The Information Technology Industry: Jobs, Skills and Job Outlook

IT industry jobs and careers

The information technology sector (or IT sector) encompasses a wide range of professionals who work with information and communication technologies and systems used to process and exchange digital data and information.

The IT industry comprises a wide variety of professions, many of which are highly specialized. Perhaps the role most typically associated with the sector is that of software and application developer, or software programmer. A software programmer’s tasks include analysing a project’s requirements and specifications, designing software architecture, coding and testing.

Many IT professionals specialize in specific phases of software development, such as front-end and back-end development and UX (User Experience) design, while others are involved in web development.

An important branch of the IT industry regards the administration and maintenance of information systems and networks and the provision of technical support for software and hardware. This branch encompasses a variety of activities, such as network management (telecommunications, internet and intranet), database administration, information security monitoring, network monitoring, and data backup and recovery.

What types of businesses operate in the IT industry?

Companies hiring in the IT industry

The information technology sector encompasses a great variety of companies specializing in IT services, software and hardware, ranging from large multinationals right through to small businesses. Examples include software houses, companies providing data center management and monitoring services, cloud computing and networking specialists, IT consultancy firms, web agencies, producers of video games and web companies offering online services such as search engines, social networks, instant messaging, email, online advertising, e-commerce platforms and hosting services.

But it’s not just specialist IT businesses that need information technology professionals.IT experts in fact work for all kinds of companies, often as in-house employees but also as freelance IT consultants hired to plan and implement IT projects (IT project management).

Practically every company, whatever the field they work in (e.g. marketing, sales, logistics, scientific research, design, production or finance), uses information technology in some shape or form.

Certain companies and organizations - such as banks, large manufacturing facilities, the health and medical sector and government bodies and agencies - use vast amounts of data and are hugely reliant on information technology services. These organizations employ in-house IT teams to manage their information networks, systems and services.

Companies hiring in the IT industry:

IT Industry - Job Outlook

IT industry trends and job outlook

Information technology is at the very heart of the technological and digital revolution that has transformed our daily lives, bringing us innovations such as internet, social media and e-commerce.

Information technology is an innovative frontier sector, in which knowledge very rapidly becomes obsolete and which is thus in constant need of new fresh skills and expertise. For this reason, businesses often have difficulty locating the skilled IT personnel they require, which is why the demand for information technology specialists is continuing to rise.

As a consequence, career prospects in the information technology industry are very good - particularly in the light of the fast-paced emergence of new applications in a wide range of fields, including domotics and smart homes, wearable technology, the internet of things (IoT), cloud computing, virtual and augmented reality and artificial intelligence (AI).

What skills are required in the IT industry?

IT - skills and qualifications

Although every information technology role - e.g. data administrator, user interface designer or information security specialist - has its own specific knowledge and skills requirements, there are a number of transversal skills that are required in the majority of information technology professions.

Knowledge of programming languages

All software - i.e. a program designed to be run by a computer or other machine - is written in a programming language. There are a huge variety of programming languages, but some of the best known are Java, C#, C++, .NET, JavaScript, Python, COBOL, PHP and Ruby. Depending on their role, an information technology worker may be required to have a knowledge of one or more programming, markup and scripting languages, in addition to a knowledge of frameworks, libraries and DBMS (Database Management Systems).

Troubleshooting

The majority of IT professionals need the ability to resolve problems and malfunctions. Troubleshooting is the term used to describe the process of locating the cause of a problem using analysis and diagnostics tools and then resolving it. A similar concept is debugging, which is specifically used to describe troubleshooting as applied to software architecture and development.

Willingness to acquire new skills and knowledge

The information technology sector is constantly changing, meaning IT professionals need to continually update their knowledge and skills if they wish to stay competitive and ahead of the curve on the jobs market. An ability to rapidly acquire new skills and expertise and a willingness to learn continuously are therefore absolutely essential requirements for a career in IT.

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