Career Opportunities in Information Technology and Computer ...
Preparing for a Career as a Computer Professional Updated: September, 2013 Table of Contents Types of computer careers Why choose a career focused on computers? What kind of college classes and other training prepare women for a career in computers? Descriptions of a day in the life of various computer professionals Steps to get started This document is designed to provide high school students, counselors and parents with an introduction to preparing for a career as a computer professional What are the differences among Computer Engineering, Computer Science and Information Technology careers? Computer engineering is a discipline that integrates several fields of Electrical engineering and computer science required to develop computer hardware and software. Computer engineers usually have training in electronic engineering (or electrical engineering), software design, and hardware-software integration instead of only software engineering or electronic engineering. Computer engineers are involved in many hardware and software aspects of computing, from the design of individual microprocessors, personal computers, and supercomputers, to circuit design. This field of engineering not only focuses on how computer systems themselves work, but also how they integrate into the larger picture.  Computer science is the scientific and practical approach to computation and its applications. A computer scientist specializes in the theory of computation and the design of computational systems.  Information technology (IT) is the application of computers and telecommunications equipment to store, retrieve, transmit and manipulate data, often in the context of a business or other enterprise. The term is commonly used as a synonym for computers and computer networks, but it also encompasses other information distribution technologies such as television and telephones. 
Computer engineering develops hardware, Computer Science develops software, Information Technology applies technologies to business 1., 2., 3. From www.wikipedia.org as of July, 2013. Computer Engineering Career Opportunities Federal government. As of 2010, the federal government employed seven percent of all computer engineers. The median annual pay for computer engineers working for the federal government is $102,950. Computer and electronic product manufacturing. The majority of computer engineers (35 percent) work in this industry. The median salary for computer engineers in product manufacturing is $101,320. Computer systems design and related services. Nineteen percent of computer engineers work in systems design. The median pay for computer engineers in this industry is $98,860. Scientific research and development services. Eleven percent of computer engineers are employed by research firms. The median salary for computer engineers in research settings is $92,080. 1. From online.king.edu as of July, 2013. Computer Science Career Opportunities Applications software developer. As the creative minds behind applications and programs, software developers design and build programs and applications for computers and technological devices. Angry Birds? A software developer made that. Microsoft Office? That would be software
developers again. The median salary for a software developer is $90,530. Systems engineer. Operating systems provide the foundation for computers and devices to function. Microsoft Windows, Linux and iOS are examples of types of operating systems. Systems engineers design and create those types of systems for use in personal computers, phones and even cars. The median pay for systems engineers is $94,180. Web developer. Web developers are not graphic designers. Graphic designers create the images you see on websites; web developers program the code that makes a website function. Web developers integrate the graphics, audio and video into the site and monitor the sites traffic, performance and capacity. The median salary for a Web developer is $75,660. 1. From online.king.edu as of July, 2013. Information Technology Career Opportunities Information security analysts. IT security analysts work to prevent cyber attacks by monitoring their businesss network for breaches and weak spots and to create emergency plans in the event of an attack. According to a 2012 survey by Robert Half Technology, the average salary for this position ranges between $89,000 and $121,500. Network architect. Sometimes called network engineers, these IT professionals design and build communication networks, such as local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs) and intranets. Robert Half Technology reports that the average salary for network architects is between $95,500 and $137,000. Computer support specialists. Support specialists provide advice and troubleshooting help to individuals and businesses that have questions about their software. The median salary for computer support specialists is $46,260.
Database administrators. DBAs use software and programs to organize and store data for businesses that range from financial firms to shipping companies. Depending on the industry in which a DBA works, the median salary for this position ranges between $62,580 and $82,820. Systems administrators. System administrators conduct the day-to-day maintenance and operation of a businesss networks, including LANs, WANs, intranets and other communication systems. Salaries for this position vary by industry. The median annual pay for system administrators ranges between $59,230 and $74,230. 1. From online.king.edu as of July, 2013. Computer-related fields are ranked among the best jobs 100 Best Jobs 2013 US News and World Report 1. Dentist 2. Registered Nurse 3. Pharmacist 4. Computer Systems Analyst 5. Physician
6. Database Administrator 7. Software Developer 8. Physical Therapist 9. Web Developer Money Magazine, June 1, 1990 Computer-related careers have been ranked among the best jobs for more than 20 years ... 13. Computer Programmer ... 20. IT Manager ... 23. Computer Systems Administrator 1. 2. 15 FAST-TRACK CAREERS The hottest jobs in the next decade will fatten your bank balance and enrich your life From US News and World Report 100 Best Jobs 2013 . From Money Magazine, June 1, 1990 Software developer Average salary: $50,000 to $60,000 Top performer:
$100,000 Training: B.S. in applied math, engineering and computer science Here's a career where a computer hacker can make real bucks -- legally. Software design and engineering is the top growth area in the high-tech field. Last year employment at the top 100 personal-computer software companies shot up 23.5%, notes Jeffrey Tarter, editor of Softletter, a Watertown, Mass. newsletter. And the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment predicts that more than 100,000 new jobs will be created for software professionals by the end of the decade. Software developers devise a plan for a certain computerized system -- say, regulating the various monitors and instruments in an intensive-care unit -- and then create the instructions that tell the computer how to accomplish that task. As more industries and institutions incorporate high technology into their daily operations, the designs and instructions become more complex. Salaries have been rising to reflect the greater skills now required to design software: since 1987, they are up 19%. Salaries also are being inflated by the insufficient numbers of students entering the field. Last year, 10,688 graduates majored in computer science, barely up from 10,422 five years ago, notes Jane Siegel, a member of the technical staff at the Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon. She theorizes that students perceive the field is difficult without realizing how lucrative it can be. Computer Careers are among the highest paid professions Top 20 Highest Paying Careers Bureau of Labor Statistics, July, 2013  1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.
13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 1. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons - $166,400 Physicians and Surgeons - $166,400 Orthodontists - $166,400 Chief Executives - $165,080 Dentists, All Other Specialists - $161,020 Dentists, General $141,040 Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates $119,270 Architectural and Engineering Managers - $119,260 Prosthodontists - $118,400 Podiatrists - $118,030 Natural Sciences Managers - $116,020 Computer and Information Systems Managers - $115,780 Petroleum Engineers - $114,080 Marketing Managers - $112,800 Lawyers - $112,760 Pharmacists - $111,570 Air Traffic Controllers - $108,040 Political Scientists - $107,420 Physicists - $106,370 Financial Managers - $103,910 From About.com Top 20 Highest Paying Careers . Computer Careers ranked among the best professions for women Top 20 Best Paying Jobs for Women in 2013 Forbes, February 28, 2013 1. 2.
3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. ... 18. Although they are underrepresented in the field, computer science jobs are also among the best-paying for women. . . Because technical skills are in such high demand with limited supply, employers are willing to pay a premium for these workers. However, depending on the occupation, only about one-fifth to one-third of these jobs are currently held by women. Pharmacists Chief Executives Median yearly earnings: $79,000 Lawyers Women as percentage of profession: 26% Nurse Practitioners Womens earnings as a percentage of Mens earnings: 88% Computer and Information Systems Managers Median yearly earnings: $71,000 Physicians and Surgeons Women as percentage of profession: 20% Womens earnings as a percentage of Mens earnings: 81% Physician Assistants Software Developers, Applications and Systems Software Computer Systems Analysts Computer Programmers 1., 2. From Forbes, Top 20 Best Paying Jobs for Women in 2013, 2-28-2013. Median yearly earnings: $65,000 Women as percentage of profession: 33% Womens earnings as a percentage of Mens earnings: 85%
Median yearly earnings: $59,500 Women as percentage of profession: 23% Womens earnings as a percentage of Mens earnings: 84% Computer degrees ranked among the most valuable college majors Top 15 Most Valuable College Majors 2013 Forbes, May 16, 2013 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. Bio Medical Engineering Biochemistry Computer Science Software Engineering Environmental Engineering Civil Engineering Geology Management Information Systems Petroleum Engineering Applied Mathematics Mathematics Construction Management Finance Physics Statistics
1., 2. From Forbes, Top 15 Most Valuable College Majors 2013, 5-16-2013. In the Millennial Branding survey, employers reported engineering and computer information systems majors as their top recruits. Also, nearly half of these employers (47%) said the competition for new science, technology, engineering and math talent is steep. That means while other recent grads fight for jobs, these students will likely field multiple offers. Median starting pay: $56,600 Median mid-career pay: $97,900 Projected job growth: 24.6% Median starting pay: $54,900 Median mid-career pay: $87,800 Projected job growth: 24.6% Median starting pay: $51,000 Median mid-career pay: $88,200 Projected job growth: 18.1% What college-level classes are required? 2-year programs 4-year Computer Science programs Michigan State University is one of the many colleges and universities offering a 4-year degree in computer science. The following computer classes are representative of those required for the program: Chemistry/Physics; Introduction to Programming; Discrete Structures in Computer Science; Algorithms and Data Structures; Object Oriented Software Design; Operating Systems; Probability and Statistics; and many others.
Computer Engineering Macomb Community College is one of many community colleges offering a 2-year certificate program in computer technology. The following computer classes are representative of those required for the program: Electronic Technology; RCL Analysis; Industrial Computer Technology; Semiconductor Devices and Circuits; Digital Electronic Basics; Microcontrollers with Robotic Application; Computer Servicing; and many others. Michigan State University is one of the many colleges and universities offering a 4-year degree in computer engineering. The following computer classes are representative of those required for the program: Chemistry/Physics; Introduction to Programming; Operating Systems; Digital Logic Fundamentals; Electronic Circuits; Microprocessors and Digital Systems; and many others. Information Technology/Management Information Systems Western Michigan University is one of the many colleges and universities offering a 4-year degree in information systems. The following computer classes are representative of those required for the program: Business Application Programming; Business Mobile Programming; Internet Programming; Business Database Applications; Business Data Mining; Information Technology Project Management and many others. What post-college training is required? Web-based development Mobile development There are many online and instructor-led educational providers offering resources to develop applications for iOS, Android or other mobile devices. The web sites developer.apple.com and developer.android.com provide complete developer tool kits and self guided references for Apple and Android device development.
Embedded development There are many online and instructor-led educational providers offering individual courses or specialized training for HTML 5, Java, .NET, or other computer programming languages that are used to create web sites or other online applications. Embedded software development creates computer logic that is loaded onto mechanical controllers and other specialized hardware devices. Frequently, the code is written in LINUX, C or Android, but there are many languages available. There are excellent online resources available for learning about embedded development. Certifications Many computer professionals obtain professional certifications to demonstrate their mastery of specific computer principles. Project Managers frequently obtain a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification through the Project Management Institute (PMI). Security professionals often obtain a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) designation. Security Computer professionals are not required to pursue graduate degrees; however, BA depending on specialization, many find Masters of Business Administration (MBA), Architects Masters of Science (MS), or PhD degrees helpful. What other experience is helpful? Internship
Mentors College internships are helpful for any professional course of study. Internships help you understand what to expect from working in your field of study. The majority of computer-related internships are paid. Internships are also beneficial in teaching you about time management, communication and other skills essential for any professional career. MCWT offers opportunities for young women to connect with Michigan employers to secure college-level internships. Mentors are professionals, usually with more experience than you, who function as coaches for developing skills, providing guidance, and supporting you during your career. Good mentors are essential to helping you understand the nuances of how to get hired, promoted, a raise, or to generally work through any careerrelated issues. MCWT can match you with an experienced computer professional to serve as a mentor and help you plan your field of study or establish your career. Professional Organizations Professional organizations are a great source for obtaining knowledge, networking with similar professionals, and participating in enjoyable business functions. Joining a professional organization in your field of study can help with your development of skills, expertise and relationships that will help you throughout your career. MCWT is Michigans premier professional organization for girls and women interested in or pursuing careers in a computer-related field. A day in the life: Computer Programmer Computer programmers spend much of their workday in front of a computer in an office setting. Technological advances also allow programmers to telecommute from home or remote locations. After computer engineers and analysts design the software, computer programmers translate these designs into instructions the computer will follow. These instructions are written in computer languages, and programmers choose which language to use based on the softwares design or functions. Important responsibilities of a computer programmer include: Writing, testing, designing and maintaining the programs that allow computers to function properly
Updating, repairing and modifying existing computer programs to make them operate as efficiently as possible Converting software designs into conventional programming languages such as COBOL, Prolog, Java, C++ or ACTOR Computer programmers should be comfortable working as a member of a team and individually. Entry-level programmers may get their start in the industry by working alone on simple projects, or working together with a team of more experienced programmers.  1. From Career Explorer as of July, 2013 A day in the life: Business Analyst A business analyst's daily job duties can vary greatly, depending on the nature of the current organization and project. However, there are some activities that the business analyst will commonly do in the course of every project. They include: investigating goals and issues Analyzing information Communicating with a wide variety of people Documenting findings Evaluating solutions For a given project, the business analyst will usually try to define and oversee a series of carefully structured tasks aimed at achieving the general goals of analysis, synthesis, planning, and evaluation. Of course, these tasks are bound to require a flexible approach matching the circumstances. A good business analyst will be comfortable working in small groups, asking questions, writing, verbally communicating and, generally, thinking about ways to make something better. Good business analysts will usually focus on a specific business segment (e.g., healthcare, manufacturing, etc.) that enables them to develop deeper understanding of the business needs in that segment. 1. From www.projectconnections.com as of September, 2013 A day in the life: Project Manager
On a typical day a project manager's tasks may include: Scheduling the project in logical steps and budgeting time required to meet deadlines. Conferring with supervisory personnel, owners, contractors and design professionals to discuss and resolve matters such as work procedures, complaints and problems. Preparing statements of work (SOW) and negotiating revisions, changes and additions to contractual agreements with business analysts, programmers, consultants, customers, and other team members. Preparing and submitting budget estimates and progress and cost tracking reports. Interpreting and explaining plans and contract terms to administrative staff, workers and clients, representing the owner or developer. Good project managers needs to be effective communicators, attentive to detail, strong planners, and have the ability to manage people and budgets. Frequently, project managers will obtain a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification in addition to having a college degree. 1. From About.com as of September, 2013 A day in the life: Quality Assurance Analyst A quality assurance (QA) analyst is a professional who tests program applications during the software development process. Quality assurance analysts test programs to make sure they are reliable, fully functional, and user-friendly. Analysts also look for weaknesses in the program, such as an unappealing interfaces or a slow loading speeds. QA analysts with appropriate skills may be able to make code changes, but most QA professionals communicate their findings to developers where changes are made. QA analysts are usually detail-oriented and have excellent communication
skills. She must be able to explain necessary changes to software and procedures and provide feedback to development teams. Most QA analysts are involved all phases of application development and maintenance. How to get started . . . Michigan 4-Year Colleges and Universities with Computer-related degrees: Adrian College Albion College Alma College Aquinas College Baker College Calvin College Central Michigan University Cleary University Concordia University Cornerstone University Davenport University Eastern Michigan University Ferris State University Grand Valley State University Hillsdale College Hope College Kalamazoo College Kettering University Lake Superior State University Adrian Albion Alma Grand Rapids Flint Grand Rapids Mount Pleasant Howell Ann Arbor Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids Ypsilanti Big Rapids Allendale Hillsdale Holland Kalamazoo Flint Sault Ste. Marie Lawrence Technological University Madonna University Marygrove College Michigan State University Michigan Technological University Northern Michigan University Northwood University Oakland University Olivet College Saginaw Valley State University Spring Arbor University University of Detroit Mercy University of Michigan University of Michigan-Dearborn University of Michigan-Flint University of Toledo Walsh College Wayne State University Western Michigan University Michigan Colleges with two-year computer-related programs: Baker College Gogebic Community College Henry Ford Community College Macomb Community College Oakland Community College Schoolcraft College Washtenaw Community College Wayne County Community College
Flint Ironwood Dearborn Warren Auburn Hills Livonia Ann Arbor Detroit Southfield Livonia Detroit East Lansing Houghton Marquette Midland Rochester Olivet University Center Spring Arbor Detroit Ann Arbor Dearborn Flint Toledo Troy Detroit Kalamazoo
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