As technology evolves at a rapid pace, so does the need for information technology professionals to service computers and technology systems.1
If you enjoy working with computers and have an interest in technology, there’s a variety of career opportunities in the information technology space. There are IT programs online that teach IT skills and provide an online IT degree or certificate. Learn more about how to get into IT and what to expect from the IT job outlook.
What Does a Systems Administrator Do?
One prominent role in IT is that of network and computer systems administrators. According to the BLS, there were 350,300 network and computer systems administrators working in 2020.2 These professionals work for all types of businesses and organizations, wherever there are computer systems in use. Most employers require network and computer systems administrators to have a bachelor’s degree in a field related to computer or information science. Others may require only a postsecondary certificate or an associate’s degree.
A network and computer systems administrator manages the day-to-day operations of computer networks at various organizations. Network and computer systems administrators typically do the following:3
- Determine an organization’s system needs and install network hardware and software
- Make needed upgrades and repairs to networks and ensure that systems are operating correctly
- Maintain network and computer system security
- Evaluate and optimize network or system performance
- Add users to a network, and assign and update security permissions on the network
- Train users in the proper use of hardware and software
- Interpret and solve problems when a user or an automated monitoring system alerts them that a problem exists
Administrators manage an organization’s servers and desktop and mobile equipment. They ensure that email and data storage networks work properly. They also make sure that employees’ workstations are working efficiently and stay connected to the central computer network. Some administrators manage telecommunication networks.
Other Jobs in Information Technology
In addition to network and computer systems administrators, there are many other roles available for professionals starting in IT. Information Technology programs prepare students for how to work in IT roles like the following.
Computer Support Specialist
Because of the wide range of skills used in different computer support jobs, there are many paths into the occupation. A bachelor’s degree is required for some applicants applying to computer support specialist positions, but an associate’s degree or postsecondary classes may be enough for others.
Computer support specialists offer help or recommendations to computer users and businesses. They can either support computer networks or provide technical services directly to their users.4 A computer support specialist job description may also include duties like setting up or repairing computer equipment.
In addition to technology knowledge, computer support specialist skills require great communication and problem-solving skills. Computer user support specialists need to explain technical issues to people who may not be knowledgeable in IT, so support specialists need to be patient and helpful in their explanations.
Computer network support specialists provide support to organizations that need help with their computer networks. They test and evaluate network systems, perform routine maintenance and troubleshoot computer networks and systems to make sure they’re working properly. They also communicate with computer users to explain network issues and provide assistance.