Building a Career in Information Technology

By: Jason Ioffe

If you want to build a career in Computer Science or Information Technology earning a degree is just the beginning – securing these careers takes a true passion for learning. You must invest plenty of time and effort to make your mark in these highly competitive fields.

Over 300,000 jobs as computer information systems managers are offered each year in the U.S. according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median pay for these jobs are approximately $116,000 and those hired with entry-level positions typically need a bachelor’s degree and over five years of related work experience. So how does a college student strengthen their chances of breaking into a field that requires so much hands-on experience?

Well the answer is, practice!

In the modern business world, websites are equipped with electronic databases and the applications that drive them. To practice your skills, Oracle’s entire suite of database tools and Microsoft’s Visual Studio Express are all available via free download. Thanks to the Internet, budding tech specialists have a limitless supply of resources available to draw from.

Tinker and experiment outside of your academic and professional obligations. Perhaps the muses have swayed your heart into web design – Code Academy and Git Hub are great free online resources for all levels of proficiency.

The world of IT is constantly evolving and so should you. After over eleven years of professional experience, I still learn new things every day. Sometimes it is as simple as a new approach to problem solving; other times, I take a dive into a new application suite or programming language. In fact, almost every new IT or CS related undertaking will have you learn unfamiliar systems.

Many young professionals eager to get in the field of computer systems cannot solve programming hurdles during their technical interviews. But it is also essential to note excellent analytical, communication, critical thinking, and teamwork skills are necessary.

Even with all of these skills, you will have to network to have the best chance of landing a job. LinkedIn is your friend – not only does it help you locate and connect with key people in your industry, it also allows your colleagues to endorse you for specific skills like systems integration or C++ programming.

It may be a long and winding road toward success in the world of IT or CS. But it if you thrive on technological innovation then the computer industry might be for you.

Jason Ioffe is a Peer for Career at the Starr Career Development Center, the Webmaster of Starrlights, and a software developer at the Baruch Computing and Technology Center