If you’ve been looking for a career in which you can work with computers and put your computer skills to good use, you may have already considered studying computer programming through distance learning as a potential option.
However, computer programming is not the only field that will allow you to work with computers. Many industries need individuals who have computer skills and can work with computer databases, networks, and/or computer systems. Professionals who are typically required to work with databases, networks, and/or computer systems include computer security specialists, database administrators, network administrators, network architects, system administrators, telecommunications specialists, web developers, and web administrators.
Computer security specialists are individuals who use a combination of security procedures and antivirus programs, firewalls, and other similar software to help protect an organization’s information from unauthorized access. Database administrators install and maintain the computer systems that an organization uses to record and examine information. Network administrators maintain the software and hardware that an organization needs to keep a reliable and effective computer network functioning properly. Network architects install the software and hardware that an organization needs to establish a reliable and effective computer network. Systems administrators maintain the software and hardware that the individuals within an organization use on a regular basis. (A systems administrator is not necessarily the same as a network administrator; a systems administrator is typically responsible for maintaining all of the computer equipment that an organization uses, while a network administrator is responsible for maintaining only the computer equipment related to the network.) Telecommunications specialists are individuals who install and maintain the equipment that an organization uses to communicate information including computers, phones, video cameras, video conferencing equipment, and other similar types of equipment. Web developers design and produce websites. Web administrators monitor an organization’s website to ensure that it functions properly.
All of these careers allow an individual to work with computers, and the number of jobs in each of these careers is expected to grow dramatically over the next 10 years. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that there will be more than 250,000 new jobs for individuals working with computer databases, networks, and/or systems over the next decade. Therefore, individuals interested in these careers should have a large number of opportunities to choose from, and they should expect to receive a wide assortment of benefits such as health insurance, stock options, etc. in addition to a salary of $40,000 to $105,000 a year.
There are a few things that you should keep in mind, however, if you are interested in pursuing a career in one of these fields. First, you may need more than just your computer skills to get a job. Most employers will require you to have an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in computer science, management information systems (MIS), or a similar field to obtain a position. In fact, some employers may even require you to have a master of business administration (MBA) degree.
Second, you may need to prove that you have the computer skills that you need for the job. Many employers will require you to submit proof that you have completed a series of computer courses (typically in the form of a college transcript or a certification) and/or proof that you are certified in the particular type of work for which you are applying (for example, some employers may require that you obtain a network administration certification before you can become a network administrator.)
Finally, because there is a lot of overlap in the skills required for most of the computer-related careers mentioned here, you may be able to use the experience and/or skills that you obtain in one position to obtain a different position.