Information Technology

Maybe you used to shop more at the mall but now order things online. Smart electronics can give travel directions and even turn on your oven while you’re out. You can push a button to start your car and immediately stop to move the bicycle that showed up in your backup camera. Who’s responsible for these tools?

Workers in the information technology (IT) industry develop the software and hardware that make our lives easier, and they fix and help us use these tools. As organizations and individuals face the threats and consequences of data theft, they need information security analysts to maintain online safety and privacy. In North Carolina, this occupation has the third highest expected percentage of new job growth in the IT career cluster. Because they occur in almost any industry, the three IT occupations that are likely to have the largest total job openings in North Carolina include applications software developers, computer user support specialists, and computer systems analysts.

All IT jobs are professional, and most new jobs will require postsecondary education. IT careers can be found in many work settings. The kinds of organizations most likely to employ IT workers include: custom computer programming companies; computer systems design companies; corporate and regional managing offices; software publishers; and data processing and hosting businesses.

IT has changed the technical skills required in many occupations. While reducing the availability of some jobs, it has also produced totally new career options. As IT continues to evolve, we will need to keep pace with its changes in our workplaces.

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Core Skills

The following Core Skills are necessary for success in these occupations.

  • Programming - Writing computer programs
  • Technology Design - Making equipment and technology useful for customers
  • Installation - Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or computer programs
  • Operations Analysis - Figuring out what a product or service needs to be able to do
  • Systems Evaluation - Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it
  • Systems Analysis - Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
  • Troubleshooting - Figuring out what is causing equipment, machines, wiring, or computer programs to not work
  • Complex Problem Solving - Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
  • Quality Control Analysis - Testing how well a product or service works
  • Equipment Selection - Deciding what kind of tools and equipment are needed to do a job

Career Pathways

Career Story

Chris Mathews

Wake Technical Community College

A.S., Business Analytics

"Wake Tech offered online classes that I could work into my schedule."

Fifty-year old Chris Mathews has been working in Wake County’s information technology department for more than a decade. A few years ago he decided to go back to school to learn a new set of skills. Chris loves crunching numbers and wanted to pursue an Associate of Science degree in Business Analytics, a fast-growing field and one he thought might help boost his career. He did some research and quickly settled on Wake Tech.

“Wake Tech offered online classes that I could work into my schedule,” says Chris. “Plus, do the math - they are affordable!”

Chris enrolled and quickly got started. He did homework before and after work at his home in Clayton, often studying with his wife, who was also taking classes at Wake Tech. Chris also attended study sessions with fellow students and instructors at night.

“It’s not easy balancing a job with my studies, but I am learning so much, and it’s paying off in a big way!”

Chris already has a new job! He beat out more than 80 other applicants and was just hired as Wake County’s very first data scientist. In his new role Chris will identify, connect, and extract valuable conclusions for disparate data sets to help Wake County address its most pressing business problems and reach community goals.

Chris’ boss sings his praises:

“Chris has worked with business units across the county from clinics, to libraries, to environmental services, to animal shelters, and detention services,” says Paula Roberson, Wake County Assistant IT Director. “He has taken the time to learn about the data they collect, and each one’s true mission so he can better serve them now and in the future. While his tech skills are awesome, his approachability, easy way, and willingness to assist are the traits that will guarantee his success in this new role.”

Chris has a few more classes to take before he completes his degree in the fall, but he’s already hard at work at his new job. Chris is excited and says he wouldn’t have been able to tackle a new challenge in the workplace without additional education and training. “Wake Tech gave me a brand new set of skills to help me move to a new stage in my career, it’s been a wonderful experience.”

Go to Career Cluster Matrix to find occupations by cluster and interest type.