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IT Professional

Education and Training: Bachelor’s degree in computer science
Average Salary: $34,652 to $51,992 annually
Job Outlook: Good

The job of an IT professional is to assist people in solving problems regarding their computer systems. They provide step by step instructions to solve the hardware or software problem. At times they even teach how to use different computer software programs. IT professionals should always be willing to help customers and should be patient enough to attend people with different knowledge levels concerning computers. IT professionals work activities generally include:

  • Considering the problems and needs of the user and help them solve the problem.

  • Document programming problems and solutions for future reference.

  • Identify and evaluate user requirements and suggest appropriate applications or modifications.

  • Taking active part in the development, implementation, setting up, and testing of applications software.

  • Investigate, suggest, and install new applications.

  • Present on-the-job training to new department staff members.

  • Present computer orientation to new staff.

  • Maintain privacy regarding the information being processed, stored, or accessed by the network.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

As per the Bureau of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook for 2010-11, the employment outlook for IT professional is very good. The IT professionals should continue to enjoy excellent job prospects. Generally, candidates with a college degree and certification will have the best opportunities. However, for some of these jobs, openings will be available for applicants with interrelated work experience.

Job openings in these occupations will be due to strong employment growth, and the need to replace workers who move to other profession or leave the labor force.
Promotions depend greatly on their performance, skills, and problem solving abilities; though education and professional certification can also develop growth opportunities. Advancement opportunities in hardware and software companies can take place swiftly, at times within months.

Education and Training Requirements

To be an IT professional a degree in information systems or computer science, or a bachelor’s degree is required. Some certification programs are also available providing industry certification as an IT or computer professional.
An IT professional should be familiar with computer hardware and software applications. They must have the ability to evaluate and interpret end user information requirements and to develop appropriate systems. IT professionals are supposed to have the knowledge of company supported applications and systems, computer and computational science, data analysis, and programming technologies.
As an IT professional troubleshoots hardware and software issues on computers and help people facing computer problems, they must have strong problem solving, analytical, and communication skills.

Getting the Job

IT professional jobs are often advertised in newspapers, computer industry magazines, or Internet job banks. Best industries for getting the job as an IT professional are universities, IT services, telecommunications companies, financial firms, defense services, health care, business management organizations, and government agencies.

Development of new applications for computers and sophisticated technologies will create new job openings. Most organizations using computer networks will require professionals. So the individuals who are reliable, highly skilled, and well-trained will be in great demand to meet those needs.

Working Conditions and Environment

The working conditions for an IT professional involve a normal office environment. Extensive use of a computer is required and the work week is a normal 40 hours. Responsibilities may require late evening work or working on the weekends to meet the demands of the system. Some IT professionals are required to be accessible 24 hours a day in case of any major systems fail.
Injuries in these occupations are rare; however because of spending long periods in front of a computer, these workers are susceptible to eyestrain, back discomfort, and hand and wrist problems.

Salary and Benefits

The salary for IT professionals depends basically on the location of work, educational details, and the number of years of experience. With experience, it becomes possible for those with more education to gain a higher pay scale. An IT professional’s annual median income is within a range of $34,652 and $51,992 as of June 2010. Benefits generally include paid holidays and vacations, sick leave and health insurance.

Where to Go for More Information

Association for Computing Machinery
1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10036
(212) 626-0500

Association for Information Systems
PO Box 2712
Atlanta, GA 30301-2712
(404) 651-0348

IEEE Computer Society
1730 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 371-0101

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesComputers, IT & Telecommunications