Careers in Information Systems
The field of information systems is expanding and there are career opportunities in business, government, non-profit organizations, and education. A major in information systems provides you with a wide range of career opportunities. Career choices range from very technical positions in network administration or programming to more communication-oriented employment in training or help desk support. A few of the possibilities are described below:
Network administrators are responsible for the technical support of an organization’s network infrastructure. This profession includes such tasks as designing the network structure, establishing and maintaining servers, designing cabling, validating users, providing security, and ensuring the ongoing day-to-day operations of the network.
Network Support Personnel
Networks come in many variations and network systems and data communications analysts analyze, design, test, and evaluate systems such as local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), Internet, Intranets, and other data communications systems. These analysts perform network modeling, analysis and planning; they also may research related products and make necessary hardware and software recommendations. Telecommunications specialists focus on the interaction between computer and communications equipment.
Systems analysts identify opportunities for improvement in business processes and design computer and systems related solutions. Those in this profession help their clients define technology-related needs and design a system that is most appropriate for them. They help an organization realize the maximum benefit from its investment in equipment, personnel, and business processes. This may include planning and developing new computer systems or devising ways to apply existing systems' resources to additional operations. Systems analysts are projected by the U.S. Department of Labor to be one of the top three growth occupations from the years 2000-2010.
Many companies, such as Accenture, Deloitte-Touche, IBM and Unisys, provide advice to their clients that are attempting to use information technology more effectively. These companies hire information systems majors to serve as consultants for their clients. Consultants act as systems analysts, programmers, database administrators, and troubleshooters for their clients. Consultants work on short and long-term projects frequently reengineering processes or instituting continuous quality improvement methods.
Computer programmers design, write, test, and maintain the detailed instructions, called programs, that computers must follow to perform their functions. Many technical innovations in programming—advanced computing technologies and sophisticated new languages and programming tools—have redefined the role of a programmer and elevated much of the programming work done today.
Database Support Personnel
With the Internet and electronic business creating tremendous volumes of data, there is growing need to be able to store, manage, and extract data effectively. Database administrators work with database management systems software and determine ways to organize and store data. They set up computer databases and test and coordinate changes. It is the responsibility of a database administrator to ensure performance, security, accuracy and integrity of the organization’s database. A data analyst works with database administrators, systems analysts and programmers to identify the best method of storing data for an organization. A data analyst is usually responsible for designing the underlying data structures for an organization. With the volume of sensitive data generated every second growing rapidly, data integrity, backup, and keeping databases secure have become an increasingly important aspect for organizations. Some organizations have created a special position, a data security specialist to handle the increasingly difficult job of maintaining data security.
Computer Support Specialists
Computer support specialists provide technical assistance, support, and advice to customers and other users. This group includes technical support specialists and help-desk technicians. These troubleshooters interpret problems and provide technical support for hardware, software, and systems. They answer phone calls, analyze problems using automated diagnostic programs, and resolve recurrent difficulties. Support specialists may work either within a company that uses computer systems or directly for a computer hardware or software vendor. Increasingly, these specialists work for help-desk or support services firms, where they provide computer support on a contract basis to clients. Computer support specialists and systems administrators are projected by the U.S. Department of Labor to be among the fastest growing occupations over the year 2000-2010 period.
Web/Internet Support Specialists
The growth of the Internet and expansion of the World Wide Web, the graphical portion of the Internet, have generated a variety of occupations related to design, development, and maintenance of Web sites and their servers. For example, webmasters are responsible for all technical aspects of a website, including performance issues such as speed of access, and for approving site content. Internet developers or web developers, also called web designers, are responsible for day-to-day site design and creation.
Ubiquitous information systems have created a growing need for education about the most effective use of the technology. Training personnel are needed to help users on a one-to-one basis, in small groups and in large classroom formats.
Technical Sales and Support
Computer hardware, software and networking vendors such as IBM, Unisys, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems required competent sales and support personnel. Many vendors prefer to hire personnel who understand the technology and are comfortable selling to technical professionals. This is a high-paying career option for those people who combine good communication skills, technical knowledge, with the ability to speak comfortably and easily with others.(Some information above obtained from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, available at Bureau of Labor Statistics)