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Information Technology


CompTIA, a major information technology (IT) industry trade association, says that IT “involves the use of technology to communicate, transfer data, and process information. From communications to data management and operational efficiency, IT supports many business functions and helps drive productivity.” Many people also believe that the field encompasses the workers that develop, implement, maintain, and utilize IT directly or indirectly.” Key elements of information technology include:

  • Hardware: computers, servers, storage, tablets, mobile phones, printers, network equipment
  • Software: productivity and business applications, network and security applications, mobile apps, video games, cloud computing, virtual reality
  • Services: deployment, integration, custom development, repair/upgrade, managed services
  • Infrastructure: Internet backbone, telecommunications networks, cloud data centers
  • Information: data, documents, voice, video, images
  • Business Objectives: commerce, production, communication, collaboration

Approximately 9.4 million workers were employed in technical and nontechnical positions at IT firms and at companies, nonprofits, and government agencies that had IT departments in 2023, according to CompTIA. This number also included self-employed IT workers who worked full time.

Information technology jobs are found throughout the United States and the world. CompTIA reports that the top five states for IT worker employment are California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Virginia. States that will experience strong IT job growth from 2023 to 2033 include Utah (where employment is expected to increase by 32 percent), Wyoming (+29 percent), Texas (+27 percent), Tennessee (+26 percent), Mississippi (+25 percent), Arizona (+24 percent), and Nevada (+23 percent). Within certain states there are also employment clusters such as Silicon Valley in California and Seattle, Washington. IT employment opportunities vary by industry segment. Within the hardware and software branches of the computer industry, many positions overlap and not every company will hire people to fill positions in each basic occupational segment: design, programming, administration, sales, and service.

It's important to keep in mind that there is a large number of IT jobs outside the tech industry. Nearly every sector—from manufacturing and retail, to pharmaceutical research and banking—has a need for IT professionals.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) projects that employment in computer and information technology will grow much faster than the average for all careers through 2032. Some of the fastest-growing jobs include information security analysts (+32 percent), software developers (+26 percent), computer and information research scientists (+23 percent), software quality assurance analysts and testers (+20 percent), Web developers (+17 percent), and computer and information systems managers (+15 percent).

To succeed in this field, IT professionals need strong analytical and problem-solving skills, flexibility, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree (for most positions), the ability to keep up with the latest technology, and a solid understanding of computers, the Internet, and IT basics. However, the technology of today may be obsolete in months, if not weeks, and only those individuals who work to remain on the cutting edge will have long-term growth potential during their career.

Contrary to the stereotype, the industry isn’t merely for pasty-skinned nerds, but it welcomes workers with a wide range of personality types, from techies and creatives, to those with sales-or customer service–oriented personalities. Historically, salaries have been generous (computer and math professionals earned median annual salaries of $100,530 in May 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Labor), and the possibility of making a mint in stock options is an especially delicious bonus for those brave enough to sign on with an unproven startup.

Few other career paths can present what technology jobs offer—meritocracy, high salaries, teamwork, and intellectual fulfillment. Information technology careers typically rank high in “best job” lists due to their combination of good pay, relatively low stress levels, challenging work, advancement possibilities, and strong employment demand. In 2024, nine of the top 100 jobs on U.S. News & World Report’s best careers list were in IT or related areas (such as data analytics), including software developer (#3), information technology manager (#4), information security analyst (#7), data scientist (#8), statistician (#12), operations research analyst (#15), Web developer (#21), computer systems analyst (#61), and computer network architect (#77).

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