Infrastructure specialists, also known as computer systems engineers or architects, create, alter and manage a company's information centers. When they're first hired, specialists analyze the computer and communications system to identify any components that could be altered to better suit the company's needs. If their recommendations are accepted, infrastructure specialists typically take on the task of finding, installing and managing these new parts, systems or software programs.
Learning and Training
Infrastructure specialists generally need a bachelor's or higher degree in a field associated with information technology or computers. They should be knowledgeable about system security, cooling, cabling and power systems. Specialists often excel in programming, problem-solving and time management, but employers may seek candidates with experience. For example, the University of Texas-Arlington requires its data infrastructure specialist applicants to have at least one full year of experience in enterprise data storage and backup solutions.
Designing and Developing
Infrastructure specialists design, implement and oversee different systems depending on their position. They may focus on data centers that store information, messaging and communications equipment or general computer system operations. For example, messaging specialists for the University of Wisconsin-Madison maintain technologies including Office 365, Apache and Oracle Communications Suite. Other specialists may construct new software, control devices or systems for integrating and distributing information. Regardless of the project they're supervising, specialists ensure the system remains stable, accessible and secure.
Controlling and Critiquing
Once installation processes are complete, specialists become consumed with continuing maintenance, from troubleshooting user errors to upgrading programs to monitoring security measures. Between these tasks, they also may train staff members how to perform basic functions using software programs or when to conduct basic system maintenance, such as defragmenting disk drives. When serious problems occur, such as jammed lines or crashed systems, specialists refer to their logbooks to find solutions and figure out how to prevent malfunctions from reoccurring.
Working and Earning
According to ONet OnLine's work week scale, where 50 out of 100 represents exactly 40 hours, computer systems engineers and architects ranked at 76 -- well above a full-time schedule. ONet notes that in exchange for such dedication, they earned a median pay of $82,340 in 2013. The occupation is expected to grow between 3 and 7 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is slower than the average of all jobs. ONet estimates 40,200 additional positions will open during that period.