If you love technology and you’re looking for an internship with a strong occupational outlook, you’re in luck. The tech sector is booming, and IT occupations are expected to continue to grow over the next decade. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs in IT are growing well above average rates of all other occupations, with 12% growth expected from 2018 to 2028.
When searching for an IT job, some companies that provide higher compensation require that candidates have a bachelor’s degree, ideally in computer science, software engineering, etc. However, other employers care more about the quality of your work than they do about your formal education. Many different kinds of IT jobs (such as coding-related or software programming) evaluate candidates based on their portfolio and experience. Which is why if you are interested in entering into this thriving industry, it would behoove you to apply for an internship to gain the kind of experience employers will be looking for.
Here are some of the responsibilities and benefits you can expect as an IT intern, along with suggested career paths to follow once your internship is complete.
Where to Start
Before you begin applying for internships in IT, there are a few qualifications that you must have to be considered. IT interns must be in pursuit of a degree in computer science, information technology or engineering. Also, keep in mind that some companies may set grade point average requirements. An IT intern must have a class schedule that allows you to work at least two days each week for at least four hours each day. These are typical hours for internships but some companies may ask more of you.
Interns should also have some education in programming, database management and technologies like MS SQL, Exchange, Access and .Net frameworks.
Typically, the basic responsibilities of an IT intern involving supporting the IT team in the maintenance of hardware, software, and other systems. They must troubleshoot issues with equipment like printers, computers, and servers. They run software updates backups when requested. IT interns may participate in the development of new desktops, servers or applications. They may research hosting options and report pricing and system options to supervisors. They may also research unusual bugs or issues the company encounters. This hands-on experience is invaluable as interns will get a feel for the pace of typical IT work and the problems they will be solving while on the job.
According to Career Trends, “new graduates who have IT internship experience will be favored over other applicants.” This gives IT interns a running start at making six-figure salaries very quickly. In today’s technology focused society, the benefits of choosing a career path in IT are numerous while a variety of options in your horizon. If an internship is your stepping stone to making the big bucks and a fulfilling career then it is highly advised you take advantage of such an opportunity.
Read More: Preparing for the Future of Work
Now What? —Knowing Your Options
So you finished your internship, made connections, networked, learned the ins and outs of a company and developed first-hand knowledge and experience in your field. Good for you! The company you interned for may have offered you a job. But what if you want to take your expertise in a different direction?
As I mentioned, IT interns have a lot of options to consider when embarking on their careers. Here are some of the most common job titles from the IT industry for you to explore, along with the average compensation you can expect:
Information Security Specialist— According to The Balanced Careers, “the increased incidence of security breaches and the associated danger of identity theft has enhanced the importance of protecting data on commercial and governmental sites.” Information security analysts help defend an organization’s computer network and computer systems. Jobs expected to grow much faster than average, with an increase of 32% between 2018 and 2028.
Cloud Computing Engineers— Cloud computing engineers define, design, build, and maintain systems and solutions leveraging systems and infrastructure managed by cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.
Computer Network Specialists— Computer network specialists and analysts define, design, build, and maintain a variety of data communication networks and systems. Computer network architects can earn notably high salaries: the median salary is $109,020.
Database Administrator — Database administrators help store and organize data or companies and/or customers. They protect the data from unauthorized users. Some work for companies that provide computer design services. Others work for organizations with large database systems, such as educational institutions, financial firms, and more. These jobs are growing at a faster-than-average rate, with an expected 9% growth in jobs between 2018-2028.
Software/Application Developer— Software developers design, run and test various computer programs and applications. Application Developers create new applications and code solutions. They usually have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. They also have strong programming skills. The median salary of a software developer is $105,590.