4 In-Demand Technology Specialties

Thinking of earning an IT degree? Here are some concentrations that can lead to top information technology careers!

By Greg Scott Neuman
Posted 2011

In-demand IT Careers and Jobs
In-demand IT Careers and Jobs

Now that computers, the Internet and social media have become critical parts of our business and communications infrastructure, the need for well-trained information technology (IT) professionals has never been greater. But there are dozens of different IT specialties. Which ones provide the best opportunity to land secure and high-paying tech jobs after graduation?

Here are four of the most in-demand IT concentrations:

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1. Information technology generalist. Earning a general IT degree will give you a broad overview of the field. Coursework generally includes some amount of instruction in areas such as computer programming, database management, network security and web development. Your general IT degree is excellent preparation for information _technology careers in which broad, general IT knowledge is important, such as technical support specialist and quality assurance engineer.

Examples of general IT degrees include an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Information Technology, a Bachelor of Science (BS) in information Technology and Master of Science (MS) in Information Technology.

Sample career: computer support specialist
Median annual wage: $43,450*
Projected growth through 2018: 14% (faster than average)*
[Find information technology degree programs now!]

2. Network administration. The growth of the IT industry brought linked computer systems called networks to millions of businesses, government offices and other organizations. Network technology and security professionals maintain such computer systems and protect them from computer viruses, hacking attempts and other threats. Tech jobs in this part of the IT field include network administrator and computer security specialist.

IT degrees that can lead you to a network technology or network security job include an AAS in IT Security, a BS in Network Technology and an Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Network and Communications Management.

Sample career: network systems and data communications analyst
Median annual wage: $71,100*
Projected growth through 2018: 53% (much faster than average)*
[Find network administration degree programs now!]

3. Software engineering. Over the past decade, software engineering has slowly replaced computer programming as the preferred IT development skill set. Software engineers create, test, maintain and update the software that allows computers to perform their functions. However, software engineers do more than code in a computer language; they are often responsible for all phases of software design and development.

IT degrees that can help you enter the software engineering field include an Associate of Arts (AA) in Information Systems, a BS in Software Architecture and an MS in Software Engineering.

Sample career: computer software engineer
Median annual wage: $92,430*
Projected growth through 2018: 32% (much faster than average)*
[Find software engineering degree programs now!]

4. Technology project management. Technology project managers supervise staff and allocate resources to ensure the completion of work in the IT industry. Unlike departmental managers who oversee the same employees working on essentially the same tasks every day, project managers typically take charge of a diverse group for the duration of a particular project. Afterwards they move on to another project, often involving a different staff and different tasks.

IT degrees that can help you enter the technology project management field include a Bachelor of Information Systems – Project Management & Planning and a Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) – Project Management.

Sample career: IT project manager
Median annual wage: $79,240**
Projected growth through 2018: From 7% to 13% (as fast as average)**
[Find technology project management degree programs now!]

*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011
** ONET OnLine, accessed November 2011

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