Increasing use of information technology in business has created a number of jobs that pay well and involve good working conditions. While many IT jobs require a bachelor's degree, there are a number of careers that require only an associate degree or even just certifications and work experience. Many employers will also help with costs for the remainder of a full four-year degree, which can qualify you for even more technology careers.
Computer Support Specialist
Computer support specialists, also called help desk technicians, solve users' computer problems. They repair hardware, install software and provide desk-side training when necessary. Computer support specialists must have both good technical skills and good interpersonal skills to make sure to ensure top-level customer support. Some companies do not require an associate degree but most companies prefer at least some computer science or IT courses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median annual salary for a computer support job was $46,260, and growth through 2020 should be about 18 percent.
Computer operators manage the actual computing equipment in the data center. They make sure paper is loaded into printers, mount tapes when necessary and monitor the overall operation of the various systems that run on the machines. Some companies may not even require an associate degree for a computer operator position. According to the BLS, the average salary for computer operators in 2011 was $39,280.
Computer networks connect computers, printers and servers in a company and facilitate the communication that is vital to daily business operations. Network administrators help implement and maintain networks, as well as daily administrative tasks, such as adding and deleting users. They solve network problems that arise and sometimes put network security devices in place to protect the network from intrusion. Most companies require at least an associate degree in computer science or information technology.The median annual salary as of 2010 was $69,160, according to the BLS, and job growth through 2020 is expected to be about 28 percent.
Telecommunications technicians typically install and repair telecommunications equipment, including phone systems and data communications equipment. Many of these jobs are with communications companies, such as Internet service providers and telephone companies. An associate degree in information technology or computer science is the typical minimum education requirement. The BLS reported that the median annual salary for a telecommunications technician in 2010 was $54,710, with job growth expected to be about 15 percent through 2020.
- Robert Half: Glossary of Job Descriptions for Information Technology Professionals
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Computer Support Specialists
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Network and Computer System Administrators
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Computer Operators
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers
- Exforsys: The Role of a Computer Operator
Alan Hughes has more than 30 years of experience in IT including mainframes, programming, client/server, networks, project management, security, disaster recovery, information systems and hardware. He holds a master's degree in applied computer science and several certifications. He currently teaches information technology at the university level.