Imagine losing $8.64 million in a year. That is the average cost of cybercrime to U.S. businesses in 2020, according to Statista. So, massive demand for information security analysts comes as no surprise. Some of the fastest-growing careers are in information technology (IT).
The strong demand for IT talent supports the value of an IT degree. With programs such as the Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) at Emporia State University (ESU), graduates can be ready to take their careers to the next level in as few as 12 months.
What Is Information Technology?
Information technology is exploding, but the term has been around since 1958 when Harold J. Leavitt and Thomas L. Whisler published "Management in the 1980s" in the Harvard Business Review. "Over the last decade, a new technology has begun to take hold in American business," they wrote. "The new technology does not yet have a single established name. We shall call it information technology."
Today, the term "information technology" is everywhere. IT acts as a company's technical infrastructure and connects to almost every aspect of a company's operations.
6 Career Paths in IT
Demand for IT specialists exceeds supply. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), projected job growth in IT is faster than the average for all other occupations. The development of cloud computing is one reason.
The BLS reports a median annual wage of $91,250 in IT, well over double the median salary for all occupations. ESU's MSIT program prepares graduates for wide-ranging roles in this opportunity-rich field, including the six IT jobs that follow:
Security Analyst: From social media networks to beef suppliers, a steep rise in cybercrime is making security a priority. According to the BLS, security analysts' employment should grow 33% from 2020 to 2030, far outpacing the average of 8% for all occupations.
Security analysts work to detect cyberthreats and reduce risk. ESU's program covers tools and techniques analysts use to analyze, design, document, and manage information systems projects. Coursework also addresses scenarios systems analysts face in the business world.
Median Pay: $103,590 per year in 2020, according to BLS
Software Developer/Engineer: Software developers build computer applications and programs, such as those for consumer electronics. Maintaining software "patches" is essential to improving security and thwarting cybercriminals.
Knowledge of programming languages is a must in this career. ESU's MSIT program builds Python, PHP, and Java coding skills — three in-demand languages.
Median Pay: $110,140 per year in 2020, according to BLS
Cloud Solutions Architect: Zoom has become a household word. This video-conferencing platform is just one example of how the COVID-19 pandemic is pushing businesses to the cloud. Gartner reports that 85% of organizations will embrace a "cloud-first" policy by 2025. Cloud architects help make these transitions happen.
ESU's program builds the solid technical background this IT role requires. For example, coursework in cloud computing and management provides practical problem-solving experience using public cloud tools.
Median Pay: $139,517 per year, per Glassdoor as of Dec 13, 2021
Systems Engineer: Job seekers with a big-picture mindset might consider this role. As the job title suggests, systems engineers support a company's technical infrastructure, from hardware and software to security.
ESU's MSIT online program can help candidates develop the skill set this position requires. Coursework covers tools and techniques for systems analysis, various programming languages, advanced database concepts, data security, and more.
Median Pay: $106,357 per year, according to Glassdoor, as of Dec 13, 2021
Network/Systems Administrator: Network downtime can be costly. When that downtime is unplanned, costs can be even greater. Network and systems administrators monitor and maintain networks to uphold efficient and secure operations. A talent for troubleshooting and problem-solving is a plus.
This IT role requires a broad range of knowledge and skills. From programming to cloud computing, ESU's MSIT can help candidates check the right boxes.
Median Pay: $84,810 per year in 2020, according to the BLS
IT Project Manager: Problem-solvers with strong analytic and interpersonal skills may excel in project management. IT project managers design and plan a company's technical projects. They oversee project teams and tasks to ensure standards are met. They also control time and costs to meet deadlines and stay within budget.
As more companies migrate to the cloud, demand for IT project managers will grow. ESU's MSIT program emphasizes current techniques for project management to prepare candidates for these leadership roles.
Median Pay: $151,150 per year in 2020, according to the BLS
The talent gap in IT makes this a great time to consider earning a master's in information technology. The BLS points to an "elevated long-term demand" for computer-related occupations such as IT security. Combined with the potential for six-figure salaries, IT offers exciting opportunities.
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