Information technology, or IT, is the functional area in a company that develops methods for meeting a company's technology and information system's needs. Some IT professionals may also work in a technology company or start their own business. Careers vary, but earning potential is strong, especially at the management level. Computer information systems, or CIS managers earned a median annual salary of $115,780 in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Several common qualities exist in effective IT professionals.
Company workers often view IT as a troubleshooting resource when they have computer or technology problems. However, employers realize that information technology systems have major strategic implications within a company. Thus, top IT professionals have strong critical-thinking skills and understand the importance of strategic planning. Information-systems departments often plan and coordinate the purchasing and implementation of company hardware systems and software programs. In many organizations, integrated computer systems are essential to effective, efficient and cost-effective operations.
IT professionals need to communicate with others. While they do engage in a high degree of technical computer work, they must interact with colleagues in planning, coworkers in troubleshooting, and company administrators in building and maintaining a technology infrastructure. Given the strategic value of information systems, companies rely on effective communicators in the IT department.
The profession has advanced well beyond its technology foundation. Information-systems employees must have a macro perspective on their role within a business. They must value their ability to help a company grow and develop because of its technology infrastructure. Additionally, collaboration among employees is common in IT departments. Project teams often work on new technology build-ups or software projects.
For consulting companies or IT service firms, a service mentality aids in meeting the needs and requirements of clients. For internal departments, they must serve their fellow employees. In either case, IT professionals field calls from people who rely on their expertise and support to conduct work. In a customer-centric company, IT enables employees to have the tools to provide service.