Careers in IT: The Most Popular Career Paths in Information Technology

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Dec 14, 2018

Dec 14, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

The IT industry has become one of the fastest growing industries today. Experts expect global IT spending to top $4.8 trillion, with $1.5 trillion of that accounted for by the U.S. alone. It's no small wonder this is the case.

IT continues to be on the cutting edge of technology designed to make life better anyway it can. The growth of IT and the massive growth of the internet and e-commerce have a common trajectory. 

Many college graduates and those looking for a new career are searching for careers in IT. Who wouldn't want to jump head first into this lucrative industry that shows no signs of slowing down?

If you're thinking about a career in IT keep reading to learn about the various career paths. Start planning for your future now and get yourself a piece of that lucrative IT pie!

1. Information Security Analyst

Information security analysts protect an organization's data from cyber attacks and computer crimes.  They must stay up on current trends and threats in the cyber world to develop and implement computer security strategies. These strategies consist of preventive measures against a cyber attack and countermeasures in case of an actual attack.

The average salary for an information security specialist is between $70,000 and $90,000. Most employers require a bachelor's degree in information security, computer information systems, or network security. There are also various certifications you can acquire as well. These focus on specialized skills to confirm skill and expertise in those areas. 

Some employees will offer bonuses for having a certification, like increased pay and promotions.

2. Network Administrator

Network administrators install, support, and manage an organizations network and computer systems. Administrators are responsible for maintaining network software and hardware and fixing network problems. They also maintain performance standards and network availability.

Network administrators are also responsible for reducing cost by optimizing current systems. Because of this, they usually work with a team of IT specialists.

The average salary for a network administrator is between $57,000 and $69,000. Administrators must have a bachelor's in network administration, computer science, or systems engineering. Because of the scope of responsibility, some employers will also require a master's degree in one or more of the above programs or a related field.

3. IT Manager

IT managers work with senior executives and department heads to identify new technologies that increase efficiency and productivity. IT managers also create organizational IT policy, procedures, and best practices.

IT managers are responsible for troubleshooting IT problems and updating equipment. They rarely do this themselves though. Instead, most IT managers supervise a team of IT specialists and service technicians. This frees up the IT manager to ensure the technological needs of the organization are being met.

The average salary of an IT manager is between $84,000 and $135,000. IT managers must have a bachelor's in IT management, information technology or computer science. Many employers will also require an IT manager to have a Master's of Business Administration.

It is rare for a person who graduated college, even if it's with an MBA, to immediately get hired as an IT manager. Many spend 10 years or so in another IT position before receiving a promotion.

4. Web Developer

Web developers create web pages and web-based apps for organizations. They design the layout, choose the content on a web page, write code, and test web pages for optimization. Web developers work with organizations to ensure the website meets their expectations.

Web developers can also work within teams of other IT specialists to develop web technology. For example, Amazon's plan to develop a search-based retargeting program would require multiple IT specialists to include a web developer.

The average salary for a web developer is between $58,000 and $80,000. Developers need a bachelor's in either computer science, computer programming, or information systems. 

5. Software Engineer

Software engineers are responsible for designing, developing and improving operating systems, video games, business applications, and network control systems. This field divides into two areas, applications software engineers and systems software engineers.

Applications Software Engineers

Software engineers who fall under this category analyze an organization's IT needs. They also develop software solutions programs that will meet those needs. They'll use popular coding languages based upon need and the platform they're using. These languages include Java, C++, and Perl.

Systems Software Engineers

Engineers in this category create, maintain, and expand a company's internal computer systems. They will do this for each department within the organization and may also be responsible for ensuring system security.

The average salary of a software engineer is between $95,000 and $105,000. Engineers must have a bachelor's in computer science, computer programming, and computer engineering. 

6. Computer Hardware Engineer

Computer hardware engineers create and develop computer systems and parts for computer systems. Most computer engineers build products to sell commercially. Some build custom systems and components for individual organizations or firms.

Computer hardware engineering is one of the more exciting careers in IT currently.  This is because of the rise in mobile devices and new trends like 3D printing.  New technology requires new hardware.

The average salary for a computer hardware engineer is between $85,000 and $99,000.  You'll need a bachelor's degree in computer engineering or electrical engineering to get started. However, employers are more likely to want a master's degree as well.

7. Cloud Architect

When a company decides to transition from on-premise data storage to the cloud, they bring in a cloud solutions architect.  A cloud solutions architect designs and develops solutions to help a company transition to the cloud. They do this without interrupting operations and production.

Cloud architects provide cloud architecture that is scalable and has a high fault tolerance. The architecture must also be in line with company needs and best practices. They also manage all cloud infrastructure for the organization and ensure a smooth user experience for both public and private cloud services.

The average salary for a cloud architect is around $120,000. They must have a bachelor's in computer science, information systems, or information technology. With that said, having a master's degree on your resume improves your chances of landing a job even more. 

8. User Interface Designer

User interface designers provide a seamless and efficient user experience.  They combine programming, psychology, and creative design to craft a user interface that behaves how users expect it to.

User interface designers will typically work with an IT team to not only design and develop a seamless and efficient user experience but to also help troubleshoot any interface issues.

The average salary for a user interface designer is between $63,000 and $91,000. They need to have a bachelor's in computer science, software programming, or information technology.

9. Robotics Engineer

Robotics engineering has been around for a few decades and has come a long way since then. Now robotics engineers fall into one of three categories:

Computer Aided Drafting and Design

Responsible for designing and improving blueprints for robotic systems using programs like AutoCAD and SolidWorks.  These programs design plans and schematics. Many companies invest in IT outsourcing for this part of the development process. 


This is the hands-on construction of the actual robotic component. They are also heavily involved in creating the tools and process to manufacture the robot. These are the "gear-heads" of the robotic engineering world.

Research and Development 

Many researchers work in academia teaching others to be the future of the industry. Some work directly for organizations developing and designing innovative products.

The average salary for a robotics engineer is around $100,000. Currently, there are no robotic engineer education program paths. For those wishing to pursue a career in robotics a degree program in mechanical or electronic engineering with electives in the field of robotics is the best plan.

10. Computer Animator

Computer animators design visual images for film, tv, and video games, along with various other forms of media. Most computer animators succeed in the career field by specializing in something or finding their own niche. This allows them to become experts in one area instead of spreading their skills across multiple platforms.

The average salary for a computer animator is around $70,000.  Computer animators need to have a bachelor's in computer animation, multimedia design, graphic design, or fine arts.

Careers in IT: Choosing the Right One for You

With the rise in technology comes a rise in organizations investing in IT outsourcing. With more organizations outsourcing their IT needs there is a higher demand for careers in IT.

Much of the education requirements for working in IT apply for multiple career paths. Knowing what employers are requiring for education, average salary, and what types of careers are available in the IT industry will help you to plan for your future.  

To learn more about available careers in IT check out our careers page today! Start preparing yourself for your future career now!