One of the fastest-growing industries in the world, the global information technology industry is worth about $5.2 trillion in 2020. Yes, you didn’t misread that – it’s trillions. This industry is expected to grow by about 3.7% in 2020, as more and more people turn to lucrative careers in IT.
Regardless of your current career path, the beauty of IT is that anyone can learn a set of skills they can profit from in this industry. There are thousands of online programs and courses you can apply to for pretty much any IT branch under the sun. All you need to do is decide which path you want to take. Do you want to be a web developer? A systems administrator? A game programmer? Something else entirely? The world of IT is seemingly endless in terms of career choices.
The downside to this overwhelming number of options is that, if you’re new in the business, it’s easy to feel crushed under the weight of the unknown. How can you know which IT career is right for you? How will you recognize what you’re good at and what’s not going to work?
Rest assured that we will answer these questions and offer some career advice that will hopefully set you up for future success in IT.
Main IT Branches
If you’re not good at singing, you won’t become a singer. If chemistry is not your strongest subject, you likely won’t seek a chem lab job. These same rules apply to the IT industry. To choose the perfect career, you need to be intimately familiar with your strengths and weaknesses.
What are enjoyable activities for you? What is your personality type? Are you a visual, creative person? Do you have strong organizational skills and enjoy putting things in order? Do you tend to think outside the box and like a challenging problem? Answers to all these questions lead to different areas of IT that could be suitable for you.
Even though it may seem like a uniform sea of potential jobs at first glance, the IT industry is actually incredibly varied. To learn about your options, you need to examine the main IT branches you might find yourself in based on your skillset:
- Software development
An area everyone has heard of that is practically synonymous with IT is software development. Software engineers are in charge of creating, developing, and implementing applications for a wide range of electronic devices. In this branch, it’s all about code.
If you’re good at math, logical operations, algorithms, can pick up programming languages quickly, and have strong problem-solving skills, you’ll feel right at home in software development. There are hundreds of different programming languages you can choose from, and you can specialize in any software you want, from web applications to mobile applications to game development, and so much more.
- IT Security
IT security is similar to software development, only with a strong focus on cybersecurity. If you take the position of an IT security specialist or analyst, your job would be to plan, implement, and monitor different security measures. You may be in charge of encrypting data, developing security controls, responding to security threats, and more.
A particularly challenging but intensely exciting job in IT security is that of a white-hat hacker, or an ethical computer hacker, hired by companies to attempt to breach their systems and point out the flaws in their security measures. It sounds like something out of a Hollywood movie, but it does exist in the IT industry.
- Data analytics
Data engineers, data architects, business intelligence analysts, and other data science roles also have a significant place in IT. Skills you need in this area are of the organizational type – researching problems, planning solutions, classifying information, arranging by hierarchy, extracting significant bits, finding patterns in the data, and more.
Data organization is not limited only to the IT sector. You can also become a successful data analyst in healthcare, marketing, and other industries. However, those who work in IT will also need to be familiar with programming languages, systems administration, databases, and other software engineering aspects, depending on where they want to work in the future.
- Design and animation
Moving on from the back-end of programming to the more creative activities, we have a wide range of titles, such as web designer, video game designer, UI designer, digital artist, 2D or 3D animator, and more. These tech careers are rooted in artistry and creative thinking and are a lot less logically demanding than coding. Yet, one cannot function without the other.
If you are skilled with a drawing tablet, know your way around Photoshop or any other software for creating graphics and putting together visually stunning apps, the world of design and animation is wide open for you. Even if you don’t possess much skill in this area, with the right practice, it will only be a matter of time before you become good enough to land a job in such a field.
Any software – whether a game or an app or a website – cannot be released to the public unless it’s properly tested first. Test engineers and quality assurance engineers are responsible for creating testing processes that ensure there aren’t too many bugs in the code before the software is released. They need to have a methodical mind, pay great attention to detail, and know how to follow testing procedures.
Depending on the position, a tester may also be involved in different types of reviews, such as software design reviews, tech specification reviews, etc. A tester doesn’t require the same amount of coding knowledge as a software developer. However, they need to be familiar with the basics of the programming languages in the software they’re testing.
Even though we tried to envelop as much of the IT industry as possible, this rough list is by no means exhaustive. It is near impossible to categorize every single job opportunity in IT because it is such an all-encompassing market.
Can someone be both a back-end developer and a UI designer? Yes, they absolutely can. Can a graphics designer also be a tester? Of course.
When you’re rifling through different career resources and trying to figure out the best IT path, don’t forget that you don’t necessarily need to limit yourself to one or the other. Hybrid positions exist, especially if you’re open to doing freelance work, where you might be asked to perform the jobs of the developer, the designer, and the tester at the same time.
However, we would advise you to choose a path you’re most comfortable with first and then consider branching out once you’ve honed your skills in one IT area.
To get a better sense of what you should be focusing on, taking a career aptitude test is not a bad idea. Through a set of questions, you will learn where your strengths lie and what you would excel at if you decided to take it up. A career quiz may not be 100% accurate, but it will at least offer you a rough idea of your inclinations.
Some free online aptitude tests could give you a general idea, but it would be best to turn to professionals if you want a definite answer on which IT career would be the best for you. A free career evaluation at My Computer Career lasts only 10 minutes, and it is invaluable if you want to get a clear picture of where you are right now vs. where you could be if you devote yourself to IT.
Changing careers is far from easy. When faced with learning new skills, earning new certifications, and starting from the bottom again, it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed and perhaps a little discouraged.
But there’s no reason to feel like that – especially not when it comes to IT! Anyone, at any age and with any background, can dedicate themselves to professional development in IT and become incredibly successful, whether their goal is to become a project manager, a help desk technician, or a leader on product management. There are many branches to choose from, from software development to data analytics to testing to cybersecurity to design and animation. All you need to do is take your pick and start working towards your ultimate IT goal.
If you’d like to get evaluated, ask for some advice, hear our students’ success stories, or request information about a career in IT, don’t hesitate to contact us at My Computer Career. We would be more than happy to help you earn the certifications you need and land the job of your dreams. Thanks to our dedicated team, you will see that getting your first employment in IT isn’t nearly as difficult as you feared it would be!
We look forward to hearing from you!