What do people in IT do?
Beyond the traditional perception of IT jobs as writing code, there are many different IT jobs that have different skill sets and responsibilities. A common thread among IT professionals is the desire to solve problems and think creatively. Below is a list of common IT careers, including a brief description of what they do and some required skills.
Programming and Software Development/Web and Digital Communications
Developer (software, web, app, mobile, etc.) – People in these jobs use a variety of programming languages and development tools to create software programs such as websites, mobile apps, video games, or business systems. While developers can work alone, they often work in teams and often work closely with the customer to ensure the software fits what the customer needs.
Skills: logical thinkers, creative problem solver, enjoys building things, likes puzzles
Software Tester/Quality Assurance – Nobody wants to use bad software, so the testers work with users and customers to understand what the system is supposed to do, and then devise tests to check if the system actually does it.
Skills: enjoy breaking things so they can be fixed, good problem solver, creative thinker
Cyber Security – security analysts are like police officers, ensuring that a company’s networks and data are secure from break in and theft. They research, plan, implement, and upgrade security measures to ensure protection of the systems. This may include training of employees on cyber security procedures like good password protocols, and responding to security breaches – often working with local and federal law enforcement agencies if a breach occurs.
Skills: is into detection and monitoring, likes forensic work (think CSI), likes to “out think” the bad guy and prevent cyber crime
Network Administrator – network analysts and administrators are responsible for designing, testing, and evaluating the network which connects a company’s computers to one another and to the internet. They do everything from ensuring the network is secure from attack to making sure data flows between the systems in a timely manner.
Skills: like to work with machines, enjoy working in a secret location, think big, like tough precise challenges, enjoy playing (electronic) traffic cop
Server/Systems/Infrastructure Administrator – People in these jobs are responsible for making sure that a company’s data infrastructure works. Similar to how the Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining and building our highways and roads so cars can flow freely between cities, a Systems Architect must maintain and build networks and servers so data can flow freely within the company. They track server activity and perform upgrades of software and hardware, resolve issues when they arise, and work to improve the efficiency of the overall system.
Skills: likes to work with physical things (servers, memory, drives, etc.), often works in a “secret” location, like a cyber security specialist…is suspicious of change, enjoys researching before acting
Information Support and Services
Business Analyst – Business analysts work directly with many different people in the organization to understand the company’s systems and find out what the problems are and how they can be solved. They help translate the requirements into technical specifications that can be implemented by programmers, and they help customers understand technical possibilities and limitations of different ways to solve the problems.
Skills: inquisitive, detail oriented, strong communicator, able to translate business ideas into technical speak, not necessarily “technical” themselves
Data (database administrator, business intelligence, etc.) – People with these jobs are responsible for organizing a company’s data in a way that can be easily accessed and searched. They manage the databases, working with the cyber security team to ensure the data is protected from theft, and help build queries so business users can run reports and analyze the data.
Skills: likes structure and organization, analytical thinker, inquisitive, VERY detailed
Project Manager – Project managers are in charge of working with key stakeholders, often times in upper management, to make sure projects are delivered on time, in scope, and within budget. This is a job that requires good people skills.
Skills: good at coordinating and managing groups of people, enjoys planning, very organized, works well with various personalities
User Support – User Support staff help business and other IT professionals resolve issues with their software or equipment. The User Support Professional often gains a wide breadth of knowledge about the company’s systems and business processes.
Skills: enjoys solving problems and working with people, likes to teach and help others