We live in an increasingly technology-driven world. More than three-quarters of Americans now own a smartphone, and almost as many own a laptop or desktop computer. Many of us also use computers and other devices heavily in our jobs, and technologies such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things are transforming nearly every industry.
These changes aren’t happening on their own. They require a plethora of skilled computer and information technology workers to develop products and applications, manage the data they produce and make sure that information is secure. As these needs continue to grow, so do job opportunities in information technology.
Employment in the computer and information technology field is expected to grow by 13 percent between 2016 and 2026, according to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In total, computer and information technology will add around 557,100 jobs. This is faster than the average growth rate for all occupations, and BLS projects that total occupational employment across all sectors will increase by 7.4 percent.
Workers in computer and information technology also earn more than average. In May 2017, the median annual wage for someone in this field was $84,580, while for all occupations, the median yearly salary was $37,690.
Certain occupations within the sector are expanding particularly fast. Here are some of the fastest-growing IT jobs:
1. Information Security Analyst
According to BLS, the information security analyst occupation is the fastest growing job in IT. This makes sense since cybercrime is becoming more prevalent, and damage resulting from it could reach $6 trillion by 2021. As more of our information becomes linked to technology, there’s more to protect.
Information security analysts plan and implement measures to protect an organization’s computers, networks and information. Their roles are expanding along with cyber threats, but they may install software to protect against breaches, monitor systems for threats and help users protect themselves from cybercrime. They may work for a technology company or another firm that uses technology and needs cybersecurity services.
To get hired for this position, you typically need at least a bachelor’s degree. You could also get a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in information systems. You usually need to have experience in an information technology department, perhaps as a network or computer systems administrator.
In May 2017, the median pay for an information security analyst was $95,510 per year or $45.92 per hour. There were 100,000 of these positions in 2016, and BLS projects that 28,500 will be added through 2026. This comes out to a growth rate of 28 percent, which is about four times faster than the average.
2. Software Developer
The next fastest growing technology job is that of software developers, the people who create the programs and systems that enable people to use computers, smartphones and other devices to complete tasks easily. Developers may create applications such as word processors, games or databases. They might also build the overarching operating systems that enable a device to function as well as the interface that allows users to interact with it.
These programs and systems might be for computers, tablets or smartphones as well as other devices that use computer systems such as cars and smart appliances. The growing prevalence of smart devices and the increasing capabilities of these devices are part of what’s fueling the growth of this career.
To become a software developer, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in a field such as computer science. Although writing code won’t be your primary responsibility in this role, you should still have solid skills in this area.
In 2016, there were 1,256,200 software developer jobs, and that number is projected to expand by 302,500 by 2026, a growth rate of 24 percent. The 2017 median pay for software developers was $103,560 per year or $49.79 per hour.
3. Computer and Information Research Scientist
Computer and information research scientists are on the cutting edge of the latest developments in technology. They come up with new technologies as well as new uses for existing technologies. They may design new programming languages, write machine learning algorithms or create programs for use with robotics.
They may work for government organizations, research institutions or computer system and software companies. They may work in the science, medical or business fields as well as many other areas. They may spend some time presenting the findings of their research at conferences. About three in 10 computer research scientists worked more than 40 hours per week in 2016, according to BLS.
Typically, computer and information research scientists have a master’s degree in computer science or a similar field, although a bachelor’s degree may suffice for some positions.
Computer and information research scientist positions are expected to grow by 19 percent from 2016 to 2026, making it one of the fastest growing IT jobs of the future. In 2016, there were 27,900 positions for this occupation, and 5,400 are expected to be added by 2026. In 2017, the median pay for this job was $114,520 per year or $55.06 per hour.
4. Web Developer
Another one of the fastest growing jobs in IT is that of a web developer. They are responsible for various aspects of websites, including their appearance, technical operations and sometimes their content. Some web developers cover all these areas, whereas others focus on a specific one.
Back-end developers, for example, work on the technical side and create the basic framework that enables a site to function correctly. Front-end developers, on the other hand, are responsible for how a website looks and manage its layout, graphics and applications for users of the site. Webmasters ensure that websites stay updated, periodically test aspects to make sure they’re working correctly and sometimes respond to user comments.
Seventeen percent of web developers work in fields such as computer systems design, and 16 percent are self-employed. Educational requirements vary depending on the type of job, but the most common is an associate’s degree. Some more specialized jobs may require a bachelor’s degree, while others only require a high school diploma. To work as a web developer, you need to understand programming as well as web design if you plan to work on the front-end of sites.
The web development field will grow by 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, adding 24,400 jobs to the 162,900 in existence in 2016. Web developers earned a median pay of $67,990 per year or $32.69 per hour in May 2017.
5. Database Administrator
We generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, and that number is expected to multiply as IoT devices become more common. Much of this data is valuable to organizations if they can collect, organize and analyze effectively. Database administrators, or DBAs, make that possible.
DBAs organize data using specialized software and ensure that it’s accessible to those who need it but secure from those who shouldn’t have access to it. They’re also responsible for protecting against data loss, helping databases to run more efficiently and making them easier to use. They may work with data such as financial information or medical records. Some DBAs cover all of an organization’s database administration needs, while others specialize in certain aspects.
DBAs usually need a bachelor’s degree in a computer- or information-related area. For organizations with especially large databases, you may need a master’s degree. DBAs need to understand database languages such as structured query language, or SQL.
At 11 percent growth between 2016 and 2026, database administration is a technology career that’s in high demand and will be for the foreseeable future. There were 119,500 DBAs in 2016, and the industry is expected to add 13,700 positions by 2026. DBAs had a 2017 media pay of $87,020 per year or $41.84 per hour.
6. Computer Support Specialist
Computer support specialists provide technical assistance to individual computer users or network support to an organization.
Computer user support specialists, sometimes called help-desk technicians, set up and install computer equipment and software, provide computer training to users, repair and upgrade equipment and help walk users through problems with computer equipment or programs.
Network support specialists, or technical support specialists, ensure that networks operate correctly and efficiently. They perform regular maintenance, run tests to identify potential problems and troubleshoot issues if they arise.
These specialists may work internally for an organization or an outside technology company. They may communicate with users via phone, email or other online communications or make in-person visits. They typically work full time but may work outside the regular 9-to-5 hours since users may need support on nights or weekends.
There are many different ways to become a computer support specialist. Depending on the type of company and the kind of work, you may need either a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree or a high school diploma with some experience or some coursework in computer-related areas.
For computer network support specialists, the median wage in 2017 was $62,340. For computer user support specialists, it was $50,210. There were 835,300 total computer support specialists in 2016, and 88,500 new jobs will be added between 2016 and 2026 for a growth rate of 11 percent.
7. Computer Systems Analyst
Another one of the fastest growing IT careers is that of computer systems analysts, also called systems architects. These professionals assess organizations’ existing computer systems and processes and then come up with solutions to help them be more efficient and effective. They need to have an understanding of both computer systems and business.
Computer systems analysts may work at a company internally or work as contractors. Most systems architects have a bachelor’s degree in computer or information science. Sometimes, they also have a business or liberal arts degree and also have skills in computer programming or information technology. Some have an MBA with a concentration in information systems.
In 2016, there were 600,500 of these positions. By 2026, 54,400 jobs are projected to be added. Employment of computer systems analysts is expected to grow by nine percent between 2016 and 2026, which is about as fast as average. Cloud computing will be a major factor in employment growth in this area and cloud technologies will likely shape the role of systems analysts in the years to come.
In May 2017, the median annual salary for computer systems analysts was $88,270, and the median hourly wage was $42.44.
8. Computer Network Architect
Computer network architects, or network engineers, manage data communication networks, such as wide area networks (WANs), local area networks (LANs) and intranets. They design, build, troubleshoot and upgrade these networks.
These communications networks are essential to the operations of many businesses, making network architects one of the top IT jobs in demand for the future. As such, these architects need to understand the needs of the companies they’re working with as well as the technology solutions available. Increasingly, these networks are moving toward cloud-based solutions.
Computer network architects typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as information systems, computer science or engineering. Knowledge of network security, database design and business can be useful for this position. Some network engineers have an MBA with a focus on information systems. You also typically need at least five to 10 years in the information technology field to get hired as a network architect.
The 2017 median pay for network architects was $104,650 per year or $50.31 per hour. The field is expected to add 10,500 positions by 2026 to the 162,700 in existence in 2016. The employment growth rate for this occupation is six percent, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations.
9. Network and Computer Systems Administrator
The role of network and computer systems administrators is related to that of computer network architects. Rather than designing and building the system, however, they are responsible for its day-to-day operations.
Network administrators monitor the operation of the network and ensure that it is secure and performing optimally, add users to the network and troubleshoot problems. They may also install upgrades to network hardware and software. They sometimes collaborate with the network architect in designing the system.
Most system administrators have a bachelor’s degree in a computer or information science field. For some jobs though, you only need an associate’s degree or a postsecondary certificate. Administrators need to keep up-to-date with technology changes so that they can make their systems as effective and efficient as possible.
In 2017, the median pay for network and computer systems administrators was $81,100 annually or $38.99 per hour. There were 391,300 of these jobs in 2016, and 24,000 positions are expected to be added by 2026. The expected growth rate is six percent, according to BLS.
What Is the Future of IT Jobs?
These are the fastest-growing information technology jobs today, and they will make up the IT jobs of the future. Technology is rapidly changing and becoming more prevalent, however, so the responsibilities of these jobs are likely to change too in the coming years. If you’re looking to join a field that will offer plenty of opportunities in the future, gaining an education in information technology is one of the smartest choices you could make.
One of the best ways to get started in your information technology career is with a program from Vista College. We offer an information technology diploma, an information technology associate of applied science program and an information systems security and assurance associate of appliance science program. We also have courses that can help you advance your existing IT career.
We have various ground campuses as well as an extensive online course selection, so you can choose the learning format that works best for you. We will also work with you to transfer existing credits and are one of the most military-friendly schools in the country. If you want a practical education from passionate, experienced instructors in a fast-growing field, look no further than Vista College. To learn more about our information technology programs, feel free to contact us to get more information today.