The computer and information systems field, with almost four million workers, is one the largest employment sectors in the United States. Projections into 2020 indicate that there will be a need for 1.5 million or more additional employees to replace current workers and fill gaps created by ongoing technology expansion. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that certain IS career positions are growing twice as fast as the average rate of growth of all job categories in America today.
Fast-Growing Information Systems Careers
The projected growth rate of computer information systems careers ranges between 22 percent and 30+ percent, depending on position. Careers with highest estimated growth rates include:
31 percent growth rate
The future growth rate, combined with average median pay of $75,190 (2011), makes this career particularly desirable for individuals who have a talent for managing data. Database administrators are responsible for maintaining and securing a company’s data, as well as evaluating and testing upgrades to database systems. An information systems (or related) degree is required, with advanced degrees often preferred. It is also helpful to be professionally certified in the specific database technology being utilized by your employer.
30 percent growth rate
Software developers enjoy some of the greatest job diversity among all information systems professionals. They can work on creating games for smartphones, applications for social networking sites, systems that help locate oil and natural gas resources, technology to advance medical science, and so much more. While some jobs are still being outsourced overseas, the future outlook for U.S.-based software developers is one of the best in the entire information systems industry. It’s also a top-paying career choice with median pay of $90,530 (2010). Not only will you need an applicable degree, you’ll also need a real passion for innovation and the determination to succeed.
28 percent growth rate
Today’s network administrators work with traditional hard-wired networks, as well as wireless and mobile networks. This recent change demands an increased understanding of information security as a company’s data moves out of the office environment and into the world outside. It’s an exciting time for network administrators as more businesses strive to connect with more people in more places than ever before. The median pay for this degree-required opportunity is $69,160 (2010), with some larger markets like Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and California paying $80,000 or more.
Spotlight: Healthcare Information Systems Careers
The healthcare industry remains a fast-growing field within its own right, with an increased need for talented individuals who can keep pace with new technologies, an aging society, and changes in government legislation. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), in particular, has created a boom in information systems career opportunities at hospitals and healthcare facilities nationwide.
At the core of the HITECH Act is the implementation and “meaningful use” of electronic health records (EHR) technology. The goal of the legislation is for all Americans to have their medical records electronically available across the entire continuum of care. In this scenario, every nurse, specialist, lab tech, pharmacist, and physician has access to the same data on any given patient. In addition to improved data sharing, it is also anticipated that EHR technology will improve patient safety, reduce redundancy in tests and procedures, and better utilize available healthcare dollars.
EHR technology is here to stay, along with a multitude of information systems career opportunities for skilled professionals to design and implement new systems, maintain medical record databases, and secure the privacy of patient data. There is also a need for individuals to train healthcare workers on the use of this technology, integrate existing software into the larger EHR system, maintain “smart” medical devices that feed data into the system, and, of course, troubleshoot and resolve user issues.
Pursuing Your Goals
The right combination of education and experience can lead to a successful future in any of these information systems career paths, among others. The greater your commitment to learning, the more you will be able to leverage the trends of this growing and ever-changing field.
Laura Mingo writes in the field of higher education. This article aims to offer career advice for university students in relation to IT and promotes the benefits of advanced study regarding a Boston University CIS Masters.