IT Support Specialist Salaries

Why Today’s Career Changers with Service Skills Can Find Opportunities Working in Tech

By R.C. Dirkes

Per the latest U.S. IT Employment Snapshot from CompTIA’s research team, companies across the spectrum of industries posted more than three million ads for open tech positions during 2020 – including nearly 650,000 in the fourth quarter of the year.

Moreover, based on a review of market data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for IT support specialists is 31% higher than the median for all other occupations in the nation’s economy. Meanwhile, service industries have been among those hit hardest by the pandemic’s economic impact.

So, if you’re a service-industry worker who’s contemplating changing jobs for greater economic stability, launching a technology career from the IT help desk may be the first, best place to look. Why? Because, like other service jobs, IT help desk work is about listening, then helping people meet needs and solve problems.

Not only are positions working with technology currently plentiful in the U.S. job market, but analysts expect demand for people with tech skills to increase during the next decade. Among openings for technology workers, forecasters expect postings for IT support technicians to rise by 13% from 2020 to 2030.

This growth prediction follows an existing positive trend, according to Amy Carrado, senior director, research and market intelligence at CompTIA.

“In 2020, there were over 82,000 job postings for IT support specialists,” Carrado tells CompTIA Tech’s Lisa Fasold during a recent episode of the Technologist Talk podcast. “The number of job postings for IT support specialists actually grew by a greater percentage [than] software developers… From 2010 to 2020, IT support specialist job ads grew by 124%,” as compared to positions for software developers, which grew 98% during the same period.

“There are great salary opportunities for someone working in tech or wanting to move into a tech position,” Carrado shares with Fasold, citing U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics job market data.

The overall median annual salary for all occupations in 2019 was $39,810, says Carrado. By comparison, the median salary for IT support specialists that same year was $52,270 – nearly a third higher, she explains. Starting salaries may be lower depending on the employer’s industry or geography, she elaborates, but the potential for skills development and career advancement makes a compelling argument for jumping into tech support because the field reveals many other career paths.

“There are a lot of different areas to grow into, depending on your interests,” says Carrado. “Especially with all the various emerging technologies… You can really go after what you're interested in, business intelligence, data analysis, networking.” Analysts predict positions the demand for cybersecurity analysts, she offers as an example, to increase 28% by 2030.

In a recent poll, CompTIA’s research group found 64% of the association’s member organizations plan to focus training programs on cybersecurity, Carrado says. Fasold adds that those findings parallel an overall trend toward investing in tech training by major U.S. employers, such as Amazon, which works with CompTIA Tech’s Custom Training group.

Another trend Fasold notes is graduates of CompTIA Tech’s IT-Ready Technical Support Training using their newfound tech skills to transition not only into new technology careers but into new industries such as education. Current research shows IT support job opportunities, corroborates Carrado, in a variety of sectors including healthcare, finance, insurance, manufacturing and government.

“Beyond the tech skills, what other kinds of business soft skills [do employers seek] in their new hires?” asks Fasold.

“They're looking at other skills too, like communication, teamwork, collaboration,” responds Carrado. “And they recognize that they can train to some of those more technical skills as long as they find the right person.”

Fasold agrees that soft skills training is important for today’s IT pros: “Their main job is to hear a complaint or a problem or challenge, and then figure out the technology to solve it. So, the first thing you have to be able to do is listen. If you don't listen to what the problem is, you can't solve it.”

Are you -- or someone you know -- considering changing careers? Consider launching a technology career with CompTIA Tech. 2021 classes are open for applications. Apply here.

Meantime, hear the rest of the conversation between Amy Carrado and Lisa Fasold here:  Episode 44 – Talking Tech Jobs: Why Today’s Career Changers with Service Skills Can Find Opportunities Working in Tech


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