Looking for a New Job? Are Tech Jobs Worth It?
If you’re looking for a new job, you’re not alone. In addition to the six million who aren’t currently working, 44% of employees are on the lookout for new opportunities.
At the same time, unemployment is low by historical standards, which gives job seekers an advantage even if the economy slows in the coming year as economists predict.
One sector you might be thinking about for your next position is tech. But you’re wondering: Is it really a good area for me to get involved in? To help you decide, we’ll look at the top opportunities in this field and tell you what it takes to get your foot in the door.
An overview of tech
To begin, let’s clarify what the tech field includes. When most people think about tech companies, names like Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, and Google come to mind.
What do these businesses have in common? They’re involved in the research and development of products and services related to computing and information technology.
Within that broad umbrella, there are many kinds of jobs. Tech workers may be focused on research, software development, project management, technical support, sales, and marketing, just to name a few. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recognizes 10 main subdivisions within computer and information technology.
When you think about the importance of the products and services tech companies provide, it’s easy to understand why employment in the industry has been so strong for the past several years. The BLS expects this trend to continue into the future, with total employment in the sector growing 15% between 2021 and 2031.
Wages are also attractive. According to the most recent data, the median yearly wage for tech occupations was $97,430, compared to the overall U.S. average of $45,760.
In short, there is plenty of opportunity in tech.
Top jobs in tech
CompTIA Tech Career Academy’s Tech Jobs Report, published each month, lists the top positions in the industry by job postings. Here are the roles that are leading the way:
Average salary (Indeed): $120,168
IT Support Specialist
Average salary (Indeed): $49,155
Those in IT support can play a number of different roles. In general, they help to set up, maintain, troubleshoot, and support end users in the use of information technology. Sometimes they are outward facing, assisting customers who run into challenges with a company’s products or services. Other IT support staff are inward facing, helping company employees with their IT needs.
Average salary (Indeed): $104,317
A systems engineer helps design and manage an organization’s IT systems. This includes oversight for things like networking, security, infrastructure, and support systems. Because IT is a crucial part of today’s business operations, this is a key role within larger organizations.
IT Project Manager
Average salary (Indeed): $99,287
The project manager is a key role in many areas of IT. Whether in software, infrastructure, or systems, projects are often large and complex and need someone to plan and oversee them for efficiency and successful completion.
Average salary (Indeed): $92,386
Network engineers are responsible for setting up and maintaining computer networks for an organization. This can include wireless networks and cloud networking as well. They ensure that systems are configured properly and pay attention to security so employees are able to make use of network services safely and reliably.
How can you get started in tech?
After looking at this list, you’re probably thinking: What does it take to actually be able to land any of these jobs?
Great question. Some of these positions, like software engineer, will require at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology in addition to experience. If you’re considering earning a degree as part of a career change, these are worth thinking about.
On the other hand, what if you want to begin your career in tech as quickly as possible? In that case, becoming an IT support specialist is a great place to begin. It can lead to more senior positions within this same area or bridge to more specialized roles, like cybersecurity specialist.
What will you need to be qualified for entry-level jobs in IT support? First, you should know that while a bachelor’s degree will strengthen your resume, it certainly isn’t necessary. Tech companies in particular are more interested in what you know and are able to do than the degree you have.
What is necessary is being able to demonstrate to potential employers that you have the skills and knowledge to do the job. This includes familiarity with a range of foundational areas in IT, including software, operating systems, networking, security, and troubleshooting.
One of the best ways to demonstrate this knowledge is with a certification. The CompTIA A+ is the industry standard for tech support positions.
The other things you need are soft skills like communication, critical thinking, and collaboration. Chances are, you have already been developing these in your previous work experiences.
What about that certification, though? How does one go about getting certified?
A certification like the CompTIA A+ is a credential you get after you pass an exam designed to assess your knowledge and abilities. To do well on the exam, you need to be properly prepared. The most common routes to getting there (besides enrolling in a college program) are self-study, boot camps, and focused training programs.
There are pros and cons to each strategy. The self-study option is the most independent. You’d be responsible for figuring out what you need to learn and how to learn it, including tracking down the right resources online.
On the other end of the spectrum, a training program will have a clearly laid out process for getting you ready to successfully pass the CompTIA A+ exam.
For more details about these options including the pros and cons of each, see our guide to preparing for the A+ certification.
Finding your first job in tech with CompTIA Tech Career Academy
If you’ve read this far, getting a job in tech might sound exciting but a little overwhelming. There is a lot to learn, from the kinds of positions available to the credentials you’ll need and how to obtain them.
We’ve created the IT-Ready Technical Support (online) program to make the transition as easy as possible for those who want to begin a new career in IT. Our live instruction with experts in the field will give you the knowledge and hands-on experience required to take the CompTIA A+ exam with confidence.
We don’t just teach to the exam, however. Our goal is to thoroughly equip you with technical and soft skills to be competitive in the job market and to thrive in your new role.
One of the best parts about the program is that you’ll receive robust support in preparing for your job search and making connections with potential employers. Even after you land your first job, you’ll be part of our extensive graduate network for continued career development.
If you’d like a clear path from where you are today to an entry-level job in tech, head to the program page to learn how to get started.