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Three Computer IT Careers That Don’t Require a Degree

Posted Tuesday, Apr 23, 2019 by sbowen

Not that long ago computer technology was considered novel—and so were the jobs associated with it. Today, 30 years after the World Wide Web came online[i], computers and information technology (IT) play a critical role in the infrastructure of virtually every organization. Businesses of all kinds need technology professionals on staff to keep software functioning, networks connected, and databases secure.

As the technology evolves, technology occupations grow. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 13% growth in IT-related jobs from 2016-2026, an addition of 557,000 new jobs.[ii] That’s much faster than the overall job growth rate of 7% over the same period. What’s even more exciting about the IT field is that it isn’t necessary to earn a bachelor’s degree to qualify for entry-level positions. In fact, it isn’t necessary to earn a degree at all.

You can qualify for many entry-level IT support careers by completing a post-secondary diploma, which doesn’t take years to complete. At Altierus Career College, you can finish our Computer Information Technology diploma in as few as 12 months of study and prepare for CompTIA A+ industry certification at the same time—an additional qualification that can help you stand out in the job market.

Here are three career paths you could pursue after earning a diploma—not a degree.

Computer User Support Specialists

Computer user support specialists, also known as help desk technicians, desktop support specialists, or software support analysts, are the people who field questions from computer users and help them solve problems with their software or their computers. Computer user support specialists often handle queries through e-mail or phone.

Some computer user support specialists will field general questions from computer users—for instance, within a business or a school. Some will be employed by software manufacturers to support users of specific programs.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings for computer user support specialists should grow 11% over the 2016-2026 period.[iii] As of May 2017, the median annual salary for this occupation was $50,210. The lowest 10% of earners took home less than $30,550.[iv]

Network Support Specialists

Network support specialists, also known as network technicians, network engineers, or systems specialists, help solve users’ problems accessing computer networks, including the Internet. They also perform monitoring and maintenance on networks to ensure smooth operation and security. They will also document results of maintenance activities, such as security scans, and flag potential network breaches to supervisors.

Network support specialists may be employed within individual organizations to monitor and maintain internal networks, or they may work for Internet service providers (ISPs). Usually, network support specialists work under the supervision of a network administrator.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings for network support specialists should grow 8% over the 2016-2026 period.[v] The median annual salary for this occupation in May 2017 was $62,340, while the entry-level salary (the lowest 10% of earners) was $36,960. [vi]

Computer Field Technicians

Computer field technicians, also known as IT field technicians, solve problems with computer hardware and software. Their role is similar to that of computer user support specialists with more focus on hands-on installation and repair. Computer field technicians are also more likely to travel to sites to perform their work.

Computer field technicians may be employed within organizations to maintain and repair other employees’ machines, or they may be employed by computer manufacturers to handle problems with specific hardware or software.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track data for computer field technicians. According to ZipRecruiter.com, the national average salary for this occupation is $42,880 as of March 2019, with entry-level salaries ranging from $27,500-$32,499.[vii]

Get Started on Your IT Career Path

Find out how you can build the knowledge and hands-on skills you need to pursue IT careers with Altierus Career College. Learn more about our 12-month Computer Information Technology diploma today!

[i] https://www.wired.com/story/tim-berners-lee-world-wide-web-anniversary/

[ii] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm

[iii] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm#tab-6

[iv] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm#tab-5

[v] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm#tab-6

[vi] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm#tab-5

[vii] https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/IT-Field-Technician-Salary

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