Popular IT Careers in 2013

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A look at some cutting-edge tech careers

IT TechnicianInformation technology professionals monitor computer systems and have an important role in keeping businesses up-to-date with the latest technology.

The technology sector has been an employment machine for both large and small industries by giving professionals with information technology (IT) skills an edge in a crowded marketplace. In fact, January employment numbers compiled by Foote Partners, an IT research firm, shows that 1 out of every 7 jobs created that month was tech-related. Much of the recent employment boom in the IT field has been driven by organizational need for big data and supporting networks. Gartner, a market research firm, estimates that 4.4 million jobs will be created to support the IT sector by 2015. And, while jobs related to big data are leading the charge, there are numerous IT careers that are also outpacing national employment trends. We take a closer look at the hottest IT jobs in 2013 for tech professionals and how an online information technology degree prepares students for these growing careers.

Average IT Salary by Career

Computer systems analyst: Emerging as well as established companies must stay ahead of their technology needs to stay profitable and maintain efficiency. Computer systems analysts work with company leaders and department managers to research current needs, evaluate existing technology and identify new tech solutions to streamline process and improve overall efficiency. They may also be tasked with maintaining these systems through frequent testing and updates. A bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology is required for this position. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that 120,400 new jobs will be added by 2020, which is a 22 percent growth. The median annual salary for a computer systems analyst is $78,770.

Mobile application developer: We live in a mobile world, as smartphones account for more than 50 percent of new mobile devices purchased today. Consumers want to be able to instantly connect with businesses with just one click, and mobile applications put businesses in the palm of the consumer’s hands. The mobile tech boom is driving a need for mobile application developers. A bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field is required for entry into this field. Geekwire, a tech-news website, reports that the average salary for a mobile application developer is expected to rise by 9 percent within the year.

User experience designers: Consumers are looking for functionality in a website when browsing the Internet. They are looking for a seamless flow of content and a modern layout that guides the user to the important areas of a website. User experience designers specialize in optimizing a site to meet the needs of the consumer to create a positive digital experience. Geekwire reports an expected salary increase of 4.8 percent this year.

Database administrator: Gartner suggests that worldwide IT spending will increase by nearly 4 percent this year, reaching $3.7 trillion with big-data needs leading the charge. Database administrators maintain these data stores to ensure error-free operations and efficiency. These administrators might also be called to build databases for businesses. A bachelor’s degree in information technology is required for employment as a database administrator; data analysis field experience is preferred. The BLS estimates that 34,000 database administrator jobs will be added to the IT field, which is a 31 percent employment growth. The median annual salary is $75,190.

Software developer: User-friendly applications and technology can help drive profits for businesses. Software developers research user needs and identify tech solutions to enhance the overall user experience. Software developers design new software applications or systems and are also tasked with maintaining and updating these new products. A bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering or information technology is required. The BLS estimates that 270,900 new jobs with a median annual salary of $89,280 will be added through the next decade.

Web developer: Websites serve as the virtual face of a business by helping to build brand awareness and customer interactivity. Web developers are at the helm of creating these websites and must pay attention to functionality, aesthetics and user experience, including layout and content. They may also be charged with incorporating new technology and applications into the sites to improve usability. A bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field is required for entry into this field. According to the BLS, employment is expected to grow by 22 percent through 2020; the median annual salary is $77,990.

Computer programmer: Computers operate through their own language, and computer programmers help feed computers this unique language through translating software into computer code. Programmers often work with designers and engineers to troubleshoot computer glitches and update existing programs. A bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology is required. The BLS projects 43,700 new jobs with a median annual salary of $72,630 will be added by 2020.