day at work entails. This will help you make sure you find the right employer and the right fit for your skill set.
What does a software engineer do?
Similar job titles: Systems engineer/programmer, application programmer, software architect.
Key skills list: Analysis, logical thinking, attention to detail, teamwork.
What you’ll be doing: Programming and designing system-level software. This covers database systems, operating systems, and embedded systems among others. You’ll need a computing, software engineering or related degree to qualify.
What does a systems analyst do?
Similar job titles: Systems engineer, systems solutions specialist, technical designer, product specialist.
Key skills list: Excellent communication, persuasive, sensitive, able to extract and analyze information and come up with solutions.
What you’ll be doing: Investigating and analyzing business problems, designing systems as a solution. It requires a mix of technical and business knowledge. This is a role analyst programmers will move into gaining a few years worth of working experience after graduating.
What does a business analyst do?
Similar job titles: Information specialist, business architect.
Key skills list: presentation, project management, problem-solving, communication, facilitation.
What you’ll be doing: This role puts you right smack in the middle of business and information technology. As a business analyst, you look into areas of improvement for processes and other business operations using IT. You’ll be analyzing customer’s needs, gathering and documenting the requirements for a project plan and designing a technology-based solution.
What does a network engineer do?
Similar job titles: Network designer, hardware engineer
Key skills list: Communication, specialist network knowledge, strong analytical skills, planning and problem-solving capabilities.
What you’ll be doing: This one’s technically demanding, as far as IT jobs go. It involves setting up, administering, maintaining and upgrading hardware, software or communication systems, local area networks and wide area networks for a company. You will also be responsible for data storage, disaster recovery strategies, and security. To get into this line of work, you will need a computer-science-related degree.
What does an IT consultant do?
Similar job titles: Technical consultant, application specialist, information specialist.
Key skills list: Technical and business understanding, project management, teamwork, presentation, and communication
What you’ll be doing: In addition to providing your technical expertise, you will be developing and implementing IT systems for external clients. Your work could include designing a system, managing part of a project, developing code or providing after sales support. To do this, a technical degree is preferred.
What does a project manager do?
Similar job titles: Project lead, product planner
Key skills list: Organization, clear thinking, communication, problem-solving, ability to stay calm in high-pressure situations.
What you’ll be doing: Managing! This includes managing the team, time and resources to make sure your projects are running on time and within budget. You’ll need experience and a solid tech foundation as well as soft skills. You’ll be the go-between for the business managers and the tech development team.
What does a software tester do?
Similar job titles: Test analyst, software quality assurance tester, software test engineer, QA analyst.
Key skills list: Attention to detail, creativity, organization, analytical and investigative thinking, communication
What you’ll be doing: Making sure there aren’t any bugs. As a tester, you will be trying to anticipate all the ways a system or an application may be used, its vulnerabilities and how it could not work. You’ll need a good understanding of coding to do this.
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