What does an IT specialist do?
Information technology (IT) specialists oversee the maintenance and improvement of an organization’s technical ecosystem. This sector of computer and security specialists are responsible for ensuring critical files and company data stored in digital repositories remain safe and intact.
IT specialists troubleshoot technology concerns, perform network diagnoses, provide computer support and conduct IT audits to ensure all staff members have the digital tools they need to properly perform their jobs. In addition to solving technical issues, an IT support specialist may collaborate with software developers, database administrators, computer network analysts and computer security technicians to design, refine or amend digital solutions. Specific functions within the IT specialist job description may include:
- Implementing or modifying security measures to keep digital files safe.
- Installing or updating new versions of software across company hardware.
- Performing diagnostics to enhance the efficiency of a company’s technology system.
- Providing direct support to company personnel to resolve technical concerns.
Read on to learn more about how to become an IT specialist, the career outlook for the information technology sector and the core competencies needed to excel in this profession.
Career outlook for IT specialists
The growing demand for IT specialists is largely due to the rise in digital transformations organizations are undergoing. As more businesses prioritize big data analytics, information security and innovative digital tools, the demand for IT specialists continues to present an increase in job opportunities for graduates.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected the computer and information technology field to increase by 15% between 2021 and 2031. This pace is faster than the national average rate for all occupations. The BLS also reported the IT sector should result in an additional 682,800 new employment opportunities by 2031.
Salary expectations for the information technology sector
In addition to the increase in demand for IT specialists, this career path offers rewarding salary expectations for graduates. BLS data from May 2021 for the computer and information technology occupations showed a median national salary of $97,430, more than $50,000 higher than $45,760, the national median salary across all occupations.
Your salary for the computer and IT field may increase based on your specific job requirements and title, education level, work experience and the industry in which the organization operates. For example, businesses operating within the tech or financial sector may offer higher compensation for IT specialists compared to publicly funded educational institutions.
As for specific occupations within the IT field, the BLS reported these median salaries:
- $102,600 for information security analysts
- $99,270 for computer research analysts
- $80,600 for network and computer systems administrators
According to BLS data, computer and information research scientists — positions typically requiring candidates to hold a master’s degree — maintained a median salary of $131,490 in 2021.