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How to Become an Information Technology Specialist in Six Steps

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Perhaps you share a deep interest in technology—it absolutely fascinates you—and you are wondering how to become an IT specialist. Well, suffice to say here that it is a very good choice, so if you have a few minutes to spare, stick with us to learn what the steps are to become one and excel in your career. Enjoy your reading!

What Is an Information Technology Specialist?

IT specialists are responsible for covering the technical part of an organization. More precisely, they are the technical professionals tasked with the implementation, monitoring, and maintenance of IT systems. Due to rapid developments in technology, an IT specialist is, in principle, also tasked with keeping up with technology by constantly developing new technical skills. 

How Can You Become an Information Technology Specialist?

Information technology specialist is a broad job title that consists of the management of software, hardware, and networks. It is quite a challenging job, so the path to a fruitful career is not the easiest.

In order to become a specialist in the field, as a first step, you need to finish high school, then complete a bachelor’s in IT, computer science, computer engineering, and similar. 

Following that, you are advised to gain some professional experience through an internship or an entry-level position. Preferably, get certified and specialized, and if you are aiming for a senior job position, register for a master’s degree. If you want to know more about each of the steps, continue reading. 

Finish high school

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Finishing your high school education is the very first step in the path of becoming an information technology specialist, since a high school diploma will, among other things, demonstrate your ability to carry out a bachelor’s program and will also yield the necessary credential for admission in a higher education institution. 

Besides the above, high school is the right setting for you to prepare yourself for IT by taking specialized available courses, including advanced maths and computer science classes. 

Get a bachelor’s degree

This section will give you more details on information technology education requirements. Earning a university degree in information technology, informatics, computer science, computer engineering, information science, or similar will give you the necessary skills to become an IT and qualify you for further possible specializations.

Further, by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in IT, you will be equipped with the skills needed to become an IT specialist. Besides that, it allows you to create fruitful contacts with your peers and other great professionals in the field, which can, at later stages, facilitate your path to different career opportunities.

Lastly, it is worth mentioning that a bachelor’s in the fields mentioned above is, in principle, 120 credits-programs and typically takes four years to complete. 

Gain professional experience

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To give life to the concepts you learn during your bachelor’s, it is highly recommended to get some professional experience, which will allow you to become more practical in your profession. You can begin searching for entry-level positions in IT, even in your final year of studies, since many employers tend to recruit directly from universities and colleges. Or, if you do not want to work and study simultaneously, you can postpone applying for such positions after graduation. Typical entry-level positions in IT include but are not limited to: 

  • Technical support specialist
  • Application developer
  • Web developer
  • Business or systems specialist
  • Database administrator, etc. 

To qualify for the positions mentioned above, consider doing internships, learning a programing language of your choice, or completing a minor in a different field such as business communication, psychology, or math. Doing so will allow you to create a basic knowledge or understanding of the main concepts of information technology. 

Get certified

A certification in a software system or language will enable you to stand out as a candidate when applying for job positions and obtain a higher position more quickly. Even if you have already secured a job and you are satisfied with it, certification is still valuable as it allows you to remain competitive in your workplace. It will also have a significant impact on your career advancement. Some of the certifications you can earn include the following: 

  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
  • Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE)
  • Apple Certified Associate (ACA), etc. 

Specialize

There are many information technology specializations in place across the U.S. The IT specialist job description most commonly requires you to specialize in network analysis, system administration, data security, IT audits, database administration, or web administration. So consider getting specialized in one of these. When picking the right specialty, we advise you to go back to your bachelor’s, consider which course(s) you found the best, search on its perspective, and choose accordingly.

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Consider earning a master’s degree

A master’s will randomly be necessary for more senior job positions in information technology. For instance, a master’s in information technology, cyber security, big data, or business analytics will enrich your resume and equip you with the required skills and knowledge to obtain a top position in different companies. The most significant advantage is that many universities and colleges also offer online or part-time master’s, which allow you to work and study simultaneously.

Remember that a master’s may sometimes be challenging, but during such busy periods, keep reminding yourself that it will surely increase your chances of acquiring senior positions and boost your salary.

Regarding the latter, PayScale estimates that an IT specialist earns $58,256 per year on average. On the other hand, a network and computer systems administrator will, on average, earn $62,603.

What Skills Does an Information Technology Specialist Need?

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Excelling in information technology, which is constantly developing, means acquiring and advancing your skills regularly. Among the critical technical skills you should invest in are: 

  • Application development
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cyber Security
  • Programming 
  • Systems and network 
  • Data analysis 
  • DevOps,
  • Cloud computing

Besides those mentioned above, being excellent in IT also involves a set of so-called skills, including: 

  • Communication skills 
  • Time management
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Decision-making skills
  • Project management
  • Multi-tasking 

Conclusion

In a world driven by technology, IT specialists enjoy countless opportunities. They are in high demand in almost any sector and industry. So if, after reading the information in this article,  you are optimistic that you will join the field, our advice is one and only: Go for it!

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