I have read books and watched shows on television where one person has in-depth knowledge about all aspects of the computer world. Although some technology gurus are pretty savvy across many areas, in the real world, jobs in information technology generally fall into the following areas:
- Help desk employees answer your call when you are ready to toss your computer out the window. Anyone in this position must have a great deal of patience. They try to help you, but if they can’t, they’ll take your information and pass it on to someone who can.
- Hardware specialists can reduce your computer to a pile of metal, wires and silicon chips and rebuild it again. They’re the ones you want on your side when your computer won’t boot up or you get the blue screen of death because they can usually find the part causing the problem. Unless of course, it’s software related.
- Software engineers (programmers) design products, develop code, and debug the applications you use on your computer. They take words like if, then, else, trim, for, next, and many others to make an application capable of keeping your financials or monitoring state-of-the-art equipment.
- Web designer/developers are very similar to software engineers except they plan and implement Web-based applications that you use from your internet. Next time you fill out an order form online, think of them.
- Application architects are the experts. They usually have years of experience as software engineers. They understand what their organization wants and make sure all developers follow the standards and parameters set by the company. This guarantees all applications work and look the same. (Think of Microsoft Word and Excel — two very different programs, but they have the same look and feel.)
- Database administrators are responsible for watching over the data stored in the organization’s databases. Their job is to make certain the data is accessible when needed, it is backed up on a regular basis, and the data is never compromised.
- Network administrators are primarily concerned with implementing network policy. They manage user access and troubleshoot network problems. They are responsible for fine-tuning the Windows operating systems and any company-wide components or programs installed on your computer.
- IT security managers guard the company’s technology. They provide secure Wi-Fi networks, handle offsite storage of backups, and enforce passwords. Their job is to stay on top of internal security threats (employee access to restricted documents), external threats (wireless router hacks), and ad hoc issues (leaving a laptop on a plane). They also must know countermeasures against those risks.
- Program managers are responsible for communicating the needs of the business to the application architects and software engineers. Program management is more of a business role rather than a technical position, but they often make the decision as to what functionality developers should implement into the software.
So the next time you want your hero to save the day by hacking into a piece of code and discovering who is out to kill him, or your heroine to fix the hero’s computer and find the love of her life while she’s at it, think about what their job is. Technology offers many options.
Do you have a question about computers? You can email your questions to me at: email@example.com. Please put “Write Technology” in the header of the email.
Jennie Atkins has a degree in Information Technology Management. When she isn’t attached to her computer, she is learning how to grow lush gardens in a desert.