What Is an Information Technologist?
Information technology is a phrase that’s often tossed around in the tech business—but what exactly does this popular field entail?
Furthermore, what does one do when working in the industry of information system technology?
While many people think of troubleshooting and tech support when they hear the term “IT,” this rapidly growing industry includes so much more than simple computer advice. From information management to working on computer hardware, there are several different options to consider when finding your perfect career path. If you’re interested in joining this buzzing branch of tech, read on to learn more about working as an information technologist.
What is Information Technology?
Before we can discuss the responsibilities of an information technologist, it’s important to understand what the IT field is all about. An information technology system encompasses a wide range of computer-based disciplines, skills, and machinery.
More specifically, information technology can be defined as the use of computers and other devices in creating, storing, and transmitting digital information—in other words, data.
Similar to information systems, information technology relies on factors such as software, hardware, and human interaction. What sets IT apart, however, is that it places a greater focus on using pre-developed information systems, keeping machinery running smoothly, and developing unique software to aid and accommodate these systems
What Does an Information Technologist Do?
Now that we know what IT is, what does an information technologist do? Well, not just any one thing. There are a variety of different positions available within this field.
While an “information technologist” is a job title in itself, it’s not the only job that falls under this umbrella term. First, let’s talk about the basic definition of an information technologist.
At the entry-level, an information technologist is someone who assists an organization (or multiple organizations) with their daily computer-related problems. This is what many people may refer to as “IT support.” The typical responsibilities of an entry-level information technologist may include any of the following:
- Supporting the senior project manager
- Working with other information technologists within an organization
- Assisting non-IT workers with technical issues
- Addressing company-wide computer outages or bugs
- Upgrading software and hardware
- Troubleshooting daily computer problems
- Working on long-term projects assigned by your manager
- Maintaining information databases
- Updating security policies and procedures
- Traveling to other locations to assist with computer issues
Other Types of IT Jobs
With this basic job description in mind, we can dive into the broader topic of IT as a whole—more specifically, the nuances and duties of other roles within the information technology field, such as:1
- Computer programmers – Programmers and software developers are essentially at the forefront of the entire tech industry. These talented individuals help create the programs and applications we use for business, entertainment, and everything in between. As an aspiring programmer, you’ll likely benefit from a strong background in various coding languages, which is a common subject taught in IT programs.
- Web developer – Web developers spend their time either creating websites from scratch or maintaining and monitoring existing websites to maximize performance and site traffic. This area of IT is often preferred by individuals who enjoy making creative decisions, in addition to coding and utilizing their knowledge of technology.
- Information security analyst – Cybersecurity (or IT security) is a major branch of information technology, including analyst positions. This field continues to grow and increase in importance, particularly with the evolution of data extraction and storage in recent years. Cybersecurity professionals spend most of their time monitoring, updating, and patching errors in an organization’s security software. Professionals in this field should also be able to recognize the warning signs of hackers and other digital threats.
- Network architect – Network architects and engineers are responsible for a number of different tasks within an organization’s IT department. In this role, you’ll likely spend your time implementing, administering, and maintaining networks throughout an entire company. Other areas of interest for a network engineer may also include security, data storage, and data recovery.
- Computer systems analyst – If you’re always looking for problems and ways to fix them, you might excel as a systems analyst. These IT professionals identify weak spots or inefficiencies in an organization’s setup and opportunities for improvement and optimization. They often design, implement, and maintain these solutions, as well.
- Database architects – This career path is similar to that of a network architect, only it focuses specifically on the systems and servers—whether on-premise or off-site—that store digital information. Database architects design and build out these essential systems, while database administrators, another similar profession, will oversee and maintain the system’s ongoing functionality.
- Quality assurance testers – Related to software programming and web development, quality assurance testers and analysts are the final defense against bugs, glitches, and other performance problems. These IT employees will thoroughly test the app, program, or website to identify any potential end-user issues or opportunities for improvement. They usually report to the developers or programmers, who then fix the problems.
If you’re interested in information technology as your eventual career path, you’ll be delighted to know that there are many possible paths for you. Because of the interconnected nature of many of the above positions, you may even find it’s possible to explore multiple different fields and jobs. With the right skills and aptitudes, you don’t have to be limited to one specific title in the IT industry.
What is the Job Outlook for Information Technologists?
For the IT field as a whole, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts 13% employment growth between 2020 and 2030. This growth would result in approximately 667,000 new job openings in various computer and IT positions.2
For computer support specialists specifically, the BLS predicts a 9% growth rate in the same period. This corresponds to roughly 70,400 support jobs becoming available each year, though some of these openings will be due to current IT professionals switching careers or retiring.3
How to Become an Information Technologist
Information technologists often benefit from comprehensive education and training. Here are some skills and qualifications that may increase your employability within the field:
- Initial education – Employers may look for an associate’s degree—if not a bachelor’s degree—from their candidates in a computer science field. Information technology is one of the most common paths you can take if you’re interesting in working in this industry. Other options include computer information security, information systems technology, or information systems degree programs.
- Advanced degrees – For some of the higher-ranking IT positions, an advanced degree, such as a master’s, may be highly advantageous. Candidates applying to roles such as chief technology officer, computer research scientist, IT manager, and cloud architect are more likely to benefit from an advanced computer science degree.
- Certification – Some organizations ask that IT employees complete a certain number of training courses and earn specific certifications within the field. According to ISACA, the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, some helpful credentials include certificates in:4
- Networks and Infrastructure
- Software Development
- Data Science
How Does Information Technology Compare to Information System Technology?
Information systems technology is a unique degree program that focuses on the overlap between IT and IS. This field of computer science incorporates a number of vital topics needed to work in the industry:
- Coding and programming
- Data management
- Business and managerial skills
- Web development
- Cloud computing
- Telecommunication and networks
With this balanced approach, you can learn everything there is to know about the hardware, software, and human elements that make up IT and IS. While majoring in either of these fields separately could yield a career in this industry, combining them may help you receive a well-rounded education and explore the various branches of tech without limitations.
Earn Your Degree in Information Systems Technology at Alliant University
If you’re looking for a thorough, balanced, and flexible degree program in the field of IT, look no further than Alliant University.
We understand the importance of both information technology and information systems in the current tech industry. That’s why our Master’s of Science in Information Systems Technology program is designed to teach valuable skills that can help students secure a career in either field.
If you’re a Bachelor’s graduate interested in advancing your education and career, you’ll also find a number of relevant job-ready certificates that may improve your employability. From coding labs to business courses, Alliant provides a diverse education that matches the ever-changing IT industry.
- “Computer and Information Technology Occupations.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, September 8, 2021. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm. Accessed: January 5, 2022.
- “Computer Support Specialists.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, October 20, 2021. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-su…. Accessed: January 5, 2022.
- “Information Technology Certified Associate.” ISACA. https://www.isaca.org/credentialing/itca. Accessed: January 5, 2022.