Information technologies are omnipresent, yet IT engineering remains a mystery to many. To most people, an IT engineer is a wizard behind the screen who makes sure computers work smoothly. To an extent, they might be right, but there is much more to the vocation than just installing a firewall and updating the OS.
And it is important to differentiate between career paths here, because the sector is so prolific and ever-changing, that knowing what exactly to expect from it is the key to becoming a happy IT engineer.
Firstly, IT engineers may either specialize in software development or computer hardware engineering. The first includes computer programming and smartphone apps, and the latter – designing physical products.
IT engineers may expect high salaries and good job prospects. After all, the vocation is in high demand and the market is expanding so rapidly that even better opportunities are to follow. As a matter of fact, the demand for IT engineers has increased by 22% from 2012. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, software development jobs were expected to rise 17% from 2014-2024 – way faster than average.
Hardware engineers earn $84,600 to $135,840 per annum, depending on their skill set. Applications software developers earn $102,160, on average, and systems software developers – $108,760 per annum. Job offers are diverse and abundant, both in public and private sectors. Software developers often work remotely, which allows them to keep to their lifestyle and work from pretty much anywhere in the world.
This is important to keep in mind. Online outsourcing is a rising trend, so if you’d like to turn freelance or work for an international company, the job might prove a good match. Hardware engineering is another matter entirely, and especially in large companies. Hardware engineers make sure that networks operate properly and that every employee does the job without interruptions.
Finally, there are network engineers. They work with computer networks – intranets and extranets, and typically need to be familiar with different network types (LANs, WANs, WLANs, VoIP, etc.).
What about downsides? Every job has some, and IT engineering is by no means an exception. Due to the specific job requirements, IT engineers might be required to work overtime whenever the need arises. Recent research has shown that, on average, IT engineers work approximately 25% more than 40 hours weekly. Work environment might be stressful, especially in large companies where there are many employees. Finally, to aim high, software developers and leading programmer positions may call for an advanced degree.