Like many professions. Information Technology (IT), is subject to a lot of misconceptions about what it is that IT professionals do. The truth is, that there is no one type of IT professional, there is a wide range of specialisms and responsibilities that fall under this job title.
In general, though, IT is concerned with the technology and information collected and stored by computing systems and the hardware and software that makes this possible.
An IT professional is someone who either designs, develops, installs, or maintains these systems.
What qualifications are needed?
There is no one route to becoming an IT professional. Some people get started at an entry-level position, without the need of a college degree learn on the job, becoming accredited and experienced in the relevant technology.
Other roles require more technical expertise and can be studied for through traditional college courses or through technical examinations. Many more IT professionals are now pursuing degrees before entering the industry, especially if they are entering a competitive field or want to be involved in management.
Types of IT professional
As we’ve already mentioned, the professional encompasses many roles, including:
- Technical support – the traditional role that people may think of when you mention IT professionals. They are often found in companies providing break-fix maintenance and technical support to end-users.
- Engineers – set up and maintain IT networks and IT systems
- Software development – designing and coding the software that runs on IT systems.
- Web developers – designing and building the websites that we see every day.
- Systems analyst – this is a wide-ranging tole that requires a deep understanding of both hardware and software systems and how best to use these to meet an organizations’ IT needs.
- Cybersecurity specialist – this is a specialist that has never been more important due to the huge levels of cybercrime. Cybersecurity specialists design and secure IT systems against hacking and data loss.
The above roles are some of the main roles you will find in the IT profession. Depending on whether they are working in-house for a specialist IT company, there are many more specialist roles that people can move into. For example, many choose to specialize in networking or unified communications, or cybersecurity.
In-house IT managers and directors may have a less ‘ hands-on role when it comes to the hardware but work with management to assess the needs of an organization and design IT systems fit for purpose.
As you can see, there is no one type of IT professional. The sector itself is extremely complex, with new technology emerging all the time. No one person can be an expert in everything, which is why there are a number of specializations that exist and why companies choose to use the services of an IT company, rather than spend large sums of money trying to hire resources in-house
One thing is for sure, the role of the IT professional will continue to evolve within organizations as the uptake of technology and the need to protect it increases even further.