For decades, the “computer nerd” label has been a culturally accepted stereotype, synonymous with thick-framed glasses-wearing, computer-loving, “have you tried turning it on and off again?” type of guys. This stereotype has been played out all over modern media – even The Office included an ongoing joke about season six’s unsung hero: the IT specialist whose name was so forgettable he was referred to as “man,” “sport,” and eventually, “Glasses.”
Spoiler alert: Glasses, whose name was actually Nick, ended up giving the office the finger and quitting.
More recently, IT professionals have been portrayed in a glitzier manner. Take Q, for instance, the quirky, innovative computer whiz from the James Bond franchise, Elliott from Mr. Robot, or Felicity Smoak, the sleek coder/computer hacker from the CW’s Arrow. Sure, it’s a step above “nameless” Nick, but it still doesn’t accurately depict the true IT professional.
We hate to break it to you, but your everyday IT person— though still totally impressive— is a lot less like these fictionalized characters. Actually, they look a lot like you.
What exactly does an IT person do? Why is it so important, and how can IT training benefit you?
WHAT DOES AN IT PERSON DO?
An IT professional is an integral role within a company that manages and supports diverse tasks related to information systems, software applications, and computer hardware.
The day-to-day tasks of an IT professional varies depending on what area of IT you pursue. While Hollywood often shows information technology (IT) as one overarching concept, it’s traditionally broken down into two disciplines:
- IT Support Analyst (like hardware and security)
- Programming and Software Development (coding)
What Does an IT Support Analyst Do?
IT Support Analysts are the ones responsible for ensuring the effective and efficient use of computer and technology systems. Core responsibilities of IT Support Analysts include:
- Providing technical support, advice, and assistance to an organization and customers.
- Resolving hardware, software, and other technical problems.
- Providing front-line support for system issues, whether in the organization or at a customer’s premises.
- Functioning as problem-solvers and critical-thinkers in a technical capacity.
Printer Driver isn’t installed on a user’s computer? A Wi-Fi access point needs an update? Have to remove outdated files and clear the web browser cache?
These are all job responsibilities of an IT Support Analyst.
Job path for IT Support Analysts
An IT Support Analyst, also called a Help Desk position, is often the first step in your journey in your IT career— and gives you the necessary experience to grow into other roles.
As you gain more experience and training, you can grow into these roles:
- Systems Engineer
- Network Administrator
- Information System Technician
- Network Technician
- Network Engineer
- Systems Analyst
- Information Technology Manager
- IT Consultant
The Demand for IT Support
The demand for IT support is huge (and quickly growing), especially after the impact of COVID. In 2020, businesses everywhere shifted to a remote-work model, creating demand for equipment configuration, network security, and more. Without the support of IT personnel, businesses would not be able to perform their daily operations. As we continue this path to a digital-first world, it is more important than ever that we continue to have proper staffing in our IT departments to keep the flow of daily operations.
For more perspective, data from Burning Glass shows that in 2019 there were 4.2 million unfilled IT jobs. That’s a lotta opportunity.
NETWORK SYSTEMS ADMINISTRATION
You know that co-worker who can never stay connected to Wi-Fi, or the family member who is always complaining about a computer issue? If you’re a network systems administrator, you’re the first point of contact to fix the problem (you’re also dubbed the “hero”).
What Does a Network Systems Administrator Do?
Networkers are problem solvers and critical thinkers whose core responsibilities include:
- Keeping computer networks up-to-date and running smoothly.
- Providing endless service for organizations such as user support, troubleshooting, and design.
- Installing, upgrading, and configuring operating systems and network devices.
Further, network system administrators are in high demand as companies and organizations invest in newer, faster technology and mobile networks.
PROGRAMMING AND SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT
This is a crossover into a much different IT field. If you’ve ever pushed F12 while browsing the internet, this is a quick glimpse into the work of programming and software development.
Oh, and yes – there are people who actually understand all that techy gibberish. Believe it or not, with dedication and a good work ethic, you can be one of them.
What Does a Programmer or Software Developer Do?
A career in programming and software development requires an eye for detail – one letter could throw off an entire block of code!
If you’re considering a career in IT, you’ll find you’ll have some exposure to each different area of the field.
Career training in IT is crucial if you want a career in either Network Systems Administration or Programming and Software Development. Career training provides a solid footing and background in each area, and ensures you’ll have the tools you need to excel in your line of work.
IT Career Training also gives you a foot up on your competition and that means snagging your dream job (with your dream salary, dream schedule and dream benefits). See our complete guide on IT career training vs a college degree here.
If you are looking to start your career as an IT professional, start here.