IT Specialist
How to Become an

IT Specialist

The complete career guide to be an IT Specialist: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $42,140
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • -19%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Creativity Focused
    Career Attribute
  • Dependable Daily Workload
    Career Attribute

An IT Specialist installs, modifies and repairs personal computer software and hardware problems, as well as providing technical support to computer system users.


What is an IT Specialist?

The following responsibilities are common for IT Specialists:

  • Identifies and installs the computer hardware and software needed to assist the client with their needs
  • Customizes and adapts existing computer programs to meet the user’s requirements
  • Provide technical support to customers through different forums, online, in person or telephone
  • Assists with and provides updates and status information to users
  • Connects users to networks and provides training of applications to users

A Day In The Life

IT specialists work with computer based information systems.  They work with both the computers’ hardware and software components.  They coordinate installations, troubleshoot computer systems and networks, and maintain and upgrade software and hardware systems. Their role is to safeguard databases and information, which requires them to take proper measure to protect the confidentiality and integrity of data.

They assist in the facilitation of the use of their companies’ technologies including intranet, email, FTP and internet services and access.  They help individuals and companies set-up and plan the most cutting edge and current security strategies.  To ensure the client has received the most secure security system, they conduct risk assessments and analyze any potential risk to the user with in the perameters of what the client needs and budget.

Typical Work Schedule

Most IT specialists typically work full-time following the regular working schedule of 40 hours per week. However, you may need to work for longer hours in some instances when a major update is being installed in the system or a major extension is needed. Computer and network systems are currently essential for the flow of work, particularly in organizations as universities, ecommerce companies, banks or airports. You should always be available on call if you work at such workplaces but it generally more rewarding. Most of these organizations have IT specialists working in shifts 24 hours a day so may also expect to work in alternating morning, evening and night shifts. Additionally, you are required to get regular training to stay updated regarding the new products and technologies introduced in the field.

Projected Job Growth

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for IT specialists and other support services is expected to grow by at least 8 % from 2009 to 2019 which is faster than the average of all other jobs. There are more and more companies upgrading their computer hardware and software which is getting more complex increasing the demand for IT specialists. The IT department is currently an essential part of all companies and even small companies need to outsource IT services to maintain and protect the IT system and network.

Typical Employers

Statistics indicate that there are more than 850,000 IT specialists employed in the US and the number is increasing by more than 60,000 per year. IT specialists can work in almost any company or organization because of how their jobs have become more relevant than ever. The first choice for them is usually working in computer systems design and other related fields which ranges from the huge corporations like Google, Facebook, etc. to smaller companies and other software publishers where their equipment needs to be constantly monitored and improved. You can also work in IT services companies as Plaxonic technologies, Relevant Software, Skelia and Cyber Infrastructure Inc. Additionally, IT specialists are critically needed to some industries as manufacturing, healthcare, banking and finance, airlines, media and ecommerce.


How To Become an IT Specialist

A bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology or a related field is typically recommended for this position, as well as certain certifications for particular computer systems and technologies used on a regular basis. Certifications for Microsoft, Cisco and Oracle to name a few.  IT Specialists are expected to have a high level of competence on various computer programming languages, as well as knowledge of computer hardware and software types and brands.  These individuals should also know how to work with different operating systems and must be able to install hardware like modems and hard drives.  As well as being knowledgeable in troubleshooting software and hardware problems.

Most employers desire employees with coding and software language experience and that come from a Microsoft Windows environment, while knowledge and understanding of other language is also useful and helpful.  To be considered specialist an individual must have at least 3 to 5 years of entry level IT experience in a specific field.  An individual should choose a specific path that they wish to follow, such as, programming assistance, application design or internet security.


IT Specialist Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range

$30,280

Average

$42,140

High Range

$61,520

National Hourly Wage

Low Range

$15/hr

Average

$20/hr

High Range

$30/hr

How do IT Specialist salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, IT Specialist's can make an average annual salary of $42,140, or $20 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $30,280 or $15 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #490 Nationally for All Careers


Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming an IT Specialist. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.


Highest Education Among IT Specialists

  • 0.6%   Doctorate
  • 5.8%   Masters
  • 25%   Bachelors
  • 14.9%   Associates
  • 28.9%   College
  • 21.5%   High School
  • 3.1%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

61,100

2024 Est. Jobs

49,500

Job Growth Rate

-19%

Est. New Jobs

-11,600

How does IT Specialist job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of -11,600 jobs for a total of 49,500 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a -19% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #784 Nationally for All Careers


What Companies Employ The Most IT Specialists

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Data processing, hosting and related services 4,700 -1,000 -1%
Computer systems design and related services 4,400 -400 0%
Management of companies and enterprises 4,300 -900 -1%

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