Inside IT Specialist Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises


"The surprising thing about my profession is that a lot of people trust me to do my job. For the most part, I am independent and responsible for a lot of things around the workplace. Often times, other coworkers expect that I know everything and know how to solve their problems quickly." (IT; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Arizona, male
School: Studied Computing at DeVry in Arizona; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Creativity To Solve Problems...
The amount of opportunities to be creative and try new things to solve problems." (Systems Engineer; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, male
School: Studied IT at Black Hawk College in Illinois; completed Diploma degree in 2002


"Programmers Know Different Languages...
Most people are surprised about the different languages I get to program in. They have little understanding what it even means to program, but they have even LESS understanding that different programmers have different specialties and know different languages." (IT Developer; 2014)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, male
School: Studied History at University Of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2005


"Redundant Work Is Necessary...
I am surprised about how much redundant work is necessary in this field. Also I am surprised at the amount of menial issues that IT professionals have to deal with." (Information Technology; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Maryland, male
School: Studied Comp Sci at Umd in Maryland; completed Bachelor degree in 2010


"Smart Decision Making Using Smart Maps...
I was surprised at the extremely wide range of GIS users at all levels of local government. From traffic signal engineers, to Economic Development specialists, to real estate agents to plumbers. I have also been very surprised at the growth rate of GIS technology and use. It has become a widespread, everyday occupation for many people the world over. There is no end in sight." (Geographic Information Systems Coordinator; 2013)

Career: 20 years of experience, currently based in Indiana, male
School: Studied Geographic Information Systems at Ball State University in Indiana; completed Bachelor degree in 1994


"Technology Updates Require You To Continue Your Education Yearly...
What most surprised me was the amount of experience needed for the IT field. When you get your degree after college don't expect to first jump into a Networking position. It requires a 2-4 years of experience with the degree before moving into a better position. As Desktop support you need to learn to speak and write to employees/end users without using technical terms so they can understand it. One major thing is to accept you will never know everything, IT is such a huge field. If you are going into the IT Support Specialist side (Jack of all trades). You won't be a master at one thing, but you have to know a little of it all (Windows Server, Linux, Switching, Routing, SAN Storage, Active Directory). The main surprise as mentioned before is don't expect a nice paying job right out of college. I am still in Entry level position, give it 2-3 years of experience than look for your dream job. The number one surprise is how fast technology changes. Do not expect to be done learning/reading you will continue to need to advance your knowledge and keep up with the new technology." (IT Support Specialist; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in New Jersey, male
School: Studied Information Technology, Computer Networking at Penn College Of Technology in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"I Am Astonished To Have Found A Good IT Job In My Local Area...
I was surprised to find an above average paying job in Information Technology in my local area. IT jobs are very difficult to find in my area, especially ones that pay more than $35,000 a year." (Computer Systems Specialist; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Louisiana, male
School: Studied Business Administration at Northwestern State University in Louisiana; completed Bachelor degree in 2010


"What Skill Is Most Important In IT...
I was surprised that IT is about 10% fixing things, 90% dealing with people. I got into this profession wanting to just fix tech stuff, however it's more about dealing with customers/people." (IT Consultant; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Massachusetts, male
School: Studied Computer Science at University Of Massachusetts Dartmouth in Massachusetts; completed Bachelor degree in 2008


"Who Has Access To Your Info...
The type of information I have access to. It would be fairly easy to steal this information and use it for illegal purposes." (Technical Support; 2013)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Utah, male
School: Studied Information Technology at Utah Career College in Utah; completed Associate degree in 2010


"Customer Service Skills Are Just As Important As IT Skills...
Good customer service will take you further than you think! People are so frustrated with IT problems, that a single, calm, helpful voice will mean the world to them." (IT Support Specialist; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Kentucky, male
School: Studied Pharmacy at University Of Kentucky in Kentucky; completed Associate degree in 2008


"Excessive Amounts Of Down Time...
I was surprised at the amount of down time you have between projects and programs that you have." (Application Specialist; 2013)

Career: 18 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, male
School: Studied Computer Programming For Business at Kalamazoo Valley Community College in Michigan; completed Associate degree in 2012


"More About Transmission Than IT...
I was surprised at the learning I did on the job. Working as an MIS Engineer at a TV station, I thought I would be focused on IT work. Little did I know, I was learning microwave transmissions, DTV Frequencies and other areas in the Telecommunications field." (MIS Engineer; 2013)

Career: 7 years of experience, currently based in Florida, male
School: Studied Computer Engineering at Hillsborough Community College in Florida; completed Associate degree in 2006


"I Was Surprised By The Number Of Dummies In IT...
I am surprised how many opportunities there are in IT, and how many good jobs are filled with people that are completely unqualified. The lack of qualified workers amazes me." (IT Engineer; 2013)

Career: 12 years of experience, currently based in Massachusetts
School: Studied Computer Information Systems at Bryant University in Rhode Island; completed Bachelor degree in 2004


"Good Explanations For Understanding...
I was surprised at how much computer programming plays in software training. My degree has made me a better trainer with being able to explain why the system works the way it does. Sometimes my explanations help the new employees understand why things need to be done they way they do." (Software Trainer; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Minnesota, female
School: Studied Computer Programming at Baker College Online in Michigan in 2010


"Look For Individuals With The Ability To Learn Rather Than Those Who Are Complacent...
You can never know everything about your profession. Best goal is to is be broad in everything but specialize in a specific area. You must know enough about other areas of IT to be productive in your area." (Network Manager; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Texas, male
School: Studied IT Security at WGU in Texas; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"I Had No Idea How Much Real Word Experience Counted In The IT Industry...
I was surprised to find out how much experience counts in the world of IT. I've found that most companies would rather hire someone with 4 years of experience, than someone with 0 years of experience, and 4 years of college." (IT Training Manager; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Kentucky, male
School: Studied Computer Science at University Of Cincinnati in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 2010


"Math Skills Almost As Important As Interface Skills...
I was surprised to find how much math was related to networking. I knew there was subnetting, but never know the extent until doing labs, and practice. Once I got into the job we just used calculators. But still need to know it for the exam." (Cisco Networking; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, male
School: Studied Cisco Networking at Cincinnati State in Ohio; completed Certificate degree in 2010


"Working Hard...
What has surprised me most about my career is the seemingly unlimited amount of down time that we have at work. When we have something to do it is very intensive and difficult to figure out, but I spend a large majority of the day relaxing and surfing the internet." (IT; 2014)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, male
School: Studied Economics at University Of Michigan in Michigan; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Use Of Remote Work Software...
I was surprised by the number of support cases I was able to solve remotely. I assumed working in support would require me to move around the building a lot, or travel to many different locations. However, thanks to modern telecommuting technologies, I can solve many problems from my desk, or wherever I happen to be at the time. Not having to travel so often increases my productivity." (IT Support Specialist; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Maryland, male
School: Studied Information Systems at University Of Maryland in Maryland; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"People Are More Difficult To Fix Than Computers...
I was surprised by the kind of people I assist through my work. When I chose this career path I imagined working through computer issues alone or with one or two others. The reality was answering questions about e-mails and working on internet outages. Working in IT is much more social than I had imagined and a good ability to work with others is a must." (Technical Support Specialist; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Alabama, male
School: Studied Gen Computer Systems at Calhoun Community College in Alabama; completed Certificate degree in 2012


"A Career That Is Ever Constantly Changing And Evolving Yet Is Very Rewarding"...
I was first surprised at how much there was and still is to learn after graduating, receiving technical certifications as well as gaining experience through my first few positions. The field is ever constantly changing and evolving and there for one must stay on top of the current technologies and continue to push ones self to learn and expand your knowledge base." (IT Specialist; 2013)

Career: 16 years of experience, currently based in Maryland, female
School: Studied Computer Science at Towson in Maryland; completed Bachelor degree in 1998


"Easier Than Expected...
I was surprised how easy the job was. It is good to help as many people as I do, which was not anticipated." (Cosmetologist; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, female
School: Studied Cosmetology at Tricocci University in Indiana; completed Certificate degree in 2012


"Programming Not Necessary...
Most people would be surprised by how little programming I do. My job consists of clicking the mouse on a few models to make changes." (Data Modeler; 2014)

Career: , male
School: Studied Information Systems at University Of Cincinnati in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"No Formal Education, Excellent Pay...
I have never been to school for this work. I'm surprised how easy it is to get into such a career and how well you can be compensated when you have a lot of experience." (Computer Lab Tech; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Florida, female
School: Studied Environmental Science at Polk State College in Florida; completed Associate degree in 2012


"Learning From Colleagues...
I was surprised at how much more you can learn from your co workers than you do in school. My education laid a perfect groundwork for what I would be getting into and to get the job. The colleagues you work with have a particular way of doing things and tools available to them that they use to do the things you are aware of." (IT Administrator; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Indiana, male
School: Studied MCSA at TechSkills in Indiana; completed Certificate degree in 2010


"Teamwork And A Great Design Is Important...
What surprised me the most about my career is how much I would be working with a team of others rather than on my own. Also, how important the "end user experience" is to the things that I build and design." (IT Specialist; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, male
School: Studied Computer Science at Appalachian State University in North Carolina; completed Associate degree in 2008


"Quality Of Work, Not Quantity...
Most people in my field, IT, are surprised by how little work they actually do even though they do work for large, powerful companies. While some weeks are super stressful and long hours, there are also some weeks where I do as little as two hours of actual work. In the end it is all about the quality of work I provide, not quantity. It is also surprising how little people in these large powerful Fortune 500 companies know when we communicate with them." (Software Consultant; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Colorado, male
School: Studied Management Information Systems at Iowa State University in Iowa; completed Bachelor degree in 2009


"Technology Is Ever Changing...
I was surprised to find out that it's more "who you know" than "what you know". I was also surprised to find out that you have to keep learning to stay up-to-date with technology." (QA Analyst; 2013)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Florida, female
School: Studied Management Information Systems at University Of Central Florida in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2005


"GIS Prepared Me For Different IT Tasks...
The diversity of projects and different applications for GIS. Also that GIS is often linked to other IT tasks. I started as a GIS specialist, but my tasks began to bleed over into more traditional IT projects. Now I do both." (IT/GIS Specialist; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Oregon, male
School: Studied GIS at Portland State University in Oregon; completed Certificate degree in 2003


"People Are Dumb...
People are idiots. Simple tasks from people much smarter than me, are routinely failed." (IT; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Florida, male
School: Studied Business Management at U Of Florida in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2005


"My Skills Became Obsolete Very Quickly...
I learned that working in the IT field requires learning new skills all the time. There are always new Operating Systems to learn about." (Computer Deployment Specialist; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, male
School: Studied Network Engineering at Global Information Technology in Michigan; completed Certificate degree in 2010


"People Don't Read...
How often people don't read. They skip words that would help them figure out the problem." (IT; 2013)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, male
School: Studied IT at West Chester in Pennsylvania; completed Diploma degree in 1999


"Control Of Software Quality Has Never Been More Important Than Today...
I was surprised that current practices in software development put so much emphasis on software quality and interaction with the customer. Never thought quality control in software development could play such an important role." (Software Quality Engineer; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Washington, male
School: Studied Computer Science at Warner Pacific College in Oregon; completed Bachelor degree in 2008


"I was surprised to get paid so much for something I love to do. I didn't realize how enjoyable my work would be. I thought I would be slaving away in a dark room with little contact with people, but I am challenged every day and I love coming up with new solutions. I have met a wide variety of interesting people in my job." (Information Technology Specialist; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Wisconsin, female
School: Studied Technology at Menominee Tribal College in Wisconsin; completed Associate degree in 2011


"Lack Of Work For Older Americans...
I was surprised at how difficult it would be to find a job at my age." (Technical Support; 2013)

Career: , currently based in Georgia, female
School: Studied Computer Science at Troy University in Alabama; completed Bachelor degree in 2006


"I was surprised to learn that it is relatively easy to get a well paying IT support job without a bachelors degree. Many jobs only require certifications that can even be earned online." (Software Developer; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, male
School: Studied Computer Science at North Carolina State University in North Carolina; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"IT Operations Entails More Than I Thought...
I was most surprised by the very wide range of skills and skill sets that fall under the IT umbrella. What from the outside looked like a fairly straightforward department is made up of large group of diverse people all working in concert to keep everything running smoothing for the rest of the company." (Lead Engineer; 2013)

Career: 9 years of experience, currently based in Arizona, male
School: Studied Electronics Engineering Technology at DeVry in Arizona; completed Bachelor degree in 2002


"Being Effective In IT Requires A Wide Range Of Knowledge...
I was surprised that many of the people I work with are very limited in their computer skills. They know how to follow our limited helpdesk scripts, but they don't have an intuitive ability to troubleshoot or understand how computer hardware works. I thought people in IT would be technically inclined, adept, and willing to come up with clever solutions, but I've found that many people go into this field because they just like to spend time behind a computer screen - not that they're good at working with computers." (IT Helpdesk Tech; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Computer Science at University Of California, Santa Cruz in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2008


"Technology Is Awesome...
When I started out, there was literally Windows 1.0. We didn't get Windows 95 for 4 more years. Now I have in my pocket what was equivalent to a supercomputer back then with an operating system that Bill Gates couldn't have dreamed of." (IT Specialist; 2013)

Career: 24 years of experience, currently based in Arizona, male
School: Studied Computer Engineering at UNCW in North Carolina; completed Associate degree in 1992


"Lack Of Knowledge...
I was surprised, as a Technology Specialist at a large school district in South Carolina, how little teachers know about computers. It is amazing that people can be so incredibly incompetent about very basic things about their computers. It can be very frustrating at times." (Technology Specialist; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in South Carolina, male
School: Studied Educational Technology at Aquinas College in Michigan; completed Master degree in 1994


"Be Prepared For A Thank-Less Job...
I was surprised to find how little people care about what goes into your job to get the results they're interested in. And only interested in your "other worldly" skills to fix whatever problem the dreaded IT world has created for them." (Programmer / Analyst; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, male
School: Studied Information Technology With A Networking Background at University Of Cincinnati in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 2010


"Clients Reactions To IT...
As an Internal Systems Auditor I am always surprised how naive some clients can be regarding systems security. When I audit I also try to inform clients on the risks and rewards of using the system and how to mitigate risks." (Internal Auditor; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Arizona, male
School: Studied Accounting at Arizona State University in Arizona; completed Professional degree in 2012


"You May Go From Ace Programmer To Project Manager...
I was surprised by the push among many American companies to cease doing in-house software development, relying instead on foreign companies. Graduates with degrees in IT may find themselves in project management roles, whether they like it or not, while the more technical work is pushed overseas." (IT Analyst; 2013)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, male
School: Studied Computer Science at Illinois State University in Illinois; completed Master degree in 2003


"Opportunity Is Abound In IT...
I am surprised at how easy the IT field is to get into. There are so many opportunities out there in the field." (IT Specialist; 2014)

Career: , currently based in Illinois, male
School: Studied Information Systems at Illinois State University in Illinois; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"College Doesn't Prepare You For This...
What surprised me most was the fact that I'm not using even half of what I learned in college at my job. I focus mainly on daily operations in an IT Environment that specializes with Mobile Device Management, off-site repair work, and mobile/pager replacement, and of the classes I took, none of them truly prepared me for the daily operations that I do." (Communications Analyst; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in New York, male
School: Studied Multidisciplinary Studies at Rochester Institute Of Technology in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2010


"The Blame Will Go To You...
I am surprised how much people like to blame others for their mistakes. People will get a virus on their computer that clearly came from searching on some shady website and they will blame it on someone else using their computer or sometimes even me. It is funny when it happens and it happens often." (IT Field Technician; 2013)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Texas, male
School: Studied Computer Networking at Hallmark College in Texas; completed Associate degree in 2006


"A Traditional Four Year College Degree Not Required...
I was surprised that I could make good money with just my Army technical training and also key industry certifications. No college degree is needed." (Programmer/Analyst; 2013)

Career: 20 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, male
School: Studied Computer Science at US Army Computer Science School in Georgia in 1990


"Unavailability Of Full Time Positions...
What surprised me the most about my profession is the amount of contract jobs that are available post graduation. It was extremely difficult to find a full time position that actually had benefits. Most IT positions are contracted out to third party vendors and many of the positions only last for 6 months to a year with little to no benefits." (IT Supervisor - Tier 2 Support Technician; 2014)

Career: 5 years of experience, male
School: Studied Computer Information Systems at Western Kentucky University in Kentucky; completed Bachelor degree in 2009


"IT Workers Often Miss The Point...
I was surprised how few people in IT don't understand that the purpose of IT is to serve other business or organizational interests. A lot of IT people I have worked with think IT exists just for its own sake." (Network Engineer; 2013)

Career: 23 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, male
School: Studied Computer Science at Central Michigan University in Michigan in 1991


"Great Demand For IT Audit Services...
I was most surprised at how extensive the range of services and activity of IT Audit. In school you always learn about marketing, finance, and accounting as the most prominent career options and IT always seems to be a support function (which to some out there that's all it is). When I entered my profession and saw the variety of IT audits, the different clients that require such services, and the sheer number of systems it was mind-blowing." (IT Audit; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in New York, male
School: Studied Information Technology at University Of Virginia in Virginia; completed Bachelor degree in 2010


"An IT Degree Is No Guarantee Of A Job...
I was surprised at the lack of positions available for IT professionals in the US. Most people think that a degree in the IT field will guarantee a well-playing job. This was the case back in the 1990's, but is no longer the case, since many entry level IT work is done by immigrant labor." (IT Assistant; 2014)

Career: 9 years of experience, currently based in District of Columbia, male
School: Studied Computer Science at University Of Maryland in Maryland; completed Associate degree in 2001


"Computer Science Is A Challenging Field That Provides A Lot Of Growth...
on how challenging it would be and how much it would challenge what I could do and help me grow in my area. there is always something new to learn or to make me learn as I go." (IT; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Florida, male
School: Studied Computer Science at Alabama in Alabama; completed Bachelor degree in 2009


"The Ever Changing World Of IT...
I am surprised at how much technology has changed to the point where everything is automated. It has gotten to the point where on-site IT is no longer needed. I am also surprised that companies place all of there decisions on saving as much money as possible regardless of work quality." (Data Center Analyst; 2013)

Career: 27 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, male
School: Studied Electrical Engineering at ITT Technical Institute in California; completed Associate degree in 1987


"Need To Learn New Technology Without Training...
I am currently working for a HUD Housing Authority, so the biggest surprise for me was the amount of technology that's been invested in and how much of it I had to learn without proper training. A lot of it was done on-the-job and on-the-fly, so being adaptable and able to assimilate knowledge quickly are useful skills." (Information Technology; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Indiana, male
School: Studied Computer Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute Of Technology in Indiana; completed Bachelor degree in 2005


"Disconnection Between Administration And Faculty...
I was surprised by the disconnect between the Provost's office and the faculty using the technology in the classroom. As a consultant, I find that the Provost office has little actual knowledge of what the faculty needs are. I was also surprised how little some faculty are actually willing to work at learning new technology." (Senior Academic Consultant, Educational Technology; 2013)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in Texas, male
School: Studied Religious Education, Specialization In Radio And Television at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas; completed Master degree in 1997


"Not A Geek...
I blended the Accounting degree with second IT degree and when I tell people that I am not a 'geek' but a business professional that ties the accounting side with the IT side they are quite surprised!" (Information Technology; 2012)

Career: 30 years of experience, currently based in New York, male
School: Studied Accounting at Canisius College in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 1977


"More Communications And Design Skills Needed...
I need very good communication skills. I also need more design skills than I thought I needed - maybe ill get an mfa next :)" (Information Architect; 2012)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Information Science at University Of North Texas in Texas; completed Master degree in 2012


"I was surprised that the people I work with know so little about computers. Every time I go into work I am subsequently shocked by how much more I know than them. I thought my lack of knowledge was going to be my downfall at this job." (IT Consultant; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, male
School: Studied Journalism at SIU in Illinois; completed Associate degree in 2003


"I was surprised to find out that I would have to do so much communicating. At my job, I am the middle man and have to talk to both the business people and the computer people. Therefore I have to interpret business wants into computer needs. The second thing that I found surprising was that there are so many failed projects. There can be an ample amount of failed projects before being successful. That was not something I was used to while doing projects in school." (Information Technology Analyst; 2012)

Career: 2 years of experience, male
School: Studied Information Technology at San Francisco State in California; completed Master degree in 2010


"I was surprised to learn that good communication skills are needed to do my job effectively. In order to provide excellent service, it is a must to understand what the client needs." (IT Specialist; 2012)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Arkansas, female
School: Studied Database Management And Computer Programming at UA Fort Smith in Arkansas; completed Bachelor degree in 2008


"I'm surprised at how easy it is to do now that I know what I'm doing. Learning the skills helped me in my career" (Business Owner/ It Consultant; 2012)

Career: 17 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, male
School: Studied Information Technology at Georgia Tech in Georgia; completed Master degree in 1994

Best & Worst Things About This Career


Information Technology Engineer: "The best part of the job is meeting new people and learning new skills. With each new position I have had, I have always learned a new skill; whether it be on my own, with the direction of a colleague, or from users themselves. The only draw back to working in this field is the potential for long work hours at times. While this is often rare, it does happen. You may also start your career doing phone support which I firmly believe to be a good thing. Not only will you enhance your small talk skills, but you will learn to walk a user through a problem without actually seeing what is happening on their end." (2011)


IT Analyst: "The best part of my career is that I have complete control over my schedule as long as tasks are completed on time. For the inexperienced, this can be the worst part since it provides a lot of opportunity to slack off and not do your job since you are unsupervised. Outside of that, being occasionally on-call 24/7 to provide off-hours support and working with demanding executives are the worst parts of the job." (2011)


Research Vice President: "The best part of my job is that I work from home. Eight per cent of the 4,000 employees who work for my company do likewise. I can create my own schedule and am able to be part of my small children's lives. I love my job so there are not any "worst" parts. I think the only thing that is challenging is that most of my work is done via the phone. I do have to travel a couple of times per month to go to vendors' and client's sites." (2010)

Career Background


IT Specialist

  Salaries
  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips


"Consider IT Certifications...
If you want to be successful in IT, consider supplementing your education with IT certifications. They can go a long way in setting you apart from other potential job applicants." (IT Specialist; 2014)


"Be A "Jack Of All Trades" In The IT Field...
In the IT field, try to learn as many platforms and system types as possible, and look out for newer technology. It's better to have some experience with many difference applications than to focus on just one, which may become outdated or obsolete." (IT Assistant; 2014)


"Learn To Communicate And Network...
If you want to be successful in the computer consulting industry, focus on your soft skills. Being able to talk to people and get along with all your managers and clients is much more important than being able to fix a line of code." (Software Consultant; 2014)


"Most Important Skill: Database Design...
Build a solid base in database design skills and become proficient in SQL." (Data Modeler; 2014)


"Certifications And Internships...
If you want to be successful in IT a great tip would be to put in the effort to get an internship or possibly get additional certifications while getting your degree. Focusing specifically on customer service skills and getting some form of certification, be it HDI or A+ would lead to a huge advantage when looking for open positions." (IT Supervisor - Tier 2 Support Technician; 2014)


"Communication Skills Are Mandatory...
If you want to be successful as a daily operations person, you need to build up your communications skills, and the ability to work under pressure. Every communicated detail counts when you are working toward the goal of repairing a remote site issue." (Communications Analyst; 2014)


"To Program, Learn 1-2 Languages...
If you want to be successful in programming, become proficient in one or two popular languages. It will increase your changes of getting a job." (IT Developer; 2014)


"Practice Makes Perfect...
If you want to be a successful IT Specialist, I would begin using a computer at a very young age and continue using it as much as possible throughout your life. The best way to learn is practice, and using a computer is technically IT practice" (IT; 2014)


"Don't Get Down...
Don't let people get you down. It can be frustrating working in IT. Don't let the bombardment of simple things that require only a tiny bit of knowledge to fix get you down." (Technology Specialist; 2013)


"Get It While You're Young...
Go to school while you are young. It is difficult to find a job once you reach a certain age." (Technical Support; 2013)


"Study Servers Since It Seems To Be A Key Component In Jobs...
Study Servers, it seems to be the most used knowledge." (Computer Systems Specialist; 2013)


"Real World IT Experience...
Try to get your foot in the door somewhere as soon as possible as it is very difficult to find a job without any experience." (IT Training Manager; 2013)


"Specialize...
If you want to be successful in IT, pick a popular component of it and specialize at first. There is always a shortage of people in hot technologies" (IT Engineer; 2013)


"Keep Learning...
Having diverse skills and the willingness to learn will help you keep a balanced career. Being too focused in one area will limit you and as the technology changes it could easily leave you behind. Always be willing to learn new things." (IT/GIS Specialist; 2013)


"Stay Busy...
Always ask for more work" (Application Specialist; 2013)


"Software Interaction...
Make sure you understand how software programs interact with each other especially if you are thinking about a career in healthcare IT." (Software Trainer; 2013)


"Always Try To Keep Working Hard And Learning New Things That Will Aid You...
don't give up when you get frustrated just keep going. also ask questions when you get stuck someone may be able to help you. never stop trying to learn something new that would help you." (IT; 2013)


"Importance Of Separating Personal Life From Time Spent At Work...
Working in software quality department may be stressful at times, especially due to deadlines and frequent dependency on other people and quality/speed that they work with. But like with any job, try to treat each situation at workplace as something not personal, just work related." (Software Quality Engineer; 2013)


"Stay Calm...
Be calm and collected in every conversation. It will calm everyone's nerves around you." (IT Support Specialist; 2013)


"When It Doubt, Reboot...
If you want to be successful in the world of IT, have a strong knowledge of windows, and remember that when in doubt, reboot." (Systems Engineer; 2013)


"Development...
Develop a niche area and become specialized" (Internal Auditor; 2013)


"Don't Overspecialize - Develop Broad Skills...
To be effective in IT, you need to have a good understanding of hardware and software. It's good to have a solid grasp on specialty topics, but if you can't understand how your specialty fits into the bigger picture, you will be limited and unable to adapt as technology changes." (IT Helpdesk Tech; 2013)


"Diversify Your Skill-Set...
Try to get as many certs as you can to diversify your skill-set. IT is a very demanding world and management will attest that what you do is extremely difficult however they still expect more for less." (Programmer / Analyst; 2013)


"Certifications Pay Off In The IT Field...
I would say, find out what the newest and hottest emerging technologies are and get certified in them, then keep the certifications up to date and be sure to add more qualifications as time goes by." (Programmer/Analyst; 2013)


"Even Rock Stars Need People Skills...
Make sure you have good interpersonal skills. No matter what sort of technical genius or all star you are if you work at a large or medium size corporation you will work on a team and not everybody can be the leader. You need to sell yourself and your ideas and get people to support you and you need to support and work with them effectively." (Lead Engineer; 2013)


"Never Stop Studying Or Learning In This Field"...
IT is a very rewarding career choice but by no means can one take an easy or effortless approach to this field. One must constantly increase and improve there skills in addition to actively seeking additional experience and never get complacent in terms of learning and pushing one's self to grow more experienced and skilled in this career field." (IT Specialist; 2013)


"Consider What Type Of Business You'll Work For...
Working in IT and working for an IT company are two different things. For example, you may not get the same level of satisfaction working in the IT department of a pharmacy as you would writing code for video games." (IT Analyst; 2013)


"Stay Informed...
Keep yourself up to date on what kind of new tech devices are coming out, you will need to learn how to fix them if your in the repair business." (IT Consultant; 2013)


"Stay In The Know...
You have to stay on top of the technology that comes out, otherwise you will never be able to keep up." (Technical Support; 2013)


"Advice For A Potential IT Career...
Make sure to keep up with the current IT trends. Try and base your studies on the hottest fields in IT. Programming is always in demand especially Java. Try not to get stuck "Pigeon Holed" in older technologies. I have found it very difficult to advance even with outside training in other technologies." (Data Center Analyst; 2013)


"People Skills Are Paramount...
Many people new to IT feel that it does not require people skills. This is not true at all. Whether it's over the phone, Skype, or in person, a Support specialist will need to be comfortable working and meeting with people." (IT Support Specialist; 2013)


"Certifications Really Help...
Get your certifications as soon as possible. While a college degree helps what is more important is proof you can do the work." (IT Field Technician; 2013)


"Don't Go To College...
If you want to be in the computer field and you have the aptitude... do it. Don't go to college, absolutely do not go in debt for this field. There is too much online that you can learn from for free. If you can... do. If you can't, find another field." (IT Specialist; 2013)


"Take Hands On Classes...
Take as many hands on classes as you can during college. It will help a lot, because most of what you learn in college is book work, and the majority of it will be obsolete by the time you get a job. It is better to get the hands on experience so you are familiar with the GUI." (IT Support Specialist; 2013)


"Keep Your Skills Up-To-Date And Get All The Certifications You Can...
You will need to be sure that keep up-to-date with your skills, even if they're not in use. Also, you should look into getting certifications." (QA Analyst; 2013)


"Learn To Work With Others...
Learn how to work well with others. You are most likely going to spend the rest of your life working with your peers, so get used to it!" (IT Specialist; 2013)


"The 'I' In GIS - Mapping With Databases...
In addition to simply becoming an expert at using GIS software, spend some quality time learning all about databases and database administration. The better you know your way around Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, and SQL Server, the better off you will be." (Geographic Information Systems Coordinator; 2013)


"The Internet Is A Very Useful Tool...
Learn how to use the internet to effectively figure out problems to which you don't know the answers. Google search is IT's best friend." (Information Technology; 2013)


"Learning Curves And Keeping Up With Technology...
Be sure to research what you're doing. The IT world is ever changing and advancing. There is so much information to be found online and in books. You learn a lot through experience and listening to others who work with you." (Computer Lab Tech; 2013)


"Patience, Patience, Patience...
Working in IT can be a very rewarding experience. It feels great to find a solution everyone else has overlooked, but realize now that you will need to be able to interface with people well. Some of those people wont understand technical terms you use and it's important to be able to bridge the knowledge gap. Just be patient with people and don't let yourself become flustered." (Technical Support Specialist; 2013)


"It Is Best To Specialize In A Certain Area If You Want To Work In The IT Field...
When going to school, be sure to stay up to date on your skills. As you work in the field, you will be going to school off and on during your career since new products are always coming out." (Computer Deployment Specialist; 2013)


"Practice Your Labs, Practice Your Subnetting And CLI Commands...
You have to study and concentrate in order to succeed in Cisco networking. You need to know the interface and the commands needed for your network. Practice labs as much as you can." (Cisco Networking; 2013)


"Stay Focused And Persevere...
Trigonometry is not easy. However, the courses put me in a mindset that has made a success of the job." (MIS Engineer; 2013)


"Research Items You Don't Know...
Work hard and learn as much as you can. Always research a issue thoroughly before asking for help. Doing your own research will force you to learn and keep people from thinking you don't know what your doing." (Network Manager; 2013)


"Broad Skills Best For IT Auditors...
One tip for IT Audit is to be well rounded. A little bit of programming, some accounting, and computer skills will all contribute to the success in this role. Concentrating too much on one area will limit your adaptability to take on different audits so it is beneficial to have a foot in each camp and learn as much as you can." (IT Audit; 2013)


"Learning Beyond Graduation...
Continue learning past your certification/degree. Technology is always changing and you can not rest on what is behind you." (IT Administrator; 2013)


"Much Easier If You Like IT...
Make sure this is something you like, and retaining information comes easy." (Cosmetologist; 2013)


"Broaden Your Scope...
Learn to solve problems in many areas, don't be focused solely on your area of specialty." (Network Engineer; 2013)


"Have A Career Backup Plan...
I agree that a specialized field is going to bring you the most money, but have back up skills, because the 'hot' job changes quite a bit. Pick an area you enjoy to concentrate on, but have another area of study as a back up. It will help you in the long run to be more diverse." (Information Technology Specialist; 2013)


"Get Experience Before Freelancing...
It can be tempting to go freelance to earn more. Just remember that you can gain a lot of market experience from others." (Software Developer; 2013)


"Work With Technology On Your Time Too...
A tip that I can give to a student that was interested in my career is to do a lot of research and hands on experience. Nothing is better than hands on experience and working off-hours with the technology you are expected to know." (IT; 2013)


"Intern To Get Ahead...
Intern for a company that might want to hire you." (IT; 2013)


"Its Not What You Know, But Who You Know...
College. It isn't about the grades make, but the hands you shake." (IT; 2013)


"Build Computers On Your Time To Learn...
The best advice I can give someone who wishes to study computer science and perform the work that I do is to build as many computers as you can in your spare time. It will provide you with a lot of knowledge and help you get your foot in the door. While you don't have to know everything, you should know the basics. Furthermore, communications skills are a top priority in this position as you may encounter angry users. If you communicate well, you have the ability to diffuse an angry incident." (Information Technology Engineer; 2011)


"Computer Networking Skills In Demand...
Gain as much real world experience as you can (helping out friends, volunteering, etc). Although text books and classes can provide you with valuable knowledge, it will not fully prepare you for what you will experience when working within enterprise environments. Finally, learn as much as you can about networking, as this remains one of the most in-demand fields within the IT industry. Jobs in this field also pay higher salaries than most entry-level positions." (IT Analyst; 2011)


"Become An Industry Specialist...
My company offers positions in all industries. My advice would be to focus on a specific industry (for example, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, etc). Work in the industry for a while to gain as much experience as you can. This will provide you the background to understand the processes and procedures of the industry which will help you in analyzing the technologies and applications for that industry." (Research Vice President; 2010)