Information Systems graduates design, develop, implement, maintain, and manage business information systems. Defining an IT worker can be complicated, due to the extreme variety of technical and interpersonal skills required to do the job. Careers in Information systems are distributed not only in businesses in the IT industry, but also in government, for profit and not for profit enterprises, and all sectors of industry.
The Computing Research Association, Intersociety Study Group on Information Technology Workers (April 1999) categorized IT Jobs in the following manner:
Conceptualizers - those who conceive of and sketch out the basic nature of a computer system: Entrepreneur, Product Designer, Research Engineer, Systems Analyst, Computer Science Researcher, Requirements Analyst, and System Architect.
Developers - those who work on specifying, designing, constructing, and testing an information system: System designer, programmer, software engineer, tester, computer engineer, microprocessor designer, chip designer.
Modifiers/Extenders - those who modify or add on to an information system: Maintenance programmer, programmer, software engineer, computer engineer, database administrator.
Supporters/Tenders - those who deliver, install, operate, maintain, or repair an information system: System consultant, customer support specialist, help desk specialist, hardware maintenance specialist, network installer, network administrator.
Prospective employees with an associate degree most commonly qualify for jobs in the "Supporters/Tender" category, while those completing a Bachelor's Degree qualify for jobs in all categories. There is no replacement for the critical foundation knowledge development in a formal bachelor's degree program in information systems. When this is coupled with training and certifications in a specific platform, a rewarding career will most likely be the result.
IT workers need to have technology skills, business knowledge, communications and organizational skills, teamwork skills and a liberal arts background. This allows them to be able to adapt to constant change and to work with others with diverse backgrounds and education. An increasing emphasis on mobile computing is occurring in the workplace as well. The Catawba College program in Information Systems addresses all of these areas.
Most industry experts agree that the supply of Information Technology workers will fall significantly shorter than the constantly growing demand through the year 2015. Employees with skills in object oriented programming, problem solving, web and e-commerce, networking, help desk and end user support, and management and project leadership will particularly be in demand.
In the South Atlantic states (including North Carolina) hiring is brisk. Firms are actively hiring and staffing needs are greatest in the areas of software development, Visual Basic programming, networking, systems analysis, and intranet/intranet development.
Operations: Console Operator $25,500-35,500, Manager to $72,500
Software Development, Support: Installer/Developer $34,000 - 65,000, Product Support: $34,000 - 62,500, Product Manager: $66,000 - 100000, Relational Database Analyst: $34,000 - 72500.
Client/Server and Networking: Network Administrator $37,000-58,000, Network/Systems Engineer/Architect: $51,600-92000.
Internet/Intranet: Web Developer/Master $40,800-$73,000, ECommerce Specialist $45,000-73000.
Information on Catawba Graduates
Recent graduates and other majors completing courses in the program are working at First Union, Food Lion, Duke Energy, Statewide Title, The Jordan Group, AON Inc., Catawba College, Rowan Memorial Hospital, Rowan County Schools and various accounting firms.
Information Technology position titles include webmaster, IT consultant, programmer analyst, software support specialist, web consultant, VB Programmer, Information Specialist and others. Starting salaries have ranged from $33,000 to 50,000 annually.
*Information partially from "The Supply of Information Technology Workers in the United States", a report published by a grant from the National Science Foundation in conjunction with the Computing Research Association.
**Information obtained from RHI Consulting, "1999 Salary Guide", some figures adjusted for actual Charlotte/Salisbury employment information.