There's Many Different Types Of IT Jobs
There's a lot of vastly different tech jobs out there. When someone says that they work in Information Technology (IT) it can mean a whole lot of things. There's a ton of vastly different tech careers out there. This list will describe the type of work environment found in different tech jobs. It also lists the main characteristics that employers are looking for in each of these IT fields.
There's a surprising amount of tech jobs in the world. Computers are very complex machines. Any complex machine has many different aspects to it, and there are jobs having to do with every aspect of computers and technology in general out there. You probably know that there is the software and hardware aspect of tech jobs. Some job roles have more to do with hardware, some more with software. But you may be surprised just how many different careers there are within these two categories.
The following is a sample of It careers which have to do with hardware. They are not always going to be all hardware based. Many tech jobs require both software and hardware skills. The following are the careers which mechanical and physical work is valued. Being able to build things, take things apart, and generally understand how physical machines work is helpful for any of the following.
Network Engineers are responsible for connecting different devices to one another. Connecting an office or even a whole building to the Internet is going to be part of this job. Connecting different offices together. Separating the accounting department from the sales department through VLANs is going to be the responsibility of the network architect.
The networking field deals with things like routers, switches, firewalls, DNS, DHCP, TCP/IP, VOIP phones, video conferencing, fiber and copper cabling, etc. A network engineer will be able to physically install these types of devices, run and crimp ethernet cables, but also have the ability to configure a switch or a router.
Along with configuration of devices, network engineers are responsible for monitoring the flow of data, making sure that connections to not slow down. There is an aspect of security as well. DDOS attacks and other network vulnerabilities might be the responsibility of an network engineer, especially in companies which do not have a specific IT security department.
Employers looking for network engineers are interested in individuals who understand how data moves around. They want an understanding of logical information such as router configurations and the OSI layer model. Along with that, the job will often require being able to install hardware and run cables. A networking career is great for those who want to be able to work both on hardware and on software. It is a mix of the two.
A data center technician is focused on maintaing a smooth operation of their data center. This includes maintaining the networks which connect to the data center, the servers within the data center and monitoring things like the power and temperature. a NOC (Network Operations Center) is usually found within a data center. This is where network technicians monitor and adjust the network configurations.
Data centers operate 24 hours a day, 356 days of the week, and usually require someone to be there around the clock. The Internet never sleeps.
Job duties include racking servers, answering phone calls, escorting colocation customers to their equipment, OS installs, server reboots, offering different types of remote hands, etc. There is a large variety of different tasks which may need to be done within the data center.
A data center can house a single company's equipment or it can be a colocation center where many companies rent out space from the data center. If your data center is in the later group, then you will be exposed to a larger variety of technologies. One customer may ask you to install Linux on their system, another may ask you to configure their Windows based firewall. It all depends on what types of remote hands your data center offers.
A data center career is a mix of hardware installations and computer repair, along with tech support. It's a jack-of-all trades kind of career where you will need to know a bit of networking, a bit of system administration, etc. Data center careers are also more friendly to entry level applicants than many other IT fields. Data centers often offer good training and do not require much schooling.
Sysadmins are responsible for running devices such as servers, computers, and printers. Depending on the size of the company, a system administrator can be responsible for pretty much all the IT devices or they can be responsible for a very specific few devices. Large companies will have system administrators who are responsible for very specific aspects of certain technology.
For example, a large firm might have very specific "infrastructure" sys admins who are responsible only for running operating systems and virtual servers on platforms such as vSphere. There might be a different set of administrators who are responsible for application administration. They would be responsible for things like database systems and email programs and web servers.
In a smaller company, all these functions may be assigned to a single system administrator.
A system administrator is the job most commonly associated with the term IT tech. They are responsible for both hardware and software configurations of devices.
A sys admin career is going to require a lot of server management. Being able to fix computers is a great starting point, but a sys admin should move beyond desktop computers and desktop software and apply those same skills to enterprise level servers and enterprise level software. If you are good at fixing computers and making sure they function correctly this may be a good career for you. One way to being working on server administration is to purchase a virtual private server and begin installing and configuring software on it.
Tech Repair/Hardware Repair
Computer repair shops are generally focused on consumer computers which break down and need to be fixed. Most companies have their own IT staff which maintained their computers. Individuals however need to bring their broken devices into repair shops.
Customers will usually bring in a broken computer and the repair shop will attempt to fix it. This may mean replacing a hard drive, but it might also mean cleaning our a virus.
A computer repair shop is great for those who eventually want to start their own business. A small computer repair shop can be a great business to start for someone who is handy and understands technology.
The following is a list of IT careers that are largely software based. This means that most of the time spent at these jobs will be sitting behind a desk typing away at a computer. There will be much less opportunity to physically work on hardware.
A developer is sometimes called a programmer or coder. They write the programing code that runs on computers. Basically, they develop software. This is a pure software job. There is no hardware involved. Instead, the day is spent typing code into a computer and other tasks dealing with the written code, such as code reviews.
A software developer job requires a very logical mindset. To efficiently program a computer, the developer must create a specific and exact set of instructions for the computer to follow. If the instructions are ambiguous or there is a missing step, the software does not work.
The types of programs that a software developer works on can be vast. From websites to weather radar systems, a software developer can focus on working with any type of computer.
Generally speaking, someone who enjoys math is going to be a good software developer. This is because math is highly logical and usually done in a series of steps.
This is another software job. Analysts take data and analyze it. They often do this writing code themselves. An analyst's job is to take a large amount of data and draw conclusions from this data. For example, a sales analysts might work on seeing what types of things lead to higher sales in a company.
Analysts work with statistics a lot. If you enjoy statistical analysis, being an analyst might be right for you.
DevOps stands for development and operations and is kind of like a system administrator turned into a software engineer. DevOps teams are often tasked with writing code which will automate the jobs of system administrators.
For example, instead of manually installing software every time a new computer is brought into an office, the DevOps team would write a script that would take a single command and would perform the whole installation on its own.
DevOps is great for someone who cannot decide between software development and system administration, or someone who thinks both sound like a great jobs.
Information security is the task of securing information. Many companies have physical security guards which keep intruders out. InfoSec does the same kind of thing, but with logical software. Their job is to stop outside hackers from gaining access into the company. It's also their job to ensure that no one within the company is stealing valuable information.
The InfoSec team are the detectives of the IT world. If you have ever thought about joining the police force, then information security might be a good fit for you.
Other IT Jobs
There's actually a whole lot of other IT jobs out there, most of which fall into one of the above categories. There's a lot of different IT job titles out there. They all have different tasks. Some are much more specialized than others. If you are looking to get into an IT career the best advice you can take is to figure out what you enjoy doing and then find the IT field where those skills will be most applicable.
If you love taking things apart and fixing them then being a system administrator might be a great career path.
If on the other hand you were always good at math and enjoyed logic puzzles like sudoku, then maybe software development would be a good career choice for you.
Look through some job listing websites and see which descriptions appeal to you.