What Is an Information Technologist? Plus How To Become One

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 17 December 2022

Published 13 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Information technologists are often valuable members of many types of organisations. They may have specialised knowledge and abilities that allow them to contribute immensely to the teams in which they work. Learning about information technologists may help you decide if this field is the right choice for you. In this article, we discuss what an information technologist is, describe what they do, list their skills and provide a guide on how to become one.

What is an information technologist?

An information technologist is a person who specialises in engineering, managing and designing hardware and software solutions. Information technologists help organizations across the globe to innovate with technology by solving information management problems. They assist in the implementation of processes, procedures, strategies and technologies to manage information assets. They also assist in delivering value-added services through the use of technology solutions.

What do information technologists do?

Here is a list of the various responsibilities of information technologists:

  • Conducting research on information technology and its applications

  • Developing and implementing information systems strategies for an organisation

  • Managing the development, management and support of computer hardware and software

  • Conducting feasibility studies for new products or services

  • Providing training in the use of information technology

  • Conducting user support operations

  • Engaging in data processing activities using a variety of application software programs

  • Performing administrative tasks to support project work, technical services and user support

  • Developing and managing an organisation's telecommunications system

  • Maintaining telecommunications equipment

  • Maintaining telecommunications networks

  • Managing the development, configuration and implementation of Web sites

  • Managing the development, deployment and maintenance of information systems for an organisation

  • Monitoring system performance and troubleshooting technical issues.

Information technologist skills

Here is a list of skills that information technologists commonly have:

  • Computer programming

  • Database management

  • Information security and infrastructure networks

  • Knowledge of technical standards and protocols, including international standards

  • Experience with mobile computing technologies

  • Experience with emerging technologies

  • Experience with Web application development software

  • Experience with wireless broadband technologies

  • Software developer or application developer experience

  • Technical writing skills

  • Web site development experience

  • Understanding of business systems and processes

  • Understanding of computer networks

  • Knowledge of the structure and function of the Internet

  • Understanding of information technology principles

  • Information systems delivery process knowledge

  • Working knowledge of internet technology for business applications

Related: What Is Business Development?

What might an information technologist specialize in?

Information technologists can specialize in a number of fields. The most common specialties are:

  • Information security: An information security specialist ensures the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data and applications. They also provide guidance on new technologies to ensure they do not present new vulnerabilities.

  • IT architecture: The main goal of information architecture is to translate business objectives into technical terms so that businesses can design systems and develop interfaces. An architect assists in the process of determining what technologies to use to accomplish common goals.

  • Legal informatics: Legal informatics combines information technology and laws. A legal informatician can help organizations to determine how technology impacts privacy, confidentiality, authentication, security and laws.

  • Business intelligence: Business intelligence is the process of collecting, analysing and presenting data to facilitate decision-making. A business intelligence analyst assists an organisation in collecting, analysing and presenting data for various purposes.

  • Process improvement: An information technologist may work with an organisation to determine how technology can make processes more efficient.

  • Systems development: A systems development specialist works with computer hardware and software to develop solutions to business problems. They make sure that any new solutions do not create additional problems in the long run.

  • Database Administration: A database administrator oversees all aspects of a database including creation and maintenance, security requirements and technical support for the database system itself.

Related: What Is a Cyber Security Analyst? (With Job Duties and Salary)

Careers in information technology

Here are examples of careers you may pursue in information technology:

  • Business intelligence analyst: A business intelligence analyst is a person who works with data to determine trends related to an organization. They also help the organization to understand the data and use it to their advantage.

  • Database administrator: A database administrator maintains and secures databases that use different types of storage. They also monitor the performance of systems that use databases, ensuring that they are operating properly.

  • Software developer: A software developer creates new programs for computers using programming languages, tools and processes. They assist users in using computer programs by writing instructions for computers to follow.

  • Systems engineer: A systems engineer provides technical expertise in the design, development, testing, installation, maintenance and operation of computer systems.

  • Computer programmer: A computer programmer develops computer programs for business or personal use. They write computer programs using programming languages, tools and processes.

  • Computer scientist or software engineer: A computer scientist or software engineer designs, develops, tests, maintains and operates computer systems using programming languages, tools and processes.

  • Operations manager: An operations manager oversees the technical operation of an organisation's IT department. They manage budgets within their department while ensuring that they complete projects on time while meeting organisational needs.

  • Web developer: A web developer creates websites and web applications. They write website content for computer programs using special tools and processes.

  • Technical support specialist: A technical support specialist is a person who supports company computers and users with their technology. They monitor system performance and troubleshoot technical issues for companies.

  • Operations coordinator: An operations coordinator is a person who ensures that IT staff members and systems are operating correctly and reliably, often by coordinating schedules and equipment needs across departments.

  • Help desk technician: A help desk technician provides technical support to computer users by troubleshooting and repairing network issues. They also assist users with software problems.

  • Quality assurance tester: A quality assurance tester verifies that software, hardware or a website performs as expected. They use a variety of tests, such as testing for defects or checking for compliance with standards.

Related: How To Become a Software Developer

How to become an information technologist

Here are six steps for achieving this role, with a description of each step:

1. Pursue education

Information technologists often have a bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology or another related field. You may also pursue a graduate degree in any of these fields to help further develop your knowledge of information technology. Some courses that you may take during these programs include software engineering, project management, programming, web design, computer security, telecommunications and computer networks.

2. Develop foundational skills

Next, you may develop foundational skills, which include both technical skills, such as programming, and business skills, such as project management. You may develop technical skills while working on a job or through formal training programs. There are many colleges and private training programs that can help you develop these skills.

3. Consider certification

If you want to become an information technologist for a particular job or profession, you may consider getting certified in that area. For example, you can become an information technology consultant by becoming certified as a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). To do this, you need to pass the three-hour Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) exam and then another two-hour exam to earn your MCTS certification.

4. Gain relevant experience

In order to gain experience, you may take a job related to the industry in which you want to work. For example, you may take a job as a sales or marketing rep for a technology company. By doing this, you can continue to develop your skills and increase your qualifications for future positions.

Related: What Is a Data Scientist?

5. Consider going into business for yourself

If you aspire to be a consultant or a self-employed information technologist, you may consider developing a business plan that outlines your business strategy. You may also want to consider the amount of capital required and the potential for profits. If you decide to go into business for yourself, you may want to take courses in entrepreneurship or small business management.

6. Apply for positions

After you have prepared all the above steps, it is time to apply for positions. You can search online or in local employment ads for positions that are available. Your resume may emphasise your relevant work experience and skills as well as any certifications that you hold. You can also consider creating a portfolio website where potential employers can see examples of your work and contact information if necessary.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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