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Today’s IT Roles and Responsibilities

11/21/2018 11:03:35 AM |

In this article, I’ll discuss IT architects and IT specialists—what they do, why they’re needed and how they’re important to companies. I’ll also explore other key IT roles—including analysts, consultants, IT security and IT support. Much of what I share is informed by information that’s available on job sites so I know it’s useful and up to date. This article is part one of a two-part series on IT jobs.

Technical Specialists and Architects

When I started in IT, you were either an application or a systems programmer. That was the main division of technical work. Today, there’s much more granularity and abstraction in the job titles and duties. Let’s start with the categories of IT specialist and IT architect. Here are some examples of IT specialist job titles from Indeed:

 

·      IT specialist

·      Senior IT specialist

·      IT specialist (CompTIA Security+ certified)

·      IT support specialist

 

Here are some examples of IT architect job titles, again from Indeed, that came directly from job postings:

 

·      IT architect

·      Senior IT architect

·      Solution architect

·      Enterprise architect

·      Principal architect

·      Software architect

·      Technical architect

 

So, why did I use these two types of IT jobs to start this article? Let’s explore these jobs.

 

IT Specialists

IT specialists are the people who carry out the plan. They are execution oriented. They install products, configure them and, when necessary, they train other people how to use them. That’s not to say that they don’t plan or communicate or do other important activities. However, when your laptop dies and you’re having trouble getting the replacement machine to restore your backup, it’s an IT specialist who helps you out.

 

If you’re looking for a job, the vast majority of open jobs are entry level. For a breakdown of the number of open jobs for IT specialists on Indeed.com by experience level, see Figure 1. Salaries for this job range from $30,000 to $90,000.

 

 

Level

Number of Jobs

Percentage

Entry

51,026

62 percent

Mid-level

26,437

32 percent

Senior-level

4,587

6 percent


Figure 1:
IT Specialist Jobs

 

IT Architects

IT architects are harder to describe than IT specialists, which is reflected in their job titles. IT architects spend time running sizing tools, writing technical solution descriptions and developing designs and documenting them in detail. These are just a few simple examples.

 

Depending on the company that they work in, IT specialists might participate in activities that develop the cost of products and solutions and work with the people who price them. They can spend time convincing business-oriented people, like quality assurance, of the prudence of their technical work. This is because their work can result in spending a lot of company money, so careful review is necessary. Most technical aspects of products and solutions, at the design stage, are handled by people with an IT architect skill set.

 

Compared to IT specialists, there are fewer jobs available for IT architects as shown in Figure 2.  

 

 

Level

Number of Jobs

Percentage

Entry

2,893

11 percent

Mid-level

15,428

58 percent

Senior-level

8,330

31 percent


Figure 2:
IT Architect Jobs

 

IT architect jobs pay better than IT specialist jobs with the range from $80,000 to $130,000. Companies with a tech focus cannot do without a core of highly skilled IT architects whose job is to help shape the company’s technological future. IT architects are often at the center of technical activity and without their contribution, most products and services would never reach the marketplace.

 

IT Analysts and Consultants

Many IT analyst jobs are for people who know technology and the company business. They often work to help with appropriate service selection or product development. They’re not just involved at the beginning of the process but can also play a role once the solution is installed and running by collecting and working with feedback from the users of the solution. Salaries range from $60,000 to $110,000.

 

IT consultants are often subject matter experts that are deployed internally or they work for a services firm to implement products and solutions. Consultants often provide technical services pertaining to networks, workstations, remote computing, communications, software products and application solutions. They also provide technology recommendations and solutions to clients. Generating new business opportunities for their company is often a major part of an IT consultant’s job. Salaries range from $60,000 to $120,000.

 

IT Security

Security jobs are plentiful and diverse. For some jobs, the responsibility is to plan and execute IT security audits and reviews of IT processes, IT systems and IT service providers. For others, the focus is on cybersecurity—to recognize, manage and defeat threats to systems. Some employers label this “IT network defense” and reference InfoSec (or information security)

 

For other employers, the job focus is developing new IT security methods, approaches and procedures. Knowledge of interrelationships between multiple IT disciplines is required. For government IT security jobs, expert knowledge of federal and industry IT security guidelines is required. Salaries range from $25,000 to $115,000. In one job search, 48 percent of the IT security jobs were entry level.

 

IT Support Jobs

IT support jobs can range from entry level up to senior level in scope. Some are technical in nature, while others support the organization’s business as they interact with diverse applications along with a national and international user community.

 

IT support often involves levels of skills where a practitioner provides direct support to a client and if they get stuck, those who are the next skill level up take over. This is the notion of levels one, two and three, where the most skilled and experienced support personnel are at level three. In some situations, the application or service developers staff level three support jobs. Salaries range from $35,000 to $95,000.

 

To Be Continued

There’s more to this story. Stay tuned for my next article in this two-part series, which will focus on the future of IT jobs.

      

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