Learn About Being an IT Specialist
What does an IT specialist do?
Are you tired of looking for a job? Do you want to take control of your career? Maybe you’ve spent years and hundreds of thousands of dollars learning how the digital world works, and now you can’t find a job. Maybe you’ve gotten burned a few times that left you discouraged and fearful. Maybe you’re ready to take a risk. You’re ready to turn your passion for technology into a career. You’re ready to become an IT specialist.
The world of IT is wide and ever-changing, and there’s a lot of competition to get into it. But it’s not as impossible as you may think! You can build a successful IT career that’s completely in line with your values. It all starts with doing your research and making the right choice of technical certification.
IT specialists work with computer-based information systems. They may design, operate or maintain technology within technology companies, or within any business or agency that uses technology or manages large amounts of data. They often provide services related to networks, hardware, software, databases and web resources. They may perform network management, software development and database administration. Some IT specialists even design systems or perform assessments on the software their company currently uses. Other responsibilities include:
Developing innovative network troubleshooting methods to reduce downtime and lower repair costs
Monitoring changing network technology and delivering a technology update to the executive team each quarter
Working closely with the managers in each department to determine the maintenance and growth of a network
Working with external parties to identify the most appropriate system or integration of multiple systems
Protecting customer data from outside infiltration through encryption, secure data storage and other necessary means
IT Specialist Salary
As an IT specialist, your job is to support the business’s digital transformation. If you’re not, then you’re missing an opportunity to leverage your expertise and grow your career. From a business perspective, digital transformation is the process of improving the efficiency of business operations by leveraging technology and data. As a result, companies need specialists who can help make it happen. IT specialists are the go-to IT people in a company who can help companies modernize. As a result, they’re in high demand. In fact, according to PayScale, the average pay for an IT specialist is $94,000. However, there are a variety of factors that influence IT specialist salaries. Here’s what you need to know about what you can expect to earn as an IT specialist.
Salaries vary according to the geographic location and experience levels of the respiratory therapist.
Common salary in the U.S.: $15.28 per hour
Some salaries range from $7.25 to $31.70 per hour.
IT specialist requirements
There are a number of requirements to qualify for a position as an IT specialist, including
At the minimum, IT specialist positions typically require a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Information Science or another related field. Through your formal education, you will build a strong foundation in mathematics, science and engineering. You will also gain in-depth knowledge about programming languages, numerical analysis, data analysis and data structures.
Some employers prefer to hire candidates with a master’s degree in computer science or a related discipline. The advanced degree also can increase your opportunities for higher positions or rapid career advancement.
Internships provide valuable opportunities for obtaining hands-on experience in the information technology industry, which is especially important since companies prefer to hire candidates with experience. Internships allow you to obtain practical experience while making professional contacts in the industry.
There are a number of certifications that can be beneficial for a career in information technology. Some of the in-demand certifications for IT specialists starting out in their careers are:
Cisco Certified Network Associate
This is a lower-level certification that demonstrates to potential employers that you can install, operate and configure enterprise-level routers and switches. IT specialists with this certification can detect and solve common network problems.
CompTIA A+ Technician
With this entry-level certification, you have the proven knowledge to handle the maintenance of PCs, printers, operating systems, mobile devices and laptops.
his globally-recognized certification verifies that you have the ability to design, manage and troubleshoot both wired and wireless networks.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional
This globally recognized certification verifies your ability to protect organizations against cyber attacks. It proves both technical and managerial abilities to engineer and manage information security programs.
Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer
This is a mid-level certification that demonstrates to employers your ability to build innovative solutions across multiple technologies. This certification has a number of specializations, including desktop infrastructure, business intelligence, messaging and server infrastructure.
There are several skills IT specialists require to be successful in this role, including:
This includes both verbal communication and active listening. An IT specialist must be able to listen closely to extract the information needed to diagnose a problem. Active listening is particularly important when diagnosing problems over the phone or through a help desk chat. Additionally, the IT specialist must be able to explain complex information in simple terms that users can understand and implement to resolve a problem.
This refers to the ability to collect and analyze information, problem-solve and make decisions. An IT specialist must be able to analyze the information they are given and develop a practical solution. These skills include a strong grasp of mathematics—particularly the principles of geometry, calculus and statistics—to understand the inner workings of a telecommunications system.
Attention to detail
An IT specialist must have strong attention to detail to notice important pieces of information that others may have overlooked. Strong attention to detail can ensure timely resolutions when problems arise. IT specialists must be able to ask the right questions to guide the conversation, helping the customer or employee to explain an issue more thoroughly. The IT specialist must then listen carefully for details that could indicate the problem.
Time management skills
IT specialists primarily work alone and thus must have strong time management skills. This includes organization and prioritization to maintain a clear picture of what needs to be accomplished on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It also includes goal-setting, planning and delegation to ensure tasks are accomplished in a timely manner and that the tasks are in alignment with overall objectives.
These refer to the abilities and knowledge related to information technology. An IT specialist must have advanced technical skills, with extensive knowledge of information technologies and systems. They should be technology-savvy and able to resolve complex technical difficulties.
IT specialist work environment
IT specialists typically work in office environments with the following characteristics:
Sitting at a desk for extended periods
Using computers, printers, fax machines and other office equipment
Communicating with managers and collaborating with outside parties
Ensuring a system or website remains functioning at all times, which may require evening or weekend work
How to become an IT specialist
These are the typical steps you can use to pursue a career as an IT specialist:
1. Pursue an education
Search for open IT specialists in your area and determine the level of education required for those roles. Typically, this position requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. Pursue the level of education necessary to meet the minimum requirement. If you are still in high school, take computer and mathematics classes to build the foundation you will need for your formal education.
2. Obtain relevant experience
Many employers prefer to hire IT specialists with experience. Look for internship opportunities while you are completing your degree to gain practical experience and build relationships with others in the industry.
3. Acquire certifications
While certifications aren’t always required, they can make you a stronger candidate for IT positions, proving to employers that you have the necessary practical experience to complete the tasks required for a role. There are a number of certifications that are ideal for entry- to mid-level IT specialists.
4. Update your resume
Update your resume, including your highest level of education, work history and certifications. For each employment entry, include the name of the business, your title and the responsibilities you held. Try to emphasize the duties that are most relevant to a role as an IT specialist, highlighting key skills that could transfer to an IT specialist position.
5. Apply for IT specialist positions
Search for IT specialist positions in your geographic area and identify the roles for which you are most qualified. If you are short on relevant experience, look specifically for roles in small companies, which often require fewer years of experience. Apply for the positions you are most qualified for using your newly created resume and a cover letter that has been customized for the potential employer and role.
IT specialist job description example
Managed Fleet Services is seeking an IT specialist for our corporate office in Dallas. This person will be responsible for responding to, diagnosing and resolving problems through discussions with users on our ticketing system and live chat service. This will include problem identification, research, isolation, resolution and follow-up. The IT specialist will also help with system modification to reduce or prevent issues.
This person must have working knowledge of the information technology field and computer systems, analytical skills, and strong organizational and communication skills. A Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a related degree, and 1 to 3 years of experience, is required. A+ Certified is preferred.
If you’re interested in becoming a data manager, consider one of the following related careers: