Computer technology is a field with numerous career options. The number of opportunities available depends on the level of education you attain. An associate's degree will open up several opportunities, while a bachelor's degree will open up several more. Students of computer technology generally learn about both computer hardware and software. The quickly changing field of computer technology also makes it necessary to maintain ongoing education throughout your career.
Computer Support Specialist
Because the computer technology field changes rapidly and continuously, individuals and businesses will always be in need of professionals who can help them troubleshoot and streamline their computers and network systems. An associate's degree in computer technology can prepare you for a career as a computer support specialist. A computer support specialist is someone who provides a service to computer owners by providing technical advice or even hands-on assistance for computer-related problems or glitches. Computer support specialists can be employed in a hardware- or software-related industry. Because they are well versed in a number of different computer applications, they sometimes write support manuals for software and hardware companies. They also sometimes simply perform the role of a customer service specialist by responding to inquiries from the general public. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects continued growth in this field at a rate of about 14 percent in terms of job growth through 2018. As of May 2008, the average wage of computer support specialists nationwide was $43,450.
A bachelor's degree in the field of computer technology can prepare you for a career in software development. Many schools offer various areas of specialization within their computer and information technology degree programs. Students choosing a career in software development can expect even better job growth according to Bureau of Labor Statistics projections. Through 2018, the number of jobs in this field is expected to increase by 21 percent. In short, computer software developers use math and computer science to develop, test and analyze software. Software development tracks like the one offered at Purdue University train students in languages like C programming and visual programming. They also introduce students to other topics like programming for the internet and object-oriented software design. The median annual salary for software developers, as of May 2008, was $85,430.
Because of the increased importance of the internet and the use of computer networks in business, students in computer technology may choose to follow the career path of a computer networking architect or administrator. This field is yet another where the job growth is expected to be particularly good through 2018 with a projected rate of job growth around 30 percent. Computer network architects are responsible for planning and implementing networks for homes and businesses. Network administrators are responsible for installing networks as well, but often play a key role in the ongoing administration and maintenance of the network. They work in a variety of settings including businesses and academic institutions. Pay varies according to what setting you work in, but the average annual wage of network administrators, as of May 2008, was $66,310. Most network administrators have obtained a bachelor's degree or higher.