Check out these top IT careers
Advancements in technology and a growing interest in big data, cybersecurity, cloud technology, and more make information technology (IT) a great field to explore for your career. When you have a talent and passion for working with technology, this field offers plenty of career paths to consider. Your particular interests and skills can help you determine which IT career path is right for you. Learning more about different types of information technology jobs, including the best IT careers, can give you a better idea of what is available.
Is Information Technology a Good Career?
In addition to being an exciting and challenging career field, information technology offers a number of perks—being in a growing field on the vanguard of developing new technologies, professional development opportunities, high-earning positions. The IT field is constantly changing and adapting as technology improves and advancements are made. Being part of this growth offers opportunities to learn new skills and concepts or work on advancing your IT career. In fact, staying on top of the latest tech trends is essential for this kind of career. When you work in the information technology field, you can also expect solid job growth as demand for these types of jobs increases.
What Career Paths Are in Information Technology?
The IT field includes a wide range of technology jobs. Data management, cybersecurity, software development, IT infrastructure: you’ll find many careers available that fit the bill. Following are some of the top IT careers. Keep in mind that salary information for these jobs is estimated and can vary considerably based on factors like experience, education, and location.
1. Technology Product Manager
Technology product managers play a crucial role in the development of technological products. These product managers oversee the entire development process from start to finish, working both with technical professionals and nontechnical experts, translating requirements into end products. Skills needed for this type of IT job include knowledge and experience with management tools, an understanding of consumer or user needs, and analytical skills. These managers also need to be familiar with the lifecycle of products, including design, manufacturing, and sales. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean salary of Computer and Information Systems Managers was $159,010 in 2021, with a 16 percent predicted growth rate.
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Engineer
AI engineers are responsible for developing and programming algorithms that can learn and analyze data, much like a human brain. These engineers need to have several technical skills, including programming, software development, and data science. Their typical roles and responsibilities can involve building AI models, creating the AI development process, performing statistical analyses, and handling other tasks related to the development of AI algorithms. BLS includes AI engineers in the Computer and Information Research Scientist category. These engineers have an average salary of $131,490 per year and a 21 percent predicted growth rate through 2031, which is much higher than the average job outlook.
3. Blockchain Engineer
Blockchain engineers or developers create code for applications that use blockchain for different (data or financial) processes, such as cryptocurrency. These engineers develop blockchain technology that allows businesses to share information securely on a public network. Blockchain engineers need to have the technical skills to create web-based solutions and programs. BLS places these engineers in the Software Developers category, which has a median salary of $109,020 per year and a job growth rate of 25 percent through 2031. Here in Minnesota, software developers have a high number of projected new jobs through 2030. According to the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development's March 2022 outlook, this number is around 7,700 new jobs.
4. Systems Engineer
Systems engineers are responsible for managing and monitoring a company’s systems and infrastructure. These engineers test systems to identify potential problems and create solutions. Their job duties also include keeping systems and infrastructure safe and fully backed up. Experienced Systems Engineers may collaborate with internal business users to help define technical requirements and work with outside vendors to procure hardware, software and professional services. These engineers also assist with designing operational support systems and information systems. According to the BLS, the average base salary of systems engineers is $159,010 per year, and the demand for systems engineers should continue to grow.
5. Information Systems Security Manager
Information systems security managers create and implement policies and procedures aimed at keeping computer networks and systems safe. These IT professionals choose new security software when needed, such as data encryption, and investigate security breaches that occur. According to the BLS, the average base salary for information systems security managers is $102,600 per year.
6. Cloud Architect
Cloud architects are responsible for managing and developing the cloud computing strategy for a company or organization. These IT professionals should have experience with programming languages such as Java and Python to name a few, as well as knowledge of cybersecurity and networking. Having a background in IT engineering is also helpful. BLS includes cloud architects in the Computer Network Architect category. The average salary for these architects is $120,520 per year.
7. Big Data Engineer
Big data engineers have the challenging responsibility of designing, building, and maintaining massive and complex data processing systems, such as e-commerce transactions or mobile device engagements. These engineers are also expected to evaluate and make improvements to data pipelines as needed. Big data engineers build and maintain the data pipelines that data scientists and other professionals use for collecting data. According to Salary.com, the salary range for lead big data engineers begins at $152,710 per year. The growing interest in big data ensures a need for big data engineers, giving this career path a healthy outlook.
8. Data Architect
Data architects evaluate the internal and external data sources for companies and organizations and create data management systems. These architects design and build new systems to manage data as needed, maintain and modify current systems, and ensure that data management systems operate without error. They also integrate existing data management systems when necessary. According to the BLS, data architects have an average annual salary of $101,000, as well as a job growth rate of nine percent through 2031.
9. Database Manager
Database managers maintain database system functionality for companies or organizations. These managers are responsible for designing and implementing new database systems, updating existing systems as needed, troubleshooting database problems, and configuring hardware. According to the BLS, the average salary for database managers is $101,000 per year. The job growth for these managers through 2031 is expected to be nine percent.
10. Data Security Analyst
Data security analysts are responsible for protecting a company’s or organization’s computer systems and networks. This involves planning and implementing security measures to keep data safe from security breaches and other attacks. Data security analysts monitor networks and systems for breaches, use firewalls and other measures to prevent them from occurring, and develop security standards for companies or organizations. According to the BLS, the average annual salary for these analysts is $102,600 per year. At 35 percent, the projected job outlook for this field through 2031 is much higher than average.
11. Data Scientist
Data scientists are experts in analyzing structured and unstructured data and presenting results to others. These scientists often work in corporate settings across nearly all industries and are responsible for gathering information from several sources, such as social media feeds, sales databases and smart devices. These IT professionals should have in-depth knowledge of computer science, math, and statistics in order to effectively analyze data and come up with solutions to identified problems. The mean annual wage for data scientists is $108,660 per year, according to the BLS.
12. Network/Cloud Engineer
Cloud network engineers specialize in cloud computing. These engineers are responsible for migrating networks and functions to cloud infrastructures, including private and public infrastructures. Some of the tasks these engineers handle include designing and implementing cloud solutions for clients, finding cloud providers, making sure cloud networks meet user demands, and troubleshooting problems that occur with cloud networks. The BLS places network engineers in the Network and Computer Systems Administrators category, which has an average annual salary of $80,600 per year.
13. DevOps Engineer
DevOps engineers work with IT operations and software development as part of their job. These engineers oversee development teams that handle scripting, coding, and other related tasks. DevOps engineers design deployment infrastructure and update it as needed. Important skills for these engineers include coding, scripting, best practices for DevOps, and knowledge of UNIX or Linux system administration. The BLS includes DevOps engineers in the Software Developers category with a job outlook of 25 percent through 2010 and an average salary of $109,020 per year.
14. Full-Stack Developer
Full-stack developers handle the front end of web or mobile applications, as well as the back end development comprising the server, database, and any API applications. These developers need to have extensive knowledge of servers, computer systems, databases, and more. Full-stack developers also need to be able to develop different types of stacks, such as mobile stacks or native application stacks. Typical responsibilities include converting web design elements into executable code, using different programming languages to develop web applications or websites, and working with designers. According to Indeed, full-stack developers have an average base salary of $103,373 per year. Demand for full-stack developers is expected to keep growing.
15. Senior Web Developer
Senior web developers are responsible for designing, building, and maintaining websites, along with other types of online applications. These developers typically create and test software for websites and online applications and modify it or fix bugs as needed. They need to have knowledge of different programming languages, such as Java and CSS. Senior web developers often work with other IT professionals, such as website designers. According to BLS, web developers have an average annual salary of $78,300 per year. The job outlook for these developers comes in at 23 percent through 2031.
16. Software Engineer
Software engineers are responsible for creating software systems and programs for applications and computers. Also known as software developers, these IT professionals design and maintain software systems, test new programs, optimize software as needed, and write and test code. BLS includes software engineers in the Software Developers category, which has an average annual salary of $109,020 per year and a high growth rate of 25 percent through 2031.
17. Mobile Applications Developer
Mobile applications developers design and create software used for mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones. These developers need programming skills and knowledge in order to write mobile app programs. They’re also responsible for testing applications and fixing bugs or making other changes to them for improved functionality. The BLS places mobile applications developers in the Software Developers category. These developers have an average annual salary of $109,020 per year, as well as a job outlook of 25 percent through 2031.
18. Software Architect
Software architects are part designer and part project manager. These IT professionals design software that helps solve issues or problems that businesses or customers face. Being a software architect involves having a strong combination of technical and business skills, including software knowledge, coding, communication, problem-solving, analytical skills, and more. Software architects need to be able to identify problems and design effective technological solutions. BLS estimates that the average base salary for software architects is $109,020 per year. These architects are in high demand, which is expected to continue in the coming years.
How to Get a Job in IT
As IT is a competitive field, it’s important to boost your chance of getting a job. You can do this with a bachelor’s degree in information technology or similar field, or through professional development certificates or boot camps in fields from Agile and business analysis to cybersecurity and web development.
If you’re ready to get started on earning a degree for an IT career, contact the University of Minnesota College of Continuing and Professional Studies. Our bachelor’s in IT infrastructure degree can provide you with a quality education, so you can develop the skills you’ll need for a successful IT career. We also offer professional development programs in technology, including an Agile, Agile Scrum, or cybersecurity certificate, digital marketing certificate, or UX/UI certificate.
NOTE: Sources reference November 2022.
- The 11 Most In-Demand Tech Jobs for 2022 (ITResourcesCorp)
- Computer and Information Research Scientists (BLS Occupational Handbook)
- Computer and Information Systems Managers (BLS Occupational Handbook)
- Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers (BLS Occupational Handbook)
- Information Systems Security Manager (Glassdoor)
- Computer Network Architects (BLS Occupational Handbook)
- Lead Big Data Engineer Salary in the United States (Salary.com)
- Database Administrators and Architects (BLS Occupational Handbook)
- Information Security Analysts (BLS Occupational Handbook)
- Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (BLS)
- Cloud Network Engineer (FieldEngineer.com)
- Network and Computer Systems Administrators (BLS Occupational Handbook)
- Full Stack Developer Salaries (Indeed)
- Becoming a Software Architect: Job Description, Salary, and Skills (Flexjobs.com)
- Average Software Architect Salary (Payscale.com)