Computer Information Technology

Computers and information technology are now integrated into nearly every aspect of modern life. Computer information technology specialists need to be familiar with the hardware and software used in the company they work for and be able to provide technical support on a range of large and small issues. They might be focused on working on cyber security projects, networking and security, and distributed computing or e-business. Some titles and focus areas within this field include database administrators, information security analysists, network and computer systems administrators, and computer network or research specialists.

Depending on experience and education, workers in this area might be on teams developing databases, working on technology support plans or systems, or supporting information systems administrators – or they might be managing one aspect of a larger project.

What makes it unique?

Information technology skills apply to so many industries that those with education and experience can decide which field they might like to work in….healthcare…entertainment…automotive…internet commerce…or others. It is also a field where specialists need to stay on top of the latest trends and technologies so training is an ongoing process throughout this career path.

Degree Connections

The following are examples of some accredited degrees leading to a career in information technology:

Search our global database of accredited engineering programs.

Want to learn more?

Click on the blue tabs to explore the field in more detail and learn about preparation and employment, the green tabs to be inspired by people working in information technology and how they impact the world, and the orange tabs for ideas on how to learn more and you can get involved with activities, camps, and competitions!

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Most information technology specialists work in offices as part of teams on projects that may have longer or shorter term durations. They generally work a 40 hour work week, but could be called upon to work more hours during testing, the final stage of a database rollout, or during other times when all hands need to be on deck!

Those who are overseeing aspects of a project might spend more time in meetings and making presentation than those specifically dedicated to coding might be. Project managers or network specialists might also meet with clients at key points in a project development, or even pitch a company’s services to prospective clients.

Whatever the job, people in this field are working with computers for the bulk of their workday, and may be working remotely as well. Yurich84

Databases drive much of the intelligent computing used in many industries today. At its core, a database is an organized collection of data or information that is structured in such a way that it can be pulled, compared, and presented in a new context.

Data can be anything from a file, a photo, or sound recordings, to the health records of a hospital patient including date of birth, medicines, dosages, and insurance numbers. Electricity providers using data to keep track of customer billing, usage, and technical support. Airlines use databases to maintain passenger lists and share these with government agencies, customs groups, and tie passengers to the tag codes put on their luggage.

How a database operates or what system it uses is based on the database model it supports. Relational databases became popular in the 1980s and store data as rows and columns in a series of tables. Most of these systems use SQL (structured query language) for writing and querying data. In the 2000s, non-relational databases became popularized, called NoSQL because they use different query languages that were generally faster but somewhat less consistent in results and designers had to overcome the prior acceptance of SQL. Over time, both have survived and SQL databases are better for multi-row transactions, NoSQL are better for unstructured data like documents or less structured sources.

Database information feeds everything from song playlists, to school records, to weather data, to inventory management. Databases need to be maintained and adapted over time to keep up with current technology or applications, so those managing underlying data systems must maintain their education and skills as technology changes.

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Career paths for an IT professional can place graduates in positions around the world, in just about any industry, including biomedical, construction, defense, distribution, education, entertainment, environmental, finance, informatics, and sports.

The following is just a sample of some companies, in addition to government agencies, which employ information technologists: World Image

For most engineering and computing careers:

  • a bachelor’s degree is required
  • a master’s degree may be recommended for those specializing or interested in management
  • students may also start with a related associate degree and then move on to a bachelor’s when they have settled on a degree path.
  • many students are required to participate in a co-op program while at university to gain real world experience in their chosen field.
  • education doesn’t really stop…engineers need to stay current as technology changes and materials and processes improve over time many professional societies offer certificates and coursework to support continuing education for their members.

For information technology, there are associate degree programs which can be starting point to a career. At the undergraduate level, examples of courses for information technology include internet networking, information modeling, storage and retrieval, java technologies, UNIX, information and computer system security, managing configurations, web programming, managing the cloud, mathematics for business analysis, and applications in artificial intelligence.

It is important to select an engineering degree that has been accredited to meet basic standards.  Find out more and browse TryEngineering’s global database of accredited engineering and computing programs.

Be Inspired

One of the best ways to explore what it might be like to work in information technology is to learn about people currently working in the field.

  • Charles Bachman developed the Integrated Data Store (IDS) which was an early example of a database management system. A lecture by Charles Bachman on how he developed the Integrated Data Store is available on the right.
  • Andy Jassy and Jeff Bezos came up with the idea to create the cloud computing platform that would become known as Amazon Web Services (AWS), which launched in 2006. He has recently been tagged to replace Jeff Bezos as CEO of Amazon.
  • Roshni Nadar Malhotra a pioneer of women in tech and is the first female IT CEO in India’s history. She is Chairperson, HCL Technologies and Executive Director & CEO, HCL Corporation, one of the most successful information technology companies in South Asia.

Cloud systems are data storage systems that exist within the internet, rather than traditional physical servers. Today, many organizations are migrating data storage away from physical servers to cloud-based systems, which provide greater security, easier and faster access, and improved flexibility and storage (among other benefits).

Cloud computing harnesses the internet to outsource tasks previously performed only on a local computer system. This might include basic storage or complex processing or even managing a global network of interconnected machines.

IT professional working in the cloud analyze an organization’s infrastructure and shift various functions to cloud-based systems. They need to move content from physical storage to the cloud and make sure the content remains secure.  They might also explore how using the cloud might enhance a business and make it more profitable by being able to offer broader services.

The video to the right was developed by Amazon Web Services and explains how the cloud works and all the global applications for the service.

Find out more:

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Dig deeper into topics related to information technology that interest you!



  • Jessica Lee is a cyber threat intelligence analyst at Chevron. She explains what it is like to protect the information and technology asses in countries where Chevron does business.

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Clubs, competitions, and camps are some of the best ways to explore a career path and put your skills to the test in a friendly-competitive environment.


  • Many schools have coding clubs or opportunities for students to get together and work on coding challenges.



  • TryEngineering Summer Institute, US: Attend the TryEngineering Summer Institute to further your core engineering skills.
  • Air Force Academy CyberCamps program is designed for high school and middle school students who are just getting into cybersecurity or who have some cybersecurity knowledge and want to learn more.
  • High School Summer College at Stanford is an intensive and selective eight-week program meant to provide high-achieving students with a realistic taste of college at a top university. Students can focus on a specific topic including information technology.
  • USC Summer Programs hosts high school students on its campus as part of its summer college immersion program. Students can focus on a specific topic including information technology.

Many universities offer summer engineering, computing and technology experiences. Reach out to your local university’s engineering or computing department to see what they offer.

Did you know you can explore information technology in your community? Why not try your hand at cybersecurity! The US Department of Defense has set up a CyberMission to test your cyber skills. See if you can meet their challenge and then consider the following about your local community:

  • How does your school try to prevent someone hacking into their system? Do they advise you about what passwords to use? PALERMO89
  • Passwords have become increasingly complicated over time, so they can be harder and harder to guess. What rules do you think are important for businesses to establish when allowing customers to set up a password?  Consider a bank…would they be liable if someone hacked into a customer bank account?
  • If you were in charge of trying to prevent a computer attack at your local school, what procedures do you think would make sense? What training would you need to provide to teachers, parents and students? When would you implement a new system…would you do it in the middle of school year?
  • Good online safety practices can help keep your family’s computers safe. What steps did you learn from the Cybermission game to help you protect your own computer?

Meet the challenge:


Be sure to reach out to professional societies focused on information technology where you live. Not all will offer membership to pre-university students, but most offer groups for university students, and certainly offer online resources to help you explore the field.

Some examples of groups focusing on information technology:

Some resources on this page are provided or adapted from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Career Cornerstone Center.