Typically, the best paying and most in-demand jobs are highly specialized and require up-to-date skills through advanced education. The following is a brief overview of the top information technology jobs in 2013 and beyond.
An exciting area for information technology professionals is the opportunity to work in the evolving Geographic Information Systems (GIS) industry. GIS technology utilizes geographic data to communicate trends, relationships, and patterns in a way that is visually pleasing and easily understood.
GIS can be used to track changes in the environment, population growth, crime statistics, weather patterns, or land areas prone to flooding. New applications are continually being developed for use in the public and the private sector. Companies in every industry can leverage GIS to optimize business intelligence. Typical implementations can create significant cost savings, increase efficiencies, empower decision making, improve communication, and boost record keeping through better database management.
Salaries for GIS professionals in the United States range from approximately $32,000 to $84,000 per year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of GIS jobs will increase 35% between 2010 and 2020. There are many types of professional development courses that can lead to a career in GIS, including certificate programs and university degree programs in computer information systems, database management, and business intelligence.
Mobile Applications Developers
With the use of mobile communications (smartphones and tablets) predicted to exceed the use of personal computers in 2013, businesses are heavily relying on IT professionals in order to connect with customers in a digital world. Most websites and internet advertising initiatives were initially designed for a computer-based user experience. Today, these assets need to be upgraded so they can be accessed efficiently across a range of digital platforms and mobile devices.
Recognizing the high demand for mobile applications developers, experienced information technology professionals are pursuing continuing education opportunities to upgrade their skills and enter this exciting area. Depending on the university and quality of the program, some online master’s degrees in computer information systems and web application development can be completed in as few as 20 months. Mobile applications developers can earn from $85,000 to $123,000 per year.
Data Security Specialists
For companies around the world, information systems are under constant threat from hackers, malware, and various types of viruses. There is a strong, ongoing need for specialized information technology professionals to detect and prevent security breaches.
Today’s IT security experts can earn from $89,000 to $121,000 to secure information systems including networks, computer systems, databases, and applications. Professionals interested in entering this area of the IT field should pursue credible courses that are designated by the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to learn the latest tools necessary to safeguard data security. Such credible courses can help prepare individuals for careers as information security leaders and IT security analysts.
Health Informatics Leaders
Health information technologies, like Electronic Health Records (EHR), are transforming the nation’s health care system. EHR technology is helping to streamline medical information, improve communication, and elevate the quality of patient care.
As part of the Affordable Health Care Act, the U.S. government provided $20 billion in health care information technology funding. Medical practices that have not implemented EHR by 2015 will be penalized. As healthcare organizations across the country work to digitize their delivery systems, opportunities will abound for health informatics professionals. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in health information will grow more than 20% between 2010 and 2020.
Now, more than ever, IT professionals are expected to collect, process, and store medical data in ways that ensure the integrity, security, and privacy of electronic health records. The challenge with the present system is that most patient data is not stored electronically, and even when it is, the various systems for managing data do not interface well with each other.
As the law becomes implemented in more states by more medical practices, there will be an unprecedented demand for health informatics professionals. Professional requirements will range from certification to advanced university degrees in health informatics.
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