by Joe Taylor Jr., for FindTheRightSchool.com
As technology stocks waned in the last few months of the 20th century, some analysts worried that technology degrees wouldn't be as valuable as they had been during the "dot-com bubble." They couldn't have been more wrong.
It's not just industry heavyweights like Google and Apple who are acquiring new real estate to house all their new hires. Employers from nearly every market sector imaginable are luring professionals with computer training with competitive salaries, perks, and bonuses. With large companies taking their IT in-house and small businesses relying on outsourced providers, it seems that everyone in the world wants to hire technology professionals.
According to government statistics, these 10 jobs show the most promise over the next decade:
1. Information Systems Manager
Though the exact daily duties may differ from employer to employer, information systems managers determine the overall technology strategies for major companies. By combining computer training with business savvy, these managers make decisions about servers, bandwidth, and desktop tools for their companies.
Although many enterprise companies prefer to hire managers with advanced technology degrees, a shortage of qualified executives has opened the doors for job candidates with hands-on experience. Therefore, your current job and an enrollment in an online engineering degree program can put you in the running for a senior position that usually pays, on average, over $92,000 per year.
2. Database Administrator
Database administrators guarantee the security and the accessibility of information for employees and customers. Hiring officers often comment that computer training programs cannot produce skilled administrators quickly enough to meet their demands.
While many online computer science degree programs build basic database skills, administrators require ongoing computer training to stay up to date with the latest products. A bachelor's degree and an independent certification can qualify you for jobs at well-known companies where you can earn $85,000 or more per year.
3. Operating System Developer
While you might think that only a few major companies in America would employ operating system developers, "operating systems" have actually popped up in more devices than just computers. Manufacturers of mobile phones, cars, refrigerators, and other devices rely on highly skilled graduates of technology degree programs to develop custom software platforms.
Online technology courses in programming languages can help you secure a job in this growing field. Many operating system developers earn over $80,000 a year by complementing their understanding of source code with their intuition into human interaction. The next time you drop a quarter into a fancy soda machine, remember that machines as simple as this need operating systems, too.
4. Application Developer
One of the most exciting fields for recent graduates of online computer science degree programs involves building applications. Developers sometimes work for large companies, working on word processors, spreadsheet tools, and other familiar software tools. Many more programmers put their technology degrees to use on specialized projects ranging from consumer note-taking applications to medical research tools.
Many application developers working for larger companies earn over $70,000 per year. In some cases, compensation packages for developers can include tuition reimbursement programs for online technology courses. Other developers earn smaller salaries but own all or part of the companies at which they work, offering the chance to participate in technology startups.
5. Computer Systems Analyst
Working closely with information systems managers, analysts dig deeper into the kinds of tools that companies use to solve their computing challenges. In many cases, analysts earn over $66,000 in annual salary by using their computer training to evaluate hardware and software for their employers.
Many companies like to keep their analysts separate from their designers and programmers, allowing analysts the ability to remain detached when reviewing solutions. Therefore, online computer science degrees for future analysts often place a little more emphasis on academic research than on deeper programming skills.
6. Computer Systems Designer
With typical salaries of around $65,000 per year, many computer systems designers spend their time focused exclusively on a single function or on a particular section of a larger software project. While technology degrees are essential for job seekers in this field, hiring officers reward graduates with demonstrated interpersonal skills.
Many online computer science degree programs offer designers their first opportunities to work as part of a team on real world software projects. Like any creative field, computer systems design requires creative thinking and conflict resolution skills. Many designers enroll in online technology courses to stay current with new trends and techniques in their industries.
7. Data Processing Specialist
While managers and administrators provide the platform for company data, teams of specialists assure the accuracy of that data. In large enterprises, like banks and brokerage houses, highly skilled data processing specialists use their technology degrees and their industry specific knowledge to handle complex tasks like backups and data transfer.
If you already work in finance or medicine, online computer science degree programs can help you become familiar with databases and storage devices. This way, you can qualify for specialist jobs that frequently pay more than $64,000 per year.
8. Web Hosting Technician
Ten years ago, you might not have guessed that web hosting would be as universal and as reliable as electricity or running water. With so many companies and individuals relying on their online promotional sites, applications, and photo libraries, web hosting companies hunt for professionals with computer training to help serve their clients.
Web hosting jobs often require familiarity with software and hardware, as well as experience with large power generators and security systems. Senior technicians, especially graduates of online electrical engineer degree programs, can earn $64,000 per year or more.
9. Computer Support Specialist
Microsoft was once famous for its vision statement, "a computer on every desk." Now that we have mostly realized that dream, computer users require an unprecedented amount of technical support. Online computer science degree programs can prepare you for a challenging job that can be highly rewarding if you like to solve problems and work with people.
Though analysts once feared that most computer support specialist jobs would move overseas, consumer backlash has caused even more jobs to be located in the United States. Whether working via phone at a remote call center or in person at a local support facility, computer support specialists with technology degrees often earn more than $40,000 per year once they build a track record of quality service.
10. Desktop Publisher
Not every hot technology career requires a bachelor's degree. Many small companies rely on print shops and commercial printers to give their material a professional polish. Larger companies rely on staff members with computer training to produce internal documents like reports and manuals.
In both cases, desktop publishers take raw materials and use common software tools to shape them into attractive documents. Online degrees in desktop publishing can usually be completed in less than two years, qualifying graduates for jobs that often pay more than $32,000 a year.
Online Courses Connect Adults to IT Careers
In every one of the 10 careers profiled here, employers are eager to promote team members who can combine in-house experience with skills gained from computer training courses. Now that you can earn technology degrees from your desk or from any Internet connection, it's easier than ever to develop the technical expertise to qualify for a new job. Whether you make the move to a new position at your current employer or you use your skills to shift to a new company, online technology courses can help add crucial certifications to your resume.
Joe Taylor Jr. coaches musicians, entrepreneurs, and other adults that want to shift their careers. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Ithaca College.
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