With the explosive growth in Computers and Technology across all industries, and the use of increasingly advanced programming and hardware, there is more demand than ever for skilled computer scientists and technologists.
And while there are tons of opportunities, the competition for the best (and highest paying) jobs can be tough. The good news is that the culture around these jobs is results driven. If you excel at what you do, that will take you further than your school transcript or personal network ever could.
So, if you think you might want a career in Computers and Technology, the most important thing you can do is buckle down and work on building your skills. That’s because in this industry, merit rules.
To get a broad sense of what the field entails, head over to our Computers and Technology homepage.
What to Study in High School
If you are currently in high school, the first thing you should do is register for any computer science courses that are available. And if your high school offers AP computer science, taking that college level course would give you a great head start!
Math classes will also help you prepare for your college degree programs. Take the most advanced courses you can, including calculus – a strong foundation of mathematical knowledge will help you with everything from symbolic logic to computer graphics.
Anything that builds your communication skills, from writing to speech to drama, can also be a big help. That’s because you’ll need to be able to clearly document your work and communicate with people who don’t have tech backgrounds.
And finally, if your school or community hosts hackathons, tech meetups, coding workshops, or any other technology-related activities, you should definitely get involved. This will help you learn from other people in the field, and could give you hands-on experience with design, programming, and other skills.
In college, you’ll have the opportunity to choose from a variety of tracks in Computers and Technology. You might get a degree in computer science, computer engineering, or information technology. And within each of those different types of majors, you can choose from dozens of specializations.
You’ll be able to enter the workforce within two years if you get an associate degree in information technology. With this degree, you will be qualified to work as a computer support technician, earning a median annual salary of around $55,000 per year.
On the other end of the higher-education spectrum, you could complete your PhD and go on to do original research and teach college level courses. And if you land a tenure-track job at a top school, you could make more than $100,000 per year.
In the field of Information Technology in particular, professional certifications can help you land better jobs and higher salaries than you would without the credential.
Some examples of common professional certifications include:
- Microsoft Certified IT Professional
- CompTIA A+
- Cisco CCNA Security
- VMware Certified Professional
- Citrix Certified Administrator
Obtaining professional certifications can be a great way to demonstrate that you are qualified for the job you want. That’s because the most well-known certifications are only awarded after rigorous training and testing, so obtaining the credential shows that you have mastered the skills you need.