It is the time of year when kids are making critical life decisions. It is time to decide whether you will go to college, technical school, or try to find a job right away. For a future in the ever evolving world of computer technology, and a competitive workplace, a college degree is highly recommended. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) a variety of jobs offer potential in the field of computing. These jobs aren’t limited to, but include: hardware and software engineers, webmasters, system analysts, database administrators, computer support specialists, and network engineers.
Computer hardware engineers work with the all the parts that make up the computer system. They develop, analyze, test, and install computer chips, keyboards, modems, disk drives and other components that run the computer. A solid background in science, math, and computers. The BLS recommends you check out the college you plan to attend, as some prepare you for immediate entry into the job market, and others prepare you for graduate school in engineering. Be sure that your college of choice meets your education and career goals.
If you are curious, analytical, and able to develop creative solutions, the field of hardware or software engineering may be good for you. Software engineers develop the programs that run the hardware components. They also develop other programs that make the computer a useful tool for workplace and personal use. It takes a good combination of science, engineering and math to develop useful software programming. There are a number of different programming languages, a general understanding of the different languages which can direct a computer is important, but many software engineers or designers concentrate on one or two computer languages that are essential to the types of programming they will be working with.
Closely related to the software engineer, and sometimes working directly with the engineer, there are also jobs available for de-buggers. De-buggers work with software and hardware to try and uncover any glitches before the program is released to a company or the public. Their job is also very detail oriented, and they too must be able to analyze problems, and assist in creative solutions for programming or hardware glitches.
Software engineering is expected to be one of the fastest growing careers in the future, as our society becomes more dependant on computers and automation to accomplish simple tasks. To gain an advantage in the field of hardware or software engineering students may consider and internship during the summer months, or their senior year. Most often, colleges will give credit for work as an intern.
Pay in the field of software engineering is lucrative. Salaries range from approximately $50,000 to over $100,000. Salary , programming opportunities, and advancement in computer engineering will all depend on your skills, attention to detail, creativity, and the company for which you choose to work.
Database administrators work with a variety of tools on the computer and Internet. They work to make sure that the data exchanged via email, websites, and on-line transactions is sorted, stored, and managed. Like a systems analyst, they have to look at the big picture. They need to know what the company goals are, what information needs to be accessed, and by whom. Systems analysts and database coordinators may find themselves working in teams. Personal skills will be important for these types of jobs. Both jobs may also supervise the integrity and security of the database, or entire system.
Technical work with computers, combined with a logical mind, prepare individuals for work as database administrators or systems analysts. Database administrators may be able to find work after taking classes in a technical school, or working as an apprentice. Systems analysts’ work is a bit more detailed, and usually requires a four year degree. The job of a systems analyst may include the supervision of the database, networking, and other systems. A degree in Information Technology, Information Systems, or Computer Science may be helpful. The systems analyst job includes finding out company needs, and testing and recommending software to help meet company objectives. It is a position with a lot of responsibility. System’s analyst make slightly more than database administrators. Database administrators may make anywhere from the high $30,000’s to just over $80,000. System’s analyst usually average about $10,000 more per year.
Computer support specialists assist individuals with computer problems. They often work at a help desk, and offer customer or employee support when computer systems aren’t functioning correctly. In a company that is not focused on technology, computer support is usually the person, or persons, who install new computers, printers, and software. Certification is available for computer support specialists, but is not always required. Field work, an associates degree, or a bachelor’s degree in computer science will assist you in entering a position as a computer support specialists. The forecast for computer support specialists is strong. Businesses increasingly rely on computers to carry out day to day business. They need someone on staff to keep the computer systems running correctly. The average income for computer support specialists is between $30,.000 and $50,000.
You are looking at a website right now. Chances are you have viewed several today. Webmasters are the individuals responsible for building and maintaining websites. For some companies, the website is their source of business. For others, the website provides pertinent information about the company. In order for a website to serve its purpose, someone has to monitor and maintain the website, updating information as it becomes available. Some webmasters obtain an associate degree and some are self taught. Most webmasters use software to make their job easier. Certification is also available for this job, but is not necessarily required. Jobs for webmasters are expected to increase as the world continues to increase its shopping, banking, information finding, and communication on-line. The average pay for webmasters is approximately $38,000 to $78,000. Pay depends on experience, and the complexity of the programs the webmaster must use and /or develop for the website to work appropriately.
The job outlook for most careers involving computer technology and administration is very good. Computer usage for both business and personal use is only expected to increase. You may have already learned a great deal about computers from using and tinkering with your own. Capitalize on this knowledge, build on it with a technical or bachelor’s degree and you may find yourself in a stable, good paying job for years to come.