What is Information Technology | Info on IT Careers and Certs | CompTIA (2024)

What is Information Technology | Info on IT Careers and Certs | CompTIA (1)Information technology (IT) is the use of computer systems or devices to access information. Information technology is responsible for such a large portion of our workforce, business operations and personal access to information that it comprises much of our daily activities. Whether you are storing, retrieving, accessing or manipulating information, IT greatly impacts our everyday lives.

Information technology is used by everyone from enterprise companies all the way down to one-person businesses and local operations. Global companies use it to manage data and innovate their processes. Even flea market sellers use smartphone credit card readers to collect payments and street performers give out a Venmo name to gather donations. If you use a spreadsheet to catalogue which Christmas presents you bought, you’re using information technology.

What Are the Types of Information Technology?

Information technology is a broad term that involves the use of technology to communicate, transfer data and process information.

The different trends within information technology include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Analytics
  • Automation
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Cloud computing
  • Communications
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data/database management
  • Infrastructure
  • Internet of things
  • Machine learning
  • Maintenance and repair
  • Networks
  • Robotics
  • Software/application development

This list is by no means exhaustive and new applications for technology are constantly emerging.

What Is the Role of Information Technology?

Information technology plays a prominent role in business and provides a foundation for much of our current workforce. From communications to data management and operational efficiency, IT supports many business functions and helps drive productivity.

Why Do We Need Information Technology?

Information technology drives much of what we do in our personal and professional lives. It is the foundation of our communication, technological advancement, innovation, sustainability and recreation. We use information technology on a personal level to connect and communicate with others, play games, share media, shop and be social.

From a career perspective, information technology is largely responsible for much of our business operations and spans nearly every industry. From healthcare to food services, manufacturing to sales, and beyond, we rely on IT to help connect us to others, store and manage information and create more efficient processes.

IT Career Opportunities

According to Cyberstates 2020, there were 12.1 million technology-based jobs in 2020, which continues to grow year over year. Careers in IT span many different areas, from computer hardware and software development to networking, computer repair, technical support, cybersecurity, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, data science and so much more. What originally began as a siloed department, information technology is now considered a critical business function that impacts nearly every aspect of an organization.

What Exactly Is an IT Job?

An IT job is any position that involves the implementation, support, maintenance, repair or protection of data or computer systems. Those involved in development, deployment or support of the systems or applications others use are the most common examples of IT jobs. If you like problem solving and being an active learner, a technology job could be right for you.

Examples of IT Jobs

IT jobs run the gamut. Here’s a brief rundown of some IT job possibilities. Keep in mind that these positions can also be industry specific, so you could work one of the following roles in an industry of your choice.

Hardware-based IT jobs could include any of the following:

  • Help desk technician
  • Computer technician
  • Network engineer/architect
  • Hardware manufacturer
  • Cloud engineer
  • Cloud architect

Software-based jobs might involve developing applications or programs and may include the following:

  • Software developer
  • Software engineer
  • Programmer
  • Mobile application developer
  • Web developer
  • Product owner/support

IT jobs that involve data protection or incident response fall under cybersecurity and may include the following:

  • Cybersecurity specialist
  • Cybersecurity analyst
  • Cybersecurity architect
  • Forensic analyst
  • Incident responder
  • Malware analyst
  • Pen tester/ethical Hacker
  • Threat hunter

Jobs in information technology that involve data collection, storage or analysis fall under data jobs, which may include:

  • Data scientist/analyst
  • Data engineer
  • Database engineer
  • Data privacy officer
  • Business intelligence analyst

As with any industry, there are several IT jobs that are leadership positions. These may include jobs such as:

  • IT manager/team lead
  • Director of IT
  • Chief Information Security Officer (CISCO) Chief Information Officer (CIO)
  • Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
  • Chief Data Officer (CDO)

What IT Jobs Pay the Best?

Typically, IT jobs pay more based on complexity or leadership level. For example, if an IT position requires a high level of technical expertise, a degree in computer science, or is an executive position, you are looking at a higher wage.

According to Salary.com, here are some of the highest paid IT jobs.

  • Computer and information systems managers earn a median wage of $146,360
  • Cloud engineers earn a median wage of $136,479
  • Cybersecurity engineers earn a median wage of $134,340
  • Computer and information research scientists earn a median wage of $122,840
  • Computer hardware engineers earn a median wage of $117,220
  • Computer network architects earn a median wage of $112,690
  • Software developers and software QA analysts and testers earn a median wage of $107,510

See how much you could earn in different IT jobs with our IT salary calculator.

What Is the Easiest IT Field to Get Into?

Fortunately, IT professionals are in fairly high demand. Some IT fields are easier than others to enter. Other fields can be very competitive or require highly specialized skills.

Here are some of the easiest fields to enter in information technology, most of which can be accomplished without a bachelor’s degree and will have readily available job openings.

  • Technical support
  • Computer repair/technician
  • Desktop support
  • Network support

IT certifications prove to employers that you have the skills needed for technology jobs, even if you don’t have a degree. CompTIA A+, an entry-level IT certification, is the industry standard for establishing a career in IT and covers the foundational skills needed to get your first IT job and build a successful IT career.

Learn more about how to get into IT without a degree.

What Are Good Entry-Level IT Jobs?

If you’re looking for an entry-level IT job, you might have good luck starting with the following:

  • Computer repair specialist
  • Help desk
  • Web developer
  • Technical support

Is Information Technology a Good Career?

The short answer is yes, absolutely! Information technology provides careers in varying levels of complexity and allows you to work in nearly any vertical industry you like. Because information technology is the foundation for much of our business operations, the options are boundless. Wages also afford a good standard of living and there is little chance that your job will become obsolete.

Information technology isn’t just a good job. There are so many opportunities for advancement and continuing education that allow you to take control of your career pathway. For example, you could start as a Tier 1 help desk technician and advance to Tiers 2 and 3 as you gain experience and improve your skills. Or you could move from the help desk to network administration, cybersecurity or any number of other IT specialties. The world is your oyster!

Getting Started in Information Technology

If you want to get started in information technology, IT certifications provide a foundation of knowledge, test for specific skillsets and let you showcase your technical skills. Depending on the path you take or the specialty you’re interested in, you may choose to get a two-year, bachelor’s or master’s degree to make yourself more competitive, but it’s not always necessary. The beauty of a career in IT is that you can begin without a formal education and work your way up or choose to expand your skills as you see fit.

IT Industry Certifications

There are a variety of IT certifications that can help you break into an IT field. CompTIA provides vendor-neutral certifications, which means the skills covered by our certifications prepare you to work on any vendor’s products.

  • If you are brand new to IT, CompTIA IT Fundamentals+ (ITF+) introduces you to the basic IT knowledge and skills.
  • CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+ cover the core skills used by IT professionals. Getting these early in your career will help you build a solid foundation of tech skills and knowledge.
  • CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+), CompTIA PenTest+ and CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+) cover intermediate and advanced cybersecurity skills.
  • CompTIA Server+, CompTIA Linux+ and CompTIA Cloud+ cover the skills needed for infrastructure specialization.
  • CompTIA Project+, CompTIA Technical Trainer (CTT+) and CompTIA Cloud Essentials cover additional professional skills that can take your IT career to the next level.

Adding on a vendor-specific certification, such as those from Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco and Microsoft, allow you to home in on those platforms and equipment.

CompTIA certifications are developed with job roles in mind – the skills covered by our certifications are the ones used by IT pros every day. In fact, IT pros and managers contribute to the development of CompTIA exams to ensure that our certifications are relevant to today’s IT workforce. See what kinds of IT jobs you could get with CompTIA certifications.

Other IT certifications also align with specific IT jobs, such as: Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) and Certified Data Professional (CDP).

Which IT Certification Should I Get First?

It’s a good idea to get foundational knowledge first and then build on those certifications once you’ve identified your areas of interest.

The best IT certifications to start with would be:

  • CompTIA IT Fundamentals+ (ITF+)
  • CompTIA A+
  • Microsoft 365 Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)
  • Systems Security Certified Practitioner

Are you intrigued? Take our quiz to see if IT is right for you.

Read more about IT Career Center.

What is Information Technology | Info on IT Careers and Certs | CompTIA (2024)


What is Information Technology | Info on IT Careers and Certs | CompTIA? ›

An IT certification is a qualification that shows your competency in a specific field of information technology (IT). You typically need to pass an exam that tests your capabilities to earn a certification. Certifications aren't the only way you can get a job in IT.

What is information technology certification? ›

An IT certification is a qualification that shows your competency in a specific field of information technology (IT). You typically need to pass an exam that tests your capabilities to earn a certification. Certifications aren't the only way you can get a job in IT.

What is information technology as a career? ›

Information technology (IT) is a broad professional category covering functions including building communications networks, safeguarding data and information, and troubleshooting computer problems. Livia Gershon. Aug 11, 2022. Get Info on IT Degrees.

Can you get a job with IT certifications? ›

In most cases, a Bachelor's or Associate degree is required for these competitive positions, but many entry-level jobs can be obtained with a high school diploma and IT certifications in the specific systems, platforms, and skills these high-demand jobs require.

What is information technology and what does IT include? ›

01), Information Technology means the use of hardware, software, services, and supporting infrastructure to manage and deliver information using voice, data, and video.

How long does IT take to get a IT certificate? ›

It can take anywhere from two to five months to complete IT training. It all depends on which course you take and how much time you can dedicate to complete each certification. One way you can decrease the time it takes to complete IT exams is by working with other IT professionals.

Is getting an IT certificate worth IT? ›

In many situations, certifications can be better than degrees for several reasons. Certificates often match current standards better than degrees, which is especially important in fast-paced fields like information technology (IT.)

Is IT hard to learn information technology? ›

IT Requires a Great Deal of Technical Knowledge

Anyone can learn to become an IT expert with a little effort, and a consistent approach to building their knowledge and skills. The trick is to master the fundamentals and to exercise patience when mastering new concepts.

Is IT tech a good career? ›

Excellent pay. The technology industry offers many high-paying roles. For example, a back-end developer earns $106,017 annually, while a computer network architect earns $137,429. Even if you don't get into a tech-specific job, you'll probably still earn more in tech than in other fields.

Is information technology well paid? ›

The field of Information Technology (IT) offers high salaries, job security, and opportunities for career advancement in a constantly evolving field. Whether you're just starting out in IT or looking to advance your career, pursuing one of these top-paying IT jobs can be a smart investment in your future.

What is the purpose of IT certification? ›

An IT certification is a recognized benchmark mapped to a specific skill set based on standardized testing. A certification demonstrates your dedication, motivation and technical knowledge on a specific platform. However, preparation for certification exams, training and fees costs time and money.

Are IT certifications hard to get? ›

1) IT certification requires consistent study.

IT certifications are pretty difficult to pass. To pass the exam, one needs consistent study, which is a big challenge due to the busy working schedules. It's not possible to dedicate time regularly for the preparation of the examination.

How hard is IT to get IT certification? ›

Without hands-on experience, most entry-level certifications are out of reach for brand new or aspiring IT professionals. That 's why foundational exams exist. These exams are designed for people with zero to six months of experience in the field. But, they're typically attainable with fewer than 12 weeks of studying.

Is IT better to get a degree or a certificate in information technology? ›

The pay and professional development outcomes of these professions might vary considerably. According to PayScale, the average base salary for someone with a bachelor's degree in IT is $73,000 per year. While certificate holders may eventually earn more, degree holders are more likely to start out making more.


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