Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations.
Information technology (IT) careers are growing quickly and offer above-average salaries. IT professionals play an integral role in their organizations’ digital infrastructure. They handle data storage and ensure their organizations’ technology works efficiently.
Whether you’re interested in cybersecurity, software development and testing or another IT career path, keep reading to learn about information technology careers.
Types of Information Technology Degrees
A degree in information technology is often the first step to landing a career in the field. Online bootcamps and certificate programs offer an alternative to traditional degrees. Many institutions offer IT programs, conferring degrees from the associate to doctoral level. IT students can study online in self-paced degree programs or in person at college campuses.
Information Technology Bootcamps
Many online bootcamps and platforms offer courses in information technology subjects. Offerings and costs vary among programs, which may be free or charge learners thousands of dollars in tuition.
Many bootcamps are online and self-paced. However, these programs are rarely accredited, so it’s important to do your research to make sure you’re investing in a reputable bootcamp.
Check out our articles on two online IT bootcamp providers, Galvanize and Udacity, to learn about their offerings and pricing.
Associate in Information Technology
Colleges and universities offer associate degrees in information technology, some of which are available completely online. Most associate degrees require 60 credits and take two years of full-time study to complete.
While each program is different, students in information technology associate programs often learn about cybersecurity, the fundamentals of programming, network connectivity and front-end user interface within the context of business.
Bachelor’s in Information Technology
Many careers in information technology require candidates to hold at least a bachelor’s degree. This degree prepares aspiring IT professionals through challenging coursework in subjects like IT project management and enterprise data management. Some bachelor’s programs even require capstone projects to showcase learners’ knowledge and skills.
Master’s in Information Technology
A master’s degree in information technology is not required for many jobs in the IT field. Even so, earning one may lead to higher earning potential and make you a more marketable job applicant. Information technology graduate programs challenge and grow your skills through courses like advanced cyberattack, cloud infrastructure and database management.
Careers Paths in Information Technology
After gaining critical IT knowledge and skills, whether through a degree or an online bootcamp, finding a career path that suits your interests is the next step. Career paths in information technology include network administrator, information security analyst and security engineer.
Many careers in information technology are expected to see strong growth in the coming years, with some jobs projected to grow as much as 22% from 2020 to 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Median Annual Salary: $77,200
Job Growth: +13%
Education Needed: High school diploma; bachelor’s degree in computer science, programming, web design, digital design or graphic arts often preferred
Web developers create and maintain websites that meet their clients’ needs. These professionals manage the technical aspects of websites, which include performance and capacity. They also help design websites’ look and function. Depending on the role, a web developer may be responsible for the entire site as a full-stack developer, the site’s outward appearance as a front-end developer, or the site’s inward construction as a back-end developer.
Average Annual Salary: Over $62,000
Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree in information technology, computer science, statistics, mathematics or a related field
Career Overview: Data analysts gather, organize, analyze and transform raw data into meaningful information. Data analysts often turn data into visually comprehensible reports or presentations for organizations. Data analysts typically hold junior roles and work within teams. This position can allow professionals to gain experience in the field before moving into more senior roles.
Median Annual Salary: $80,600
Job Growth: +5%
Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology
Career Overview: Network administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operations of their organizations’ data communication networks. These professionals organize, install and support computer systems and data communications networks such as local area networks, wide area networks and intranets. Network administrators make sure their organizations’ servers and mobile equipment are updated and working efficiently.
Computer Systems Analyst
Median Annual Salary: $99,270
Job Growth: +7%
Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree in information technology, computer science, mathematics or a related field
Career Overview: Computer systems analysts study organizations’ computer systems to make necessary improvements. Their duties include researching technologies that may increase efficiency, running cost-benefit analyses of potential upgrades and overseeing the installation and testing of new systems. Analysts may also use data modeling to design systems or focus on the coding and debugging of applications.
Information Security Engineer
Median Annual Salary: $102,600
Job Growth: +33%
Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree in information technology, computer science, or a related field such as mathematics or engineering
Career Overview: Information security engineers protect their organizations’ network and computer systems. Their responsibilities include planning, testing, implementing and evaluating security measures. These engineers manage firewalls and data encryption programs to protect data, check for vulnerabilities in the current system and support the development of a disaster recovery plan. They also prepare reports about cybersecurity metrics, attempted attacks and breaches that are shared with management or senior staff.
Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers
Median Annual Salary: $110,140
Job Growth: +22%
Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree in information technology, computer science, or a related field like mathematics or engineering
Career Overview: Software developers, quality assurance analysts and testers are all involved in creating and revising effective software programs. Software developers create computer applications that do specific tasks, run devices and control networks. Analysts and testers implement software testing, documenting defects and problems with software and share feedback on usability and functionality to developers and stakeholders.
Compare Student Loan Rates In Minutes
Compare rates from participating lenders via Credible.com
Frequently Asked Questions About Information Technology
What is the highest paying IT job?
The highest paying IT jobs include computer and information systems managers and research scientists. Computer and information systems managers earn a median salary of $159,010, and computer and information research scientists earn $131,490.
Yes, many IT jobs are in demand and growing at above-average rates. Some roles—including software developer, web developer and information security engineer—are expected to grow at rates of up to 33% from 2020 to 2030.
What qualifications do I need to study information technology?
Qualifications vary among schools and programs. For example, completing a bootcamp through Udacity or Galvanize may require foundational IT knowledge, while many associate degree programs in information technology are open to beginners.