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How Information Technology Works

        Money | Careers

IT Job Security
The demand for information technology professionals is high, especially in the finance industry.
The demand for information technology professionals is high, especially in the finance industry.
© Photographer: Jaha Tuomi | Agency: Dreamstime

Overall, IT careers are some of the highest-paid, most in-demand jobs on the market. According to a 2005 Department of Labor survey, there were more than 2.8 million IT workers in the United States, earning an average salary of $67,010 [source: CareerVoyages]. Also, IT job openings are expected to grow by 1.3 million between 2004 and 2014, indicating an IT job market growth of 31 percent [source: CareerVoyages].

Of those IT jobs, application software engineers are in the highest-demand, with 268,000 jobs opening up in the next decade in the United States. According to 2006 statistics, the mean (average) annual salary for an applications software engineer was $82,000 with those in the 90th percentile earning as much as $120,000 annually [source: Bureau of Labor Statistics]. Some of the highest-paying industries for application software engineers are the telecommunications, computer manufacturing and financial sectors [source: Bureau of Labor Statistics]. The most jobs with the highest pay scale can be found in California.

Systems analyst is the next highest-in-demand IT career, with 208,000 job openings expected by 2014. Of the over 400,000 systems analysts employed in 2006 in the United States, their annual mean salary was $72,230 [source: Bureau of Labor Statistics]. While the top employers of systems analysts are computer systems and design companies, it's interesting that insurance carriers and state governments come in third and fourth on the list [source: Bureau of Labor Statistics].

According to Business 2.0 magazine, two of the five hottest jobs in America in late 2007 are computer programmer and hardware engineer (computer programmer is number one) [source: CNN]. These stats come from the percentage of online job postings dedicated to these fields.

What's causing this high demand for tech jobs? Well, for one thing, there are fewer people graduating with computer science degrees than there were back at the height of the dot-com boom. As the Chronicle of Higher Education reported in 2005, computer science majors declined 32 percent from 2000 to 2004. The decline is particularly dramatic for women, who experienced a drop of 80 percent in female computer science majors between 1998 and 2004 [source: Chronicle of Higher Education].

Although numbers are back on the rise, there's still a talent crunch. And when demand is up, so are salaries. According to 2007 numbers from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the average salary offer to a computer science graduate was up 4.5 percent from 2006, to $53,051. Management information systems graduates saw salary average salary offers of $49,966, up 5.9 percent from a year before [source: Chronicle of Higher Education].

Hopefully this article has given you a better understanding of the education and career opportunities available in the information technology sector.

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